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Cattle, crops working side-by side

Recently the Idaho Grain Producers Association and the Idaho Cattle Association have been working together on a plan to solve open range issues between cattlemen and grain farmers amongst themselves instead of at the legislative tier.

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Recently the Idaho Grain Producers Association and the Idaho Cattle Association have been working together on a plan to solve open range issues between cattlemen and grain farmers amongst themselves instead of at the legislative tier.



“Open range disputes between crop and cattle producers could be an issue in our area,” said Jonathan Rosenau, Idaho County state director for Idaho Grain Producers Association.

“Here in Idaho County we still try to abide by the neighborly rule and try to keep the lines of communication open,” Rosenau said.

A goal of Rosenau’s is preventing this issue from escalating as it has in southern Idaho.

Agriculture is a driving force in Idaho County. Crops and cattle can be seen side-by-side with only a fence separating herbivores from lush vegetative temptation.

These two interests oftentimes create conflict between neighbors if not handled properly. A landowner with a producing crop doesn’t want a herd of cattle trampling his field. Likewise, a cattleman doesn’t want his cattle to bloat on a farmer’s alfalfa field.

Idaho County consists of many acres designated as open range. Idaho Statute defines open range as all uninclosed lands outside of cities, villages and herd districts, upon which cattle by custom, license, lease or permit are grazed or permitted to roam.

Open range permits cattle to roam freely. Responsibility to fence cattle out lies with the landowner.

In 2012, the National Agricultural Service estimated 26,500 cattle and calves in Idaho County. According to the Farm Service Agency in 2014, these bovines were grazing next to 41,003 acres of hay ground, 78,121 acres of wheat, 11,812 acres of barley, 3,807 acres of oats as well as other crops such as peas, lentils, chickpeas, and canola produced in this area.

Recently the Idaho Grain Producers Association and the Idaho Cattle Association have been working together on a plan to solve open range issues between cattlemen and grain farmers amongst themselves instead of at the legislative tier.

These two associations have agreed to use regional directors from both groups to help solve open range issues between these two different commodities. These directors are extensively involved in their respective organizations and trusted by their peers.

“Naturally you still have rulebreakers, folks who aren’t good advocates for either industry,” said Rosenau.

Rosenau, a fourth generation cattle rancher and crop producer has served as state director for two years, a position he took over from his dad, Bill, a long-standing director for the Idaho Grain Growers Association.

“The majority of people in Idaho County have a strong tie to both farming and ranching,” said Rosenau. “Within a three-mile radius of my farm, 9 out of 10 farmers are also ranchers. These folks can see and understand both sides, preventing issues before they get started.”

Hence, the old adage, good fences make good neighbors.



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