Farming and ranching are obviously a big part of the lives of many in North Central Idaho. From how the economy is affected by farming and ranching to advancements in technology, we've got you covered.


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Incumbent Mark Baune will be seeking re-election to the Farm Service Agency (FSA) Idaho County Committee in elections to be held next month. Mailing began last week for ballots to eligible agricultural producers, and these must be returned the Idaho County FSA office by Dec. 3.

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Fall is here, and with it fall calving for some and weaning spring born calves for others. This is a good time to evaluate the body condition of your cattle. Cattle producers are invited to a body condition scoring of beef cattle class on Friday, Oct. 26, at the Cottonwood Livestock Auction in Cottonwood.

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According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service there are 2.4 million head of cattle in Idaho as of Jan. 1, 2018. Idaho County reports 32,500 head. According to the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, the state is “the 3rd largest dairy-producing state in the nation, with more than 14 billion pounds of milk produced in 2015.”

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Working ranch hands will compete for prizes, and bragging rights, at a ranch rodeo event this Saturday, Sept, 29, at the Two Bar V Livestock Arena west of Greencreek off U.S. Highway 95. Events start at 10 a.m., and admission is free with families encouraged to attend. Food concessions will be available.

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The Idaho County Carcass Show and Judging Contest was held on Wednesday, Aug. 22, at Sonnen Meats in Greencreek. 4-H and FFA members were given instruction on how to qualify and yield grade beef and sheep carcasses and how to determine USDA grades on swine carcasses.

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The crop signs have returned. Idaho County residents will notice crop signs – 25 are out this year — at fields along highways 95 and 13, identifying what is growing. The outreach started in 2016 through the Idaho County Farm Service Agency office as part of the nationwide USDA initiative, “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food.” Pictured are (L-R) Richard Spencer, NRCS; Kylie Gonsalves, FSA; Erica Baldus, FSA.

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Preregister by this Friday for the Prairie Area Crop and Conservation Tour, set for Tuesday, June 26. All farmers and ranchers, agri-support personnel, and other interested persons are welcome to attend this morning tour of the Prairie Area grain industry and a hosted breakfast.

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With the small, stressed hard red winter (HRW) wheat crop getting the lion’s share of attention, it was an initial surprise to read in USDA’s May World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) that U.S. wheat production is expected to increase to 49.6 million metric tons (MMT) in 2018/19. That would be up 5 percent year over year, if realized.

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The University of Idaho (UI), CHS Primeland and Limagrain Cereal Seeds (LCS) invite grain growers and their guests to the first annual Northern Idaho Collaborative Field Day. Ag experts from across the region will gather at Lindsay Creek Vineyards on Tuesday, June 19, to share the latest in grain research, genetics, varieties and commodities. RSVP to attend is by Friday, June 8.

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"The individual's point of view - that I want something better than what I've been feeding my family, or I've been eating for my own health benefits - I think we see a change," she says. "In all of these little small towns around here, we have every summer, small farmers markets that run for six weeks, two months, which is a step in the right direction."

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In a matter of three days, a controversial anti-trespassing bill was amended and, with amendments, passed by the Idaho Senate and the House. To become law, HB 658 just needs to be signed by the governor. The bill, which has received hours of testimony and debate in public hearings, increases penalties for trespass and ultimately overhauls current civil trespassing laws.

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March 20 is National Agriculture Day – a day designated each year by the Agriculture Council of America (ACA) to celebrate the accomplishments of agriculture. The Farm Service Agency (FSA) joins the council in thanking American agricultural producers, especially in Idaho, for their contributions to the nation’s outstanding quality of life.

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While the committee ultimately voted overwhelmingly in favor of the bill, S1208 did generate concern about the wages paid to inmate workers and their insurance coverage. “These (people) are working a long, hard, eight-hour day… so are you going to pay them more?” asked Rep. Ryan Kerby, R-New Plymouth.

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The Federal grazing fee for 2018 will be $1.41 per animal unit month (AUM) for public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management and $1.41 per head month (HM) for lands managed by the USDA Forest Service. The 2017 public land grazing fee was $1.87.

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The Trump administration has not backed down from their controversial stances at the NAFTA negotiations, which have some working in Idaho agriculture worried about the possibility of increased costs to export agricultural goods and the possibility of job losses in farming and food manufacturing.

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Current looks into and information on the grain industry will be presented at the Prairie Area Cereal School, set for Tuesday, Jan. 23, in Greencreek. Administrators from the Idaho wheat and barley commissions will give market overviews, production, research and commission activities, including Kelly Olson, IBC administrator, who will be retiring in 2018.

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Helping a new generation of farmers take root is the goal of a University of Idaho Extension workshop series, “Starting Your Sustainable Small Farm in Idaho.” The workshop series will begin with an introductory webinar Jan. 8, 6-7 p.m., followed by three all-day in-class sessions, a wrap-up event and two farm tours.

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