John O’Connell

Eastern Idaho Reporter
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Suspension of Winter Water Savings opens door to recharge

- The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has waived a requirement that Palisades Reservoir space-holders keep their canal gates shut through winter.

BLM experiments with ‘flexible’ grazing permits

- The Bureau of Land Management is taking applications from Western states to test outcome-based grazing, which enables ranchers to manage according to current conditions rather than rigid permit requirements.

Ag, economy to be emphasized in Idaho climate conference

- An upcoming conference about climate change will to be hosted at Boise State University, Idaho State University and University of Idaho.

Study: Preliminary data show cattle, sage grouse can coexist

- Early data from an ongoing Idaho grazing study planned to last a decade shows no harm to sage grouse on public lands caused by spring grazing.

Report: Most Northwest ag commodities barely profitable

- A Northwest Farm Credit Services report finds producers of most commodities in the region should be earning small profits.

A harvest of goodwill in Eastern Idaho

- Potato harvest is a unifying social, economic force in Eastern Idaho

East Idaho growers find niche in high-moisture corn

- East Idaho corn growers have started harvesting high-moisture corn, which is harvested as grain but fermented like silage for added digestibility.

State considers heavier truckloads on 11 East Idaho routes

- The Idaho Transportation Department is considering increased truck weight limits on several routes in Eastern Idaho used for transporting agricultural goods.

Eight-year-old chooses Idaho potato harvest as dream vacation

- Eight-year-old Dagny Jerles could have gone anywhere in the world, but she chose Idaho’s potato harvest as her dream vacation.

Western Innovator: Preserving the world’s small grains

- For more than three decades, Harold Bockelman has maintained USDA’s National Small Grains Collection in Aberdeen, Idaho.

Fish and Game works to protect landowners from large elk herds

- The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has hired new staff and is prioritizing efforts to use depredation hunts more often to help landowners curb elk depredation.

Negotiations expected to resume on Columbia River treaty

- The Trump Administration is preparing to restart negotiations on a new Columbia River Treaty, and the stakes are high for Idaho’s Upper Snake River irrigators.

Idaho water official to address Congress on recharge

- The chairman of the Idaho Water Resource Board is scheduled to address a congressional subcommittee on the state’s progressive aquifer recharge program.

Spud breeders focus on PCN-resistant russets

- A project underway in Aberdeen, Idaho, aims to develop russet potatoes with resistance to pale cyst nematode, while identifying new molecular markers associated with resistance.

Food service professionals tour Idaho potato harvest

- The Idaho Potato Commission hosted a tour for U.S. food service professionals, who represent a market sector that surpassed the retail sector during the past year.

Corn maze covering college costs for seven Idaho siblings

- The Johnson family of Blackfoot, Idaho, is using its Wild Adventure Corn Maze to cover college tuition costs while providing a fun agricultural tourism event for the community.

Idaho starts anticipated large-scale recharge program

- The Idaho Department of Water Resources has started recharging 61,100 acre-feet of storage water provided by the Surface Water Coalition.

Grazing guru teaches ranchers ‘intensive’ approach

- An expert says ranchers can get more productivity from their pastures by grazing cattle at high densities for short durations.

Growers tweak approach to raising Umatilla Russets

- Though many growers in Idaho gave up on raising Umatilla Russets based on several challenges, some are starting to have better success with it, after implementing Washington State University management guidelines.

Amalgamated expects to equal or best record beet yield

- Officials with Amalgamated Sugar Co. anticipate their beet yields could set another record, despite harsh growing conditions, but say sugar percentages should be down.

UI plans ag technology ‘boot camp’ in Pocatello

- Based on the popularity of an agricultural technology session last winter during its annual agricultural outlook seminar, University of Idaho Extension is planning an event focused on agricultural technology in Pocatello.

East Idaho high school students partner on forage research

- Snake River High School’s summer agriculture class is partnering with the Bingham County Soil and Water Conservation District on research into new grass varieties to plant in the region.

Researchers encouraged by spore sampling results

- University of Idaho researchers were able to detect some key crop diseases in their initial season of testing spore sampling machines.

Taiwan millers renew pledge to buy wheat from Idaho, U.S.

- Representatives from Taiwan’s milling industry were scheduled to visit Idaho wheat growers and sign a letter of intent to buy wheat from Idaho and from the U.S. in general.

Unique system uses tractor exhaust in lieu of fertilizer

- A Canadian company is selling systems that use exhaust from tractors or diesel irrigation systems to stimulate soil biology, in lieu of fertilizer use, and to treat seed.

Japan lifts ban on Idaho chipping potatoes

- Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries imposed a ban on all U.S. chipping potatoes in April 2006.

IPC welcomes first female grower on board

- Mary Hasenoehrl has joined the Idaho Potato Commission as its second female board member, and the first woman to represent growers on the board.

Rewards offered in Eastern Idaho cattle shootings

- Officials say several cattle were shot in separate Eastern Idaho locations.

Railroads announce improvements to Cold Connect train

- A train that shortens transportation times of refrigerated goods from the West Coast and Idaho to the East Coast should be improved by several new investments.

EPA staffers tour Eastern Idaho potato production

- The National Potato Council and the Idaho Potato Commission teamed to host EPA staff members on a tour of Idaho potato country.

Friends’ hobby preserves farm history

- The antique tractor exhibit at the Eastern Idaho State Fair offers visitors a reminder of agriculture’s past, according to organizers.

Innate spuds gaining foreign-market approval

- Simplot Plant Sciences has been receiving approval for its Innate line of genetically modified potatoes in foreign markets.

Idaho commission plans Big Potato Meeting

- The Idaho Potato Commission plans to replace its annual Whistle Stop Tour with a single meeting, during which other state potato organizations will also host their own meetings.

IPC to replace potato truck spud with glowing version

- The Idaho Potato Commission plans to build a new potato for its Great Big Idaho Potato Truck.

IPC warns spud shippers competition shouldn’t spoil prices

- Idaho Potato Commission President and CEO Frank Muir believes the 2017 crop should be profitable, and shippers must avoid the urge to discount their prices due to competition.

U.S. potato exports break records for value, volume

- Exports of U.S. potatoes and potato products broke records during the 2017 marketing year, according to a new report.

Oilseed Commission focusing on Southern Idaho research

- The Idaho Oilseed Commission anticipates receiving significantly more grower assessment dollars from Southern Idaho growers and plans to focus more emphasis on reserch benefiting the region.

Eastern Idaho grain growers short on storage

- Eastern Idaho grain growers are facing a storage shortage as they finish their 2017 harvest, due largely to carryover from a bumper 2016 crop.

Former produce manager joins IPC retail team

- The Idaho Potato Commission has hired Dave Rhodes, formerly with Marsh Supermarkets, to join its retail team.

Oriental mustard a hot new option in Eastern Idaho

- Eastern Idaho growers who raised 2,000 acres of Oriental mustard this season said they see a niche for the new crop.

Researchers study economic impacts of sage grouse conservation

- A research team wants to determine the impact of sage grouse conservation efforts on the bottom line of ranches.

Water call settlement yields 50,000 acre-feet for recharge

- Participants in a 2015 Idaho water call settlement have agreed to donate water to the state for the Snake River Plain’s aquifer recharge.

Thousands turn out to East Idaho eclipse event in volcano amid farm ground

- A family that owns an extinct volcano near Menan, Idaho, drew about 4,500 paying guests to witness the eclipse from a unique vantage point.

High school senior project tests cover crops

- A Caribou County, Idaho, high school student is conducting crop research, in conjunction with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, for his senior project.

Barley breeder developing dryland, craft malt variety

- Gongshe Hu, the barley breeder with USDA’s Aberdeen Agricultural Research Service, is using barley varieties from a collection in Morocco to aid in breeding an all-grain, malt variety with drought tolerance and low p...