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Alfalfa Study Produces Opportunities

Chicks in Chaps

Having fun & giving back

Cottonwood Sales Yard

The Rowland family business


& Idaho Agriculture

farm & ranch

North Central Idaho

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North Central Idaho Farm & Ranch  | 

Spring 2018

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North Central Idaho Farm & Ranch  | 

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5  New alfalfa study produced opportunities 8  Chicks N Chaps - A day to be a cowgirl, have fun, give back 12  NAFTA and Idaho Agriculture 14  Mulching could help make healthier forests 18  Cottonwood Sales Yard - It doesn't cost to sell, it pays... 23  Idaho’s Ag-Gag law unconstitutional 31  Near-record year for farm loans

Advertising Inquiries Sarah Klement

Deb Jones

Submit Photos/Stories David Rauzi, Editor

Sarah Klement

About the cover: Free Press photo

Publications of Eagle Media Northwest 900 W. Main, PO Box 690, Grangeville, ID 83530, 208-983-1200 • Lewiston: 208-746-0483

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North Central Idaho Farm & Ranch  | 

Spring 2018

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The results are in

Study shines new light on Idaho, Lewis County alfalfa production opportunities By Andrew Ottoson Idaho County Free Press

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f you’re wondering if there’s anything you can do to get more out of your alfalfa fields, you might want to consider University of Idaho Extension’s latest field test results. Six years ago, a North Central Idaho beef advisory committee of producers came to an extension meeting with a request for information on which alfalfa varieties work best in this region – and the producers’ request gave rise to a new study. “They do a lot of research in the Columbia Basin and Boise Valley on irrigated land, because they raise so much alfalfa there,” said Idaho County extension agent Jim Church, one of the new study’s co-authors. “We don’t raise as much here because the climate isn’t quite as suited for it. It’s dryland, and producers only get one cutting. There hasn’t been a lot of effort into research because of that. It had been 30 years since there had been any variety testing for alfalfa in North Idaho, from Riggins north. So we looked into it.” Before the 2013 growing season, U. of I. Extension – namely, ag economists Church, Ken Hart and Doug Finkelnburg and research specialist Glenn Shewmaker – began their investigation of which among 33 dryland alfalfa varieties might perform best in fields in Idaho and Lewis counties. (The paper acknowledg-

es with Mart and Marty Thompson in Lewis County and with Joe and Stephen Baerlocher in Idaho County -- the growers who provided test sites, time and other inputs – as well as 10 ag industry companies that provided seeds that were tested.) After each of four seasons of field work including cuttings each June 2013-2016, these ag economists published their findings in a March 2018 paper titled “Northern Alfalfa Variety Testing Report.” “Glenn had a seeder and came up and helped us seed it,” Church explained. “Every year – and it tested my lack of youth – we’d go out with a plot swather, rake it up and weigh it by hand, with a tarp and a tripod and a scale.” To get the numbers: they cut it to a height of about four inches, weighed it, took samples which they dried and weighed again, and they sent sub-samples off for forage quality testing. Then they checked the data statistically to discover which varieties performed measurably better than others – and they found some varieties did indeed perform a bit better than some of the others they had put to the test. “From that we were able to determine which varieties did the best over that four-year period,” Church said. “Mainly what it did was give the guys here who want to plant alfalfa information that can help them make that decision –

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and it helps us, Doug, Ken and myself – because we get calls every year from people wondering ‘What do you think I ought to plant?’” “We didn’t know for sure,” he said. “Well, now we do.” Among the top performers – by the average seen in all seasons at both the Idaho County site and the Lewis County site – protein content varied from 11.0 percent to 16.5 percent and productivity varied from 1.9 tons per acre to 2.12 tons per acre. At the Idaho County site, the most productive varieties averaged 1.74 to 2.00 tons per acre, with protein content averaging 10.9 to 14.7 percent. At the Lewis County site, the most productive varieties averaged 2.51 to 2.86 tons per acre with protein content of 14.7 to 19 percent. Why the difference between the sites? The Lewis County site received about 16 inches of rain Oct. 1 to the date of first cutting each season, while the Idaho County site received about 11 inches of rain. So, which varieties were found best by test? “Big Sky Ladak has been around for a long time, and it did real well,” Church said. “It

comes out of Montana. Rugged was one that came forward that we didn’t know did this good…before the study, there was kind of an old one, Excalibur, that when I came here 30 years ago everybody liked to seed, but that wasn’t in our trial. Vernal was one everybody liked, and it did OK.” Numerically, Vernal finished three one-hundredths of a ton per acre – 60 pounds per acre – outside of the lead group. But statistically, with 95 percent confidence, the study found four varieties all outperformed Vernal: Rugged, Big Sky Ladak, Magnum-7 and Melton. Those four, in turn, performed numerically – but not statistically – better than the rest of the lead group indicated by the study and listed in Table 1. Vernal was found stronger at the Lewis County test site, where it ranked ninth numerically by tons per acre and in the lead group statistically; Vernal was found weaker at the Idaho County site, where it ranked 23rd by tons per acre. Data on how all 33 varieties performed at both sites is included in the paper, which is available through the study authors or online under “Recent Publications” at

Spring 2018

Table 1. Top performers among 33 varieties tested Variety tons/acre crude protein % Rugged 2.12 16.0 Big Sky Ladak 2.12 14.7 Magnum-7 2.11 15.4 Melton 2.10 11.8 WL 355RR 2.05 15.0 AgRMS-102 2.04 11.0 MsSunstra-803 2.02 15.8 Venus 4 PLUS T 2.00 16.5 Shaw 1.93 12.3 PGI 424 1.93 16.2 PGI 215 1.90 15.5 Vernal 1.86 14.6 Least Significant Diff. 0.23 3.1 Those listed in bold did not produce a statistically different quantity per acre. “Least Significant Difference” (0.05) is the statistical measure by which the Top 11 above performed differently than the rest with 95 percent confidence. When the difference in measured values is less than the “least significant difference” value, the difference may be due to random error rather than differences in the varieties.

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A day to be a cowgirl, have fun, give back By Lorie Palmer Idaho County Free Press

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North Central Idaho Farm & Ranch  | 

LEWISTON – What’s pink and sassy and fun all over? It’s the annual Chicks and Chaps event at the Lewiston Roundup. Each year for the past five years, women have gathered at the Lewiston Roundup grounds in an effort to support cancer awareness, specifically breast cancer, in the Quad Cities (Lewiston, Clarkston, Moscow and Pullman). “It’s an amazing event and I am so grateful to get to be a part of it,” said 2017 organizer Kristin Kemak, Lewiston Chamber of Commerce director. Part of the afternoon’s events include special speakers, catered lunch/dinner, silent and live auctions, raffles, taste tests, goodie bags and – one of the most popular events – the arena clinics. In the arena, women of all ages have the chance to “cowgirl up” as they learn to rope, ride a barrel bull and participate in a stick horse race. All for “real” scores on their cards. “What? An eight? I definitely think that was a 10,” one participant laughed after she roped the bull decoy’s horn atop a barrel bull set up on a haystack. “I think I should get points simply for trying,” another lady laughed as her rope didn’t quite make a circle motion. “Let’s do this!” another young woman yelled,

Spring 2018

raising her right hand in bull-rider fashion as she balanced atop the barrel bull. “Shareece’s wild!” she yelled, throwing out the Lewiston Roundup theme as others watched and cheered her on. “It’s such fun to get together, and to raise awareness and money for those in our communities who truly need the help,” Kemak said. For her, the event hit close to home in 2016. By 2017, she was one-year cancer free. “I am on the Lewiston Roundup board,” she said, “but for me, 2016 was too close to my diagnosis. Now, I am able to focus on all the truly amazing networking and benefits.” Kemal dug her heels in for the 2017 event and contacted sponsors, vendors and one of the most important aspects of the event – volunteers. “We had about 168 people attend and 50 volunteers helping. This would not be successful without all of them,” she emphasized. Chicks and Chaps was started in Montana in 2010 and came to Lewiston in 2012. Since its inception, it has raised $72,000. For the 2017 event, money raised went to the Gina Queensberry Foundation in Lewiston and Light A Candle in Moscow. The Gina Quensenberry Foundation provides financial assistance through donations and fund-raising activities to area breast cancer

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Photos by Lorie Palmer Chicks and Chaps includes meeting up with friends and supporting one another in a festive environment with opportunities to participate in cowgirl activities, share in food and fun, and give back to local women in need by participating in live and silent auctions.

patients in need. Light A Candle program raises funds for services, helping cancer patients improve their quality of life and easing some of the pressure that comes with facing cancer. Some of the services made available through the Light a Candle program include housekeeping, gas cards, grocery assistance and massages.

“I am one of those people who was helped by Light A Candle,” survivor Heidi Heath told the group of ladies. Heath was “44 and healthy,” she said, when she got her cancer diagnosis. “Six rounds of chemotherapy, a double mastectomy, a total hysterectomy and 33 rounds of

continued page 11

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Photos by Lorie Palmer (Left) 2017 organizer Kristin Kemak, Lewiston Chamber of Commerce director, helps make the Chicks and Chaps event successful. Part of that is the fun had by all the “cowgirls” present (right).

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radiation later – and here I am,” she said tearfully. “I was so thankful for that gas card from Light A Candle, but the foot massage I received was unbelievable.” When on the roller-coaster ride that is the cancer journey, she said, it’s the little things that come to matter. “They stand out as bright spots in a crazy, stressful time,” she added. “Take care of yourselves. Sometimes all you can do is take one step at a time – but always, always move forward.” Physician Sally Jones spoke briefly on her career path. “I could stand here and tell you that one in eight are diagnosed with cancer, that you need to get your mammograms at 40 – but you know that,” Dr. Jones said. Instead, she chose to speak on “gratitude,” she said.

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“I am honored and privileged in my practice to be able to take this journey with women. Through it, my perspective has changed – and I see that in the women I treat,” she said. Jones said she sees a transformation in her patients, who come to see the world in a different way. “No one has ever come to me and said, ‘I am so glad for those extra hours I logged in at work,’” she stated. “They are glad for the photos they took, the fly fishing they did, the hobby they embraced, the mentor they became –the memories they created and those they spent their time with.” Dr. Jones reminded the group to live in a way that matters, “to show that the struggle of those who have cancer is not in vain,” she said. “Rock gratitude!” The seriousness of what Chicks and Chaps is intended for is not lost; however, the event

exudes a carefree happiness of sisterhood. Friends, sisters, moms and daughters all come in together. “I wouldn’t want to miss it,” said Tammy Iverson, who bucked, roped, visited and laughed her way through the afternoon. As a hot day led into a perfect night, women sat together in the Roundup bleachers for the evening’s performances, new friends made and new experiences in the books, already visiting about the coming year. “Being here is a great way to give back to those in need and to a community who responds to those in need,” Kemal said. “It’s my turn to give back by helping with this event and I love it.” For information on Chicks and Chaps in Lewiston, log onto their Facebook page or contact Lewiston Chamber of Commerce Director Kristen Kemak at

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Spring 2018

NAFTA AND IDAHO AGRICULTURE Industry needs more representation at negotiations By Graham Zickefoose Idaho County Free Press

wheat, to possibly look to Canada. “If we don’t have a good trade agreement, it’s just like writing a blank check to Canada The vast valley of farms surrounding agriculture – here, have our markets,” Anderson Grangeville seems to sneak up on motorists said. descending White Bird Hill Summit. This is the According to Dr. Norm Ruhoff, director of the gateway to the agricultural center of Northern Agricultural Commodity Risk Management ProIdaho, dotted with farms and old homesteads, gram at the University of Idaho, relations with some of which have existed for more than a U.S. wheat importers take years to cultivate, hundred years. and if those relationships deteriorate, it impacts It might appear that the outside world has no local producers directly. effect on this secluded region of the Northwest, Anderson echoed this notion, saying imbut as President Trump continues to threaten porters will pay premium prices for U.S. wheat withdrawal from the North American Free because of its quality, but only to a point. If the Trade Agreement (NAFTA) during its renegotia- U.S. withdraws from trade deals like NAFTA, tion process, Northern Idaho farmers may have price hikes could render the quality of U.S. reason to turn their attention toward Washing- wheat moot, and importers would find other ton, D.C. markets. Since August 2017, the U.S. has been neIn the short term, withdrawal from NAFTA gotiating with Canada and Mexico to try and would mean Anderson’s farm would experiupdate NAFTA, the 24-year-old agreement that ence higher costs as a result of new tariffs, virtually eliminates tariffs on trade between and produce would be sold at lower prices to the three countries, and there are still plenty of compensate. details to hammer out. In the long term, Anderson believes drops NAFTA has increased agricultural exports in the prices of produce would devalue the from the US exponentially since its ratification farmland, explaining that something similar in 1993, and many in the agricultural industry happened in the Midwest when the price of are satisfied with the agreement as is. corn dropped a few years ago. Additionally, Joe Anderson, a district representative for rebuilding the market would take years. the Idaho Wheat Commission, has farmed “I believe NAFTA has resulted in a pretty wheat and other produce between Lewiston good positive balance of trade for the U.S., and and Genesee with his brother for 35 years. if you’re (in) one of the sectors that benefitBeneath the grain elevators along the Clear- ted from that, like agriculture, it seems pretty water River in Lewiston, which store harvested important to you,” Anderson said. grain from all over Northern Idaho before Tim Eichner of Eichner Farms expressed being exported worldwide, Anderson said that similar concerns to Anderson, such as limitafree trade is important to his business and he tions of agricultural exports to NAFTA partners believes the Trump administration should try to caused by withdrawal, and he believes that the “do no harm” to U.S. agriculture. agricultural industry needs more representation According to Anderson, 50 percent of wheat at the renegotiations. grown in the United States is exported to other Eichner is a fourth-generation farmer entercountries, and withdrawing from NAFTA could ing his 39th harvest, and Eichner Farms, which cause Mexico, the largest importer of U.S. is just north of Kendrick, is a century farm

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established in 1889 that grows wheat and other produce that is exported worldwide. “My business depends on open markets to Asia, open markets to North America, open markets to the Middle East…(and) anything that limits…our ability to export farm products is a negative,” Eichner said. While Eichner agrees with President Trump that America’s best interests should be the primary concern in the renegotiations, he thinks it is dangerous to have such rigid demands, and that U.S. negotiators should try to remain flexible so as not to ruin a beneficial trade relationship. Eichner also stressed the need for representation of agricultural interests at the renegotiating table to find a solution that benefits everyone affected by NAFTA, including those in the manufacturing industry. “I agree we need to take care of manufacturing, but let’s not take out agriculture just to get that done,” Eichner said. During his campaign, Donald Trump struck a chord with workers in the automotive industry with his promise to either renegotiate NAFTA in their favor or withdraw, and to stop manufacturing jobs from going to Mexico. During his closing statement for the sixth round of NAFTA renegotiations in January, U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer referenced the automotive industry, but not agriculture, as a point of concern. The end date for renegotiating NAFTA is uncertain, but the outcome has the potential to directly impact Northern Idaho agriculture, while agricultural interests could remain a secondary concern in the renegotiation process. • Graham Zickefoose of Moscow is a senior at the University of Idaho, majoring in international studies. He is a contributing writer for the Idaho County Free Press.

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North Central Idaho Farm & Ranch


Spring 2018

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North Central Idaho Farm & Ranch


Spring 2018

‘Mulching could help make healthier forests’

After Fifth generation Cottonwood farmer continues family tradition, hands-on education By Lorie Palmer Idaho County Free Press

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Before COTTONWOOD -- Do you have overgrowth in your fields or on your property that needs cleaned? Some underbrush you may like to reduce before fire season? Eli Rad is your man. Eli Rad, Rad Mulching and Fire Reduction, LLC, has been a co-owner in the business for the past decade and recently became the sole owner. “I clean up overgrown ground and timber, turning it from a tangly, unhealthy overgrown mess into a clean park,” Rad explained. He can also take a CRP field -- old farm ground now used for pasture -- that is full of brush back into clean useable pasture or farm ground. Rad said he has especially seen the need for mulching services increase with the state’s forest fires during the past few years. “Idaho has so much timber ground and it’s sad how much of it is overgrown and dying,” he stated. “Fires wouldn’t burn as hot and fast if we would take better care of our forest. Trees are dying because they grow too close together. Fires can’t be stopped because they burn so hot and the trees are so close that it is easy for the fire to just jump over to the next tree.” “Mulching could really help to make our forest healthier again,” he emphasized. Rad’s services assist not only in making a healthier forest and making more clean, recreational and usable areas, but also by offering

fire protection by reducing fuels for fires on timber ground and around homes. About 10 years ago, Rad and his father decided to buy a machine and start a business mulching, he said. Rad grew up on the family farm and is the fifth generation to work it. “Growing up, my jobs were anything from picking rocks, to cutting the fields to working them to chasing cows to pulling calves,” he said. “Everyone in the family tried to do a fair share of everything.” “The need for mulching was going up and not many people do it,” he explained. “Also, we have quite a bit of timber ground we wanted to clean up. We have been mulching since 2010, and in the last few years we have slowed down a lot doing jobs here and there for private people in Idaho County. I decided to buy the company and really get back at it.” Rad said there are a lot of places in Idaho County that are becoming overgrown with brush, and “a handful of timber ground is starting to get out of control,” he said. “The sooner you get to it, the cheaper it will be and the easier it will be to get it back to healthy, beautiful timber,” he said. Rad uses an industrial forestry machine with “lots of power,” he said -- 100hp with 45 GPM

continued page 16

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North Central Idaho Farm & Ranch  | 

Spring 2018

Photos contributed by Eli Rad Eli Rad, Rad Mulching and Fire Reduction, LLC, is a fifth-generation farmer/rancher who has been in the mulching business for the past decade. He said he enjoys the process of cleaning up areas and making them more useable plots of land and spaces. At right, a tree area before (top), and after (bottom) mulching.

continued from 14

hydraulic flow. He said it has low ground pressure and gets around well, with rubber tracks, “so the ground disturbance is very minimal,” he said. Although he said his education has always been hands-on, including working with brother in his spraying and fertilizing business, Rad Applications – he has left the Camas Prairie to see the world. “For the most part, I try to stay around here but I have left for a few months at a time for work and pleasure,” he said. “I mulched for a

P10021 IFP Farm and Ranch Spring 2018.indd 16

summer down in Arizona. That’s the farthest I have gone with my machine. But I have also traveled a lot of the world and been to a lot of countries – most of them with my wife, Jenny.” They have visited Mexico, Dominican Republic, Canada, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, France and Egypt, as well as Jenny’s home country, Germany. However, Rad has returned to his Idaho roots to work in the industry he loves. “I think Idaho County is beautiful and I love the people and the communities around here,”

he said. “I still feel like there is a lot of respect and people are still honest and still have great work ethics. Rad continues to work with his family on the farm and coordinating businesses when he isn’t busy mulching. “I wouldn’t want to raise a family anywhere else,” he said. “I feel like we have good schools and the people still look out for each other.” Rad will travel throughout the region yearround and can be reached by calling or texting 208-507-0577. Free estimates are available.

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North Central Idaho Farm & Ranch


Spring 2018


U.S. 2017 farm exports hit 140.5 billion U.S. agricultural exports totaled $140.5 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2017, climbing nearly $10.9 billion from the previous year to the third-highest level on record, according to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. As it has done for more than 50 years, the U.S. agricultural sector once again posted an annual trade surplus, which reached $21.3 billion, up almost 30 percent from last year’s $16.6 billion. “U.S. agriculture depends on trade. It is great to see an increase in exports and we hope to open additional markets to build on this success,” Perdue said. “I’m a grow-it-and-sell-it kind of guy. If American agricultural producers keep growing it, USDA will keep helping to sell it around the world.” China finished the fiscal year as the United States’ largest export customer, with shipments valued at $22 billion, followed closely by Canada at $20.4 billion. U.S. agricultural exports to Mexico reached $18.6 billion, a six-percent gain from last year, while exports to Japan grew 12 percent, to $11.8 billion. Rounding out the top 10 markets were the European Union ($11.6 billion), South Korea ($6.9 billion), Hong Kong

($4 billion), Taiwan ($3.4 billion), Indonesia ($3 billion) and the Philippines ($2.6 billion). U.S. bulk commodity exports set a volume record at 159 million metric tons, up 11 percent from FY 2016, while their value rose 16 percent to $51.4 billion. The surge was led by soybean exports, which reached a record 60 million metric tons, valued at $24 billion. Exports of corn, wheat and cotton all grew as well, with the value of cotton exports climbing 70 percent, to $5.9 billion, wheat exports up 21 percent, to $6.2 billion, and corn exports up six percent, to $9.7 billion. A number of other products saw significant export increases as well. U.S. dairy exports grew 17 percent to $5.3 billion, beef exports were up 16 percent to $7.1 billion, and pork exports rose 14 percent to $6.4 billion. Overall, horticultural product exports increased three percent to nearly $33.9 billion, largely driven by an eight-percent increase in exports of tree nuts, which reached $8.1 billion, the second-highest total on record. Processed food and beverage exports rose two percent to $39.2 billion. Exports are responsible for 20 percent of

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North Central Idaho Farm & Ranch


Spring 2018

Where it doesn’t cost to sell, it pays...

Photos by Renee Duman, Barefoot n Backroads

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Sales Yard

North Central Idaho Farm & Ranch


Spring 2018



By Shelley Neal Idaho County Free Press

motto coined by Vade Spencer, early owner of Cottonwood Sales Yard, “Where it doesn’t cost to sell, it pays,” is still practiced today by current owners, the Rowlands. Dennis Rowland purchased the Cottonwood Sales Yard, now known as Prairie Agricultural Center, in 1998, from his former in-laws, Shorty and Marge Arnzen (Vade Spencer’s daughter). “I believe Shorty picked out the windiest darn spot on the prairie!” Dennis said. One hundred and fifty acres along U.S. Highway 95 is home to Prairie Ag Center, built in 1976; the location of a sales yard, custom feedlot, vet clinic, and annual farm equipment auction. Representing the great cattle on the prairie and working to get the best market price is the main goal of the business. The cattle auctions are on Friday, but it takes the rest of the week to consign the cattle, watch the market and let buyers know what is coming. Then the sale work really begins on Fridays, as local cattlemen bring their animals to market where the beef are counted, sorted, processed, and sold to the highest bidder. Hard work and honesty helped this self-taught auctioneer build an agriculture business that serves livestock producers throughout North Central Idaho. Rowland got his start around sales yards in the Nampa area. As a young boy he went to school all day and then loaded cattle at night on rail cars; as rail cars phased out, he loaded trucks all night. “An older auctioneer started letting me sell baby calves when I was 16,” Dennis said, “I worked at the Nampa Livestock Yard from 1971-80.” Rowland then went on to buy slaughter cows for Armour, a meat packing plant. He worked at different sales yards, auctioneering and as an order buyer on his own for several years. Now, Rowland holds a livestock sale year-round, every Friday, or every other Friday depending on the time of year. At one time, Cottonwood Sales Yard sold pigs, sheep, cattle, and horses. “Now we don’t sell anything but cattle,” said Dennis. 12,000 to 16,000 head of cattle a year are sold through the sale ring, including cattle from as far south as Indian Valley and as far north as Moscow. “The sales yard is perfect for the cattle operations on the continued on page 20

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North Central Idaho Farm & Ranch  | 

Spring 2018

Dennis Rowland (left, bottom), owner of Prairie Agricultural Center in Cottonwood where between 12,000 to 16,000 head of cattle are sold through its sale ring.

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prairie because we can take several small groups of cattle to make semiloads to ship on to the next buyer. Auctions compete for your cattle,” said Dennis. “Extra freight cost and the shrink of the cattle are factors most people don’t consider. These costs can be higher than paying commission.” On average, 3,000 head of calves are handled in their Idaho Approved Custom Feedlot.

These calves are fed hay, barley, and haylage, purchased from local sources. In 2009, Dennis’ oldest son, Brent, joined the business and is now a partner. Brent holds a bachelor’s degree in animal science and agriculture business from the University of Idaho. He worked in carcass sales for Tyson/IBP at the Boise beef packing plant. He also worked as the marketing manager at AgriBeef feedlots in the

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Treasure Valley before coming to Cottonwood. In 2013, Brent attended Western College of Auctioneering in Billings, Montana, and now also auctioneers during the sales. Brent has seen every aspect of the beef market and “is a big asset to the business,” Dennis said. Brent’s wife, Tara and three daughters moved from Twin Falls to Cottonwood, quickly becoming active in youth sports, 4-H, community ac-

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Spring 2018

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tivities and programs. Tara is also a graduate of the University of Idaho and currently provides adult education instruction for Lewis-Clark State College in Grangeville. Tara is an active volunteer in the community and serves as a school board member. She stays involved with the family business by working in the office on sale days where she strives to provide great customer service. Dennis’ youngest son, Jake, helps on occasion, but is also employed by CHS Primeland. Their daughter, Selena Davila, is enrolled at Washington State University as a freshman, and on her own path to success. Dennis and Brent do the majority of the work themselves, but have one full-time pen rider, Gabe Richardson; and a part-time office manager, Jean Spencer, doing their book work. “We are very fortunate to have the help of excellent part-time employees. It takes a lot of people to keep the sales running smoothly. We have some people who have been here for 20 years,” said Dennis. In 2006, Dennis married Helen Klapprich, a local veterinarian and they started Cottonwood Veterinary Service. Helen always wanted to be a vet; after graduating from Washington State University with her veterinarian degree, she worked for vets in Lewiston, and Virgil Frei in Ferdinand. “I have been fortunate to be able to come back home and work with all the great people on the prairie,” said Helen. “The vet clinic has the most up-to-date hydraulic chutes, to make the physical job of large animal medicine as safe and efficient as possible. It is a luxury to have all the pens, loading area, and great facility of the sale barn to use, whether it be trailer loads or semitruck loads of cattle to process,” Helen said. For 22 years, Helen has helped producers be vigilant in producing healthy animals. “Helen’s really helped to get folks on good vaccination programs,” Dennis said, “This produces a better product to sell.” “I work on only large animals, cattle, and equine. My portable hydraulic chute allows me to do a great deal of herd work for the ranchers in pregnancy testing and vaccinating the cattle and weaning calves.” Helen continued, “It works hand in hand with the feedlot, as I can adjust vaccination protocols of the herd, based on feedlot performance and health. I have been able to make a lot of progress in preventing respiratory disease and BVD (Bovine Viral Diarrhea).” Dennis admits jokingly, “She gets to be boss around her chute area, and we help as much as we can.” Helen’s equine work consists primarily of

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Brent and Tara Rowland and their three daughters. Brent is Dennis’ oldest son, who joined the business in 2009 and is currently a partner.

routine vaccinations, dental work, castrations, and emergency work including wire cuts and colic. “I have the latest in powerfloat dental equipment, to enable the horses to eat properly and remove problem points and hooks in the horse’s mouth,” she said. The Rowlands are very active in the local 4-H program. The sales yard is the location of project weigh dates, local club meetings, and veterinary clinic days. Dennis started selling the 4-H market sales for the kids about 1988. Now Brent helps out as they sell Idaho and Lewis County 4-H animals every fall. Brent and Tara are current leaders of the Cottonwood Saddliers 4-H Club, giving back to the community and raising their own 4-H’ers and future leaders. Rowland Auction Service also supports local fund-raisers and community benefits on a regular basis. Consignment items fill the parking lot the

first Saturday in June, for Prairie Ag Center’s annual Farm & Livestock Equipment Auction. This huge event brings folks from all over the Northwest, lining cars alongside Highway 95 in both directions. Many people in the area consider the consignment sale to be the kickoff to summer and look forward to it every year. The cattle marketing world has changed throughout Dennis’ time. “Technology has definitely affected some of the marketing,” said Dennis, “although you still can’t see cattle that well on the video screen or Internet. Cattle represented are only as good as the guy you’re dealing with,” Dennis continued. “You really kind of need to know who you are doing business with, face-to-face.” This busy blended family strongly believes in helping the agricultural industry, like their sale schedule reads: “Let’s Work Together to Make Our Industry Better”.

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Federal court upholds ruling that Idaho’s Ag-Gag law unconstitutional By David Rauzi, Editor Idaho County Free Press

ever, the First Amendment right to gather news within legal bounds does not exempt journalists from laws of general applicability.” To concerns this ruling finds it is a constitutional right to conduct audio-visual recordings on private property, the opinion was clear:

court Dairy farms in 2012. Following the act’s passage, several groups – including animal and civil rights activists, and media organizations Legal challenges are pending for other states – sued the state, arguing the law criminalized concerning photo and video recordings of agria long tradition of undercover journalism and cultural operations, but Idaho’s 2014 “ag-gag” would require people who expose wrongdoing law was ruled unconstitutional by a federal to pay restitution to the businesses they target. appeals court earlier this year. In the 2015 District Court ruling, Judge B. he Ninth Circuit’s decision The move upholds a landmark ruling as beLynn Winmill found the state’s act unconstitusends a strong message to ing the first time a court has declared an ag-gag tional for criminalizing certain types of speech. Idaho and other states with Agstatute unconstitutional. “Although the state may not agree with the Gag laws that they cannot trample In a 56-page ruling released in January, U.S. message certain groups seek to convey about civil liberties for the benefit of an Circuit Judge M. Margaret McKeown stated, Idaho’s agricultural production facilities, such “The panel held that the subsection crimiindustry.” as releasing secretly recorded videos of animal nalized innocent behavior, was staggeringly abuse to the Internet and calling for boycotts,” — Stephen Wells overbroad, and that the purpose of the statute Winmill wrote, “it cannot deny such groups was, in large part, targeted at speech and inves“Even assuming Idaho has a compelling equal protection of the laws in their exercise of tigative journalists.” interest in regulating property rights and their right to free speech.” This decision upholds a 2015 ruling by the protecting its farm industry,” the ruling stated, January’s decision was noted as a victory for U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho that “criminalizing access to property by misreprefree speech by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the ban was a violation of the First Amendsentation is not ‘actually necessary’ to protect which led the coalition of public interest groups ment’s safeguarding of free speech. those rights. If, as Idaho argues, its real concern and journalists in the 2014 lawsuit. In summary, the 9th Court’s ruling found is trespass, then Idaho already has a prohibition “The Ninth Circuit’s decision sends a strong Idaho’s law unconstitutional in two areas: against trespass that does not implicate speech message to Idaho and other states with Ag-Gag prohibiting a person from misrepresenting in any way.” laws that they cannot trample civil liberties for themselves in order to enter an agricultural Idaho’s Agricultural Security Act was signed the benefit of an industry,” says Animal Legal production facility, and banning a person from into law in 2014 by Governor Butch Otter, Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. taking photos or video of a production facility. imposing fines and jail time on activists who Currently, similar ag-gag laws are facing However, it upheld Idaho law that makes it would secretly film abuse on the state’s comlegal challenges in Utah and North Carolina. a crime of obtaining agricultural production mercial farms. Seven states -- Kansas, North Dakota, Montana, facility records by misrepresentation. It came about at the behest of the Idaho Iowa, Utah, Missouri and North Carolina – have “We are sensitive to journalists’ constitutional Dairymen’s Association as a result of the animal passed laws designed to curb secret investigaright to investigate and publish exposes on the rights organization Mercy for Animals releasing tions of meat packing and livestock operations. agricultural industry,” Judge McKeown stated. a video of animal abuse – reportedly beating – Sources for this story included reporting “Matters related to food safety and animal cru- and stomping cows -- by workers on Bettenby the Associated Press. elty are of significant public importance. How-


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North Central Idaho Farm & Ranch  | 

Spring 2018

Culverts open spawning habitat By Steve Stuebner, contributor Idaho County Free Press

administrator for the Idaho SWCD, and learned that there was strong interest in replacing multiple culverts on the popular Deer Creek Road to open up historic steelhead-spawning habitat for the ocean-going rainbow trout. The Deer Creek Road rises nearly a vertical mile from the Salmon River near White Bird to Pittsburg Saddle and then takes a deep plunge for nearly a vertical mile to Pittsburg Landing, a key access

a permitting process with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to get their assistance in drawing up plans that would pass muster for Three years ago, Katherine Thompson was the new culverts. Thompson helped her with out chukar hunting with neighbor and friend some background on steelhead and her profesTom Fliss, who’s a commissioner on the Deer sional opinion on the potential of the stream. Creek Road District. They were hunting on The Idaho SWCD would be the project sponsteep, grassy slopes on the Zumwalt property, sor, and officials with the Deer Creek Highway upslope from the Salmon River near White District agreed to do the culvert-installation as Bird. They paused to look at a road culvert on in-kind work to provide matching funds, along his is a classic partnership Deer Creek, next to the Salmon River. with two neighboring highway districts. The “It was undersized and too high for fish to culvert on private land could be fixed because project where the Conserpass,” said Thompson, a fish biologist for the Randy Zumwalt and his brother were open vation Commission’s professional Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest. “And to doing that as long as it didn’t cause undue staff was pivotal to the success of Tom mentioned that he’d observed numerous restrictions on their private property and cattle whole project.” steelhead trapped in the pool below the culvert ranch. Zumwalt also did the culvert-installa— Leon Slichter during the spring in the past several years. tion work as an employee of the road district. We thought maybe if we could get some grant Thompson is one of his neighbors who lives on money, maybe we could address the culvert point in Hells Canyon for jet boats, float boats, the Deer Creek Road as well. issue and get steelhead restored to the whole hikers, campers and anglers. The $305,000 project was recently completstream. It was one of those chance things to get Some of the culverts had been installed ed in the fall of 2017. It opened up seven miles the ball rolling.” in rapid fashion some 25-30 years ago after of spawning habitat for steelhead along the Soon afterward, serendipity happened. a creek blowout, and others may have been steep Deer Creek grade with five new culverts Eileen Rowan, a water quality specialist for the installed when the road was built initially, road that were custom-sized to accommodate large Idaho Soil and Water Conservation District, was district officials said. All of them blocked fish storm events and also provide ideal fish passage doing some outreach with the Idaho (County) passage. The culverts also were undersized, and for steelhead and resident fish. Soil and Water Conservation District to see if could get plugged easily with debris, threaten“Those culverts look awesome,” said Hays, they might need some help with any conserva- ing the integrity of the road. who administered the funds for the project. tion projects. Rowan went to work, found two sources of “It’ll be really beneficial for the fish.” Rowan got in touch with Stefanie Hays, grant money to fund the work, and engaged in continued page 27


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Low numbers of adult steelhead returning to Idaho in 2017 also emphasize the importance of restoring habitat, Ries says. The number of steelhead passing by Lower Granite Dam was 68,000 (11,400 wild fish) as of Nov. 27, compared to a 10-year average of 165,000, according to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. The low numbers caused IDFG to close steelhead fishing seasons statewide in the fall, and since that time, seasons have been opened on the Salmon, Snake and Clearwater rivers

“The project turned out really well,” adds Leon Slichter, chairman of the Idaho SWCD and SWC Commissioner. “It’s a high-visibility area that gets a lot of traffic with the vehicles heading in and out of Pittsburg Landing. It’s going to be beneficial for the road district to have proper-sized culverts in there to maintain the integrity of that road. The previous culverts weren’t sized large enough, and they’d plug up with debris and cause washouts along the road.” “Everything worked out just perfectly,” added Bob Ries, a fisheries biologist for the NMFS in Moscow. “We should have steelhead spawning up there on Deer Creek next spring.” Slichter and Rowan also point out that the work on Deer Creek Road dovetails nicely with a number of water-quality improvements that were made in the same area with several cattle ranches along the road. The improvements installed best management practices to control runoff from feedlots, off-site livestock watering, improved corrals, riparian fencing and more. “We had three projects that installed BMPs on three feedlots up there,” Rowan says. “They improved water quality on Deer Creek and reduced the amount of sediment going into the creek and the Salmon River.” The feedlot BMPs were completed in 20052011 through Section 319 grants from the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality and EPA, and state Water Quality Program for Agriculture funds. The BMPs reduced sediment by an estimated 100 tons per year, phosphorus by 812 pounds per year, and nitrogen by 3,314 pounds per year, Rowan said. “It seemed like getting the fish back in Deer Creek there matched really well with the cattle BMP projects that had been done up there,” Thompson said. “The grants were a really nice infusion of money to get the fish work done. One of the culverts crosses my driveway. Every day that I drive to work and go by that, it makes me really happy.” It’s pretty incredible that the large steelhead adults can find enough room for spawning in Deer Creek, Ries said. “It’s a pretty narrow little stream, but it maintains cold water temperatures, and it is perennial. It’s pretty amazing because it’s only a couple of feet wide,” he says. Steelhead begin moving into tributary streams to spawn in the spring, when snowmelt is pouring down the mountains, typically between February and April. “If you look at steelhead numbers in the Snake River, about half of them come from these tiny little tributary streams, so projects like this are some of the most effective things we can do to get steelhead numbers increased,” he said.

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engineer for the City of Lewiston who also does engineering work for the road district. “Those three road districts worked really well together,” Stubbers said. The biggest challenge in the construction phase was to dig down several feet below the stream to install the base rock and place large concrete bases – called “SuperSills,” manufactured by TrueNorth Steel in Missoula, Mont. – for the the open-arched culverts, Zumwalt said. They also had to temporarily divert the creek at each culvert location, dig down below the Deer Creek Road to remove the old culverts, and he specifications for the prepare the foundation for the new culverts. culverts are designed to Some of the culverts were quite long – they simulate the natural channel and ranged from 35 to 60 feet in length. For the form step pools, to make it easier longest culvert, Zumwalt said it took two for the fish to migrate upstream.” excavators positioned side by side on either end to hoist a 10,000-pound concrete base from the — Bob Ries edge of the road down into the culvert location. with smaller bag limits than normal. As they placed the new culverts, they ob“It’s pretty bad,” said Lance Hebdon, anadro- served rainbow trout in Deer Creek below each mous fish manager for IDFG. “This has been a location. But those fish weren’t able to pass rough year on steelhead.” through the old culverts either. “The fish were By replacing the first culvert on Deer Creek stuck there,” Zumwalt said. “Now they’ll be able above the Salmon River on private land, it to roam up and down the whole stream.” not only opened access for steelhead on Deer Next spring, when the steelhead return to the Creek, but also Poe and Howard creeks upSalmon River in Idaho from the Pacific Ocean, stream, Thompson said. By replacing four other Thompson is hoping that she’ll see them spawnculverts, it opens up steelhead migration for ing in Deer Creek. Fish experts estimate once the whole Deer Creek watershed, plus Johnson steelhead return to the stream, they could lay Creek and Cowen Gulch. enough eggs to produce approximately 45,000 The new culverts also benefit resident juvenile fish, 6,750 smolts that might make it to rainbow trout populations on Deer Creek and the Pacific Ocean, which translates to roughly tributaries streams. 25-50 pairs of adult steelhead returning to Because Snake River steelhead are listed as spawn the next generation in Deer Creek. “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act, “If I see a steelhead on my property, I will be the construction requirements for the culvert over the moon,” Thompson said. “I live 7.5-8 installation were very detailed and challenging. miles up the road. That’d be amazing.” The project called for open, arched culverts that The grant funds for the project came from were placed on top of concrete bases. The Deer Snake River Basin Adjudication funds and Creek Road Department also had to lay down Pacific Coast Salmon Recovery Funds via the specific types of rock for base layers and the top Idaho Governor’s Office of Species Conservalayer to make the culvert sections fish-friendly. tion. Rowan’s expertise and professional work “The specifications for the culverts are with all of the partners in the project ultimately designed to simulate the natural channel and made the project possible, along with the exform step pools, to make it easier for the fish cellent teamwork by the road districts and Deer to migrate upstream,” Ries said. “The culverts Creek neighbors, Randy Zumwalt, Katherine provide a clear, unobstructed opening at least Thompson and Tom Fliss. as wide as 1.5 times the active channel width.” “We’ve got a super-good bunch of folks It was positive for the Deer Creek Road who live up here, and we all get along great,” District to replace the culverts, Zumwalt said. Thompson said. “They were dang sure due to be replaced. They “This is a classic partnership project where were rusty and had lots of holes in them. It’ll be the Conservation Commission’s professional staff a good thing for the long-term integrity of the was pivotal to the success of whole project,” road,” he said. adds Slichter. “Eileen did a great job along with The Deer Creek Road District partnered with all of the other partners involved in the project. the White Bird Road District and Doumecq This is how our staff makes voluntary conservaRoad District from the Joseph Plains area to get tion projects shine in the state of Idaho.” the culvert-installation work completed. The – Steve Stuebner writes for Conservation project was engineered by Shawn Stubbers, city the Idaho Way on a regular basis.


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Aug. 1 enrollment deadline for Safety Net Coverage Farmers and ranchers with base acres in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) safety net program may enroll for the 2018 crop year through Aug. 1. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) stated that since shares and ownership of a farm can change year-to-year, producers must enroll by signing a contract each program year. Producers are encouraged to contact their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office to schedule an appointment to enroll.

The producers on a farm that are not enrolled for the 2018 enrollment period will not be eligible for financial assistance from the ARC or PLC programs for the 2018 crop should crop prices or farm revenues fall below the historical price or revenue benchmarks established by the program. Producers who made their elections in previous years must still enroll during the 2018 enrollment period. The ARC and PLC programs were authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and offer a safety net to

agricultural producers when there is a substantial drop in prices or revenues for covered commodities. Covered commodities include barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, medium grain rice (which includes short grain and sweet rice), safflower seed, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat. For more details regarding these programs, go to


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Researching supporting pollinators and agriculture International group recommends working with ecosystems to protect pollinators, improve crops


OSCOW — When agriculture helps pollinators, pollinators help agriculture, according to a research review published in March by an international group of experts, including a University of Idaho researcher. Anahí Espíndola, a postdoctoral fellow in the UI College of Science Department of Biological Sciences, Anikó Kovács-Hostyánszki of the MTA Centre for Ecological Research in Vácrátót, Hungary, and their colleagues analyzed more than 250 previous research studies and found that ecological intensification — a way of managing agricultural production by supporting processes already existing in the ecosystems — can help reduce pollinator decline while benefiting agricultural production. Their review paper was published in Ecology Letters. These findings are important globally, but are particularly in the Pacific Northwest, Espíndola said. Many of the region’s key crops rely on pollinators, especially tree fruit production along the Columbia River in Washington. Because the Pacific Northwest has a variety of ecosystems, it is home to many kinds of pollinators, including honey bees, wild bees and bumblebees; hummingbirds and other birds; butterflies and moths; beetles, and more. These pollinators contribute not only to crop pollination, but also to assuring the reproduction of plants that form ecosystems such as prairies or forests. “Pollinators provide a service that has been valued to several billion dollars. It’s a lot of money that would be not earned if we didn’t have pollinators,” Espíndola said. “It’s not just about honeybees, it’s about this huge group of organisms that connect and help support plants

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and full biological communities.” The team first reviewed research about how land use practices — such as plowing patterns, landscape transformation, planting large swaths of one crop, and herbicide or pesticide use — have led to declines in pollinator populations and species diversity. The researchers then examined ways those practices could be implemented in agricultural production to help pollinators, especially by improving access to nesting and food resources. For example, planting strips of flowers by fields and allowing some weeds to remain would attract pollinators and thus affect their abundance. Herbicide practices also could be adjusted to avoid spraying at times when pollinators are active. Because pollinators can travel across distances, the simultaneous use of these practices across a region can increase their positive effects. “Land-use change such as conversion of habitats to agriculture and conventional land-use intensification (i.e. monocultures managed by high chemical input) homogenizes landscape structure and quality and erodes floral and nesting resources, which undermines pollinator diversity and abundance, and also pollination services,” Kovács-Hostyánszki said. “Ecological intensification of agriculture is a strategic alternative to ameliorate these drivers.”  Supporting pollinators benefits the quality and quantity of crops, the researchers found: Pollination by multiple species can improve yield, and thoroughly pollinated flowers can produce better-quality fruit.  “Being able to maintain a certain diversity and a certain number of pollinators can directly

define yield,” Espíndola said. “This means the smart use of the services that are in the ecosystem helps us, too.” The studies the researchers analyzed showed that farmers who use ecological intensification actions may earn less in the first years, but would recover their investment back within a few years. One of the conditions for ecological intensification is that the agricultural system has to be sustainable and able to function with as little input as possible. The paper also includes a section on how governments and communities can support ecological intensification. Support activities might include incentives that aid farmers as they adjust their practices, coordinating actions regionally to obtain more benefits, or tailoring approaches to local cultures and knowledge. “You can use the knowledge that farmers have about the place they are to identify the actions that would be the most appropriate, and that would be the most easily applied in that region,” Espíndola said.

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Spring 2018

Program encourages farm, ranch ownership Underserved, beginning farmers benefitted from $52 million in FSA loans

Pacific Islanders. In order to qualify as a beginning farmer, the individual or entity must meet the eligibility requirements outlined for direct or guaranteed loans. Additionally, individuals and all entity members must have operated a farm for less than 10 years. Applicants must materially or substantially participate in the operation. For farm ownership purposes, the applicant must Producers are reminded the Idaho Farm not own a farm greater than 30 percent of the Service Agency (FSA) offers specially targeted average size farm in the county at the time of farm ownership and farm operating loans to application. All direct farm ownership appliunderserved applicants as well as beginning cants must have participated in the business farmers and ranchers. operations of a farm for at least three years Each year, a portion of FSA’s loan funds are out of the last 10 years prior to the date the set aside to lend to targeted underserved and application is submitted. If the applicant is an beginning farmers and ranchers. entity, all members must be related by blood During fiscal year 2017 (Oct. 1, 2016, or marriage and all entity members must be through Sept. 30, 2017), Idaho FSA obligated eligible beginning farmers. $52,050,943 in loans to underserved borrowers Underserved or beginning farmers and and beginning farmers and ranchers. ranchers who cannot obtain commercial credit USDA defines underserved applicants as a from a bank can apply for either FSA direct group whose members have been subjected to loans or guaranteed loans. Direct loans are racial, ethnic or gender prejudice because of made to applicants by FSA. Guaranteed loans their identity as members of the group without are made by lending institutions who arrange regard to their individual qualities. For farm for FSA to guarantee the loan. FSA can guaranloan program purposes, underserved groups are tee up to 95 percent of the loss of principal and women, African Americans, American Indians interest on a loan. The FSA guarantee allows and Alaskan Natives, Hispanics and Asians and lenders to make agricultural credit available to

producers who do not meet the lender’s normal underwriting criteria. The direct and guaranteed loan program offers two types of loans: farm ownership loans and farm operating loans. Farm ownership loan funds may be used to purchase or enlarge a farm or ranch, purchase easements or rights of way needed in the farm’s operation, build or improve buildings such as a dwelling or barn, promote soil and water conservation and development and pay closing costs. Farm operating loan funds may be used to purchase livestock, poultry, farm equipment, fertilizer and other materials necessary to operate a successful farm. Operating loan funds can also be used for family living expenses, refinancing debts under certain conditions, paying salaries for hired farm laborers, installing or improving water systems for home, livestock or irrigation use and other similar improvements. Repayment terms for direct operating loans depend on the collateral securing the loan and usually run from one to seven years. Financing for direct farm ownership loans cannot exceed 40 years. Interest rates for direct loans are set periodically according to the government’s cost of borrowing. Guaranteed loan terms and interest rates are set by the lender.

Port of Lewiston continues strong in FY2017 LEWISTON – The Port Commission, earlier this year, approved an “unmodified” (clean) June 30, 2017, year-end audit report as presented by Presnell Gage, PLLC. “Transparency and public trust are the foundation of the work we do at the Port of Lewiston,” said Commission Secretary/Treasurer Mary Hasenoehrl. “Through independent audits and proactive outreach and communication, the port works hard to maintain that trust.” According to the audit, current Port assets total $4.6 million. “The port ends fiscal year 2017 in a position of strength,” said Commission Vice President Jerry Klemm. “That is essential because we need to continue investing in projects that will benefit our community in the long term.” “Our accomplishments on broadband and industrial land leasing and development in FY 2017 will benefit residents and businesses for many years to come,” said Commission President Mike Thomason. “We will build on

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network will improve fiber redundancy, provide faster Internet service for businesses and allow more Internet service providers the opportunity to serve our community. The port completed construction for an additional suite in the business incubator building. This project will create space for a local start-up business. those accomplishments in FY 2018 by expandApproximately 2.0-acres in the Harry Wall ing our broadband network, making sure more Industrial Park were leased to Broemeling Steel industrial property is shovel-ready for industrial and Machine. This has allowed the company to growth, and improving rail facilities.” build a new facility and expand their operaFindings and projects highlighted in the FY17 tions. audit report include: While the Port’s Net Position continued to be The Port’s Change in Net Position (synonpositive, the port finished the fiscal year with an ymous with net income in the private sector) operating loss of $134,220, due principally to was a positive $478,620. Net position is the depreciation of $395,792, an expense that isn’t difference between assets over liability and an budgeted for in government accounting. indicator of the long-term financial health of Depreciation is a nonbudgeted, noncash the Port. operating expense for the port. The port phased construction of a dark fiber Port Operating Activities actually provided a optic network. Approximately 15 miles of positive $413,294 in cash in FY17. fiber optic line have been installed. The fiber

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$25 billion record for farm loans USDA extends credit to assist producers, help grow operations The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) recorded another year of high activity in its farm loan programs. Producers accessed nearly $6 billion in new credit, either directly or guaranteed through commercial lenders in 2017. At year end, FSA was assisting more than 120,000 family farmers with loans totaling just more than $25 billion. “FSA loan funds have been in high demand the last few years,” said Dr. Robert Johansson, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for the Farm Production and Conservation mission area. “We provide opportunities to qualified small, beginning and underserved farmers who are unable to obtain commercial credit, to help them get started, gain access to land and grow their operations. FSA provides direct and guaranteed farm ownership loans, operating loans and even direct Microloans up to $50,000 and EZ Guarantees up to $100,000 with streamlined application processes. More than 25,000 direct and guaranteed FSA loans went to beginning or underserved farmers and ranchers. More than 4,200 beginning farmers received direct farm ownership loans from FSA to make their first land purchase. And of the approximately 6,500 Microloans made in the last fiscal year, three-quarters (almost 4,900) went to beginning farmers, 1,000 went to women and 400 to veterans. Your FSA Farm Loan Compass booklet was recently developed specifi-

cally for farmers and ranchers who have an existing farm loan with FSA. It provides detailed guidance outlining borrower responsibilities and the servicing options that FSA offers. It also addresses common questions borrowers may have as they navigate loan program requirements. Originally published in 2012, Your Guide to FSA Farm Loans was designed for new loan customers. It provides information about the various types of farm loans available and guides new borrowers through the application process. The revised version addresses program changes and includes new loan offerings, like the popular Microloan program that was rolled out after the publication of the original Guide.

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Barley no longer afterthought in beer flavor CORVALLIS, Ore. – Barley has always played second fiddle to hops and yeast when it comes to flavoring beer. Now the grain is ready for its solo. In two studies published in the Journal of the American Society of Brewing Chemists, a research team led by Oregon State University found notable differences in the taste of beers malted from barley varieties reputed to have flavor qualities. Consumers aren’t going to see a barley-flavored brew anytime soon in their local pub or supermarket, but the findings are an important first step toward a potential new market for beer connoisseurs, said OSU barley breeder Pat Hayes. “We started this project with a question: Are there novel flavors in barley that carry through malting and brewing and into beer? This is a revolutionary idea in the brewing world. We found that the answer is yes,” Hayes said. “These positive beer flavor attributes provide new opportunities for brewers and expanded horizons for consumers.” In its malted form, barley is the principal source of fermentable sugars for most beers. But barley’s flavor contributions to beer are usually ascribed to the malting process rather than the grain itself. Barley World, Hayes’s research group at OSU, with financial support from the beer industry, began with two barley varieties reputed to have positive flavor attributes in beer: Golden Promise, developed and released in Great Britain and OSU’s own barley variety, Full Pint. They then crossbred the two varieties.

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That cross-breeding resulted in several hundred breeding lines of genetic seed stock, Hayes said. They grew the offspring in test plots in the western Oregon cities of Corvallis and Lebanon and the central Oregon city of Madras. But there was a logistical challenge in preparing that barley for brewing and sensory testing, Hayes said. OSU’s progeny of Golden Promise and Full Pint each yielded only about 200 grams of malt – not enough for a reasonable sample to produce large quantities of beer for a standard sensory panel. That’s when OSU teamed with Rahr Malting Co. in Minnesota, and New Glarus Brewing in Wisconsin. The companies had developed a “nano” brewing system that could produce a single bottle of beer from each unique malt. Dustin Herb, a graduate student in OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences, spent almost a year at Rahr Malting participating in the micro-malting, nano-brewing, and sensory processes. Out of that initial partnership, about 150 beers were prepared for sensory testing. Each panelist tasted each of the beers once and then rated it on a scale in its amount of difference compared to an industry standard control beer. The panelists found that beer brewed with Golden Promise scored significantly higher in fruity, floral and grassy flavors. Beer with Full Pint was significantly higher in malty, toffee and toasted flavors. “The progeny are showing all possible combinations of those traits,” Hayes said. “And, since we had been doing DNA fingerprinting on these progeny, we can assign certain regions of the

barley genome as being responsible for these flavors. We also found that there were some differences based on where the barley was grown, but the genetic effect was larger than the environment.” Based on the results of more Golden Promise-Full Pint progeny, finer structure genetic mapping of barley flavor genes is under way with Rahr Malting Co. The researchers are also working with Deschutes Brewery in Bend to brew more representative beers from three of the selected progeny. OSU is producing 100 pounds of malt of each of three selections, and of a control variety called Copeland, in its on-campus malt house. “All three have unique flavor attributes and are relatively easy to grow,” Hayes said. “They have outstanding malt profiles. Deschutes will brew the same beer twice for each of those three and compare that to the control. Those beers will be sent to other brewers who will conduct their own sensory panels.” In addition to Herb, OSU Barley Project members Tanya Filichkin, Scott Fisk and Laura Helgerson contributed to the research. Collaborators included scientists in England, Canada, Scotland, Spain and the United States. The project received funding from the following breweries: Bells, Deschutes, Firestone-Walker, New Glarus, Russian River, Sierra Nevada and Summit. The Brewers Association, an organization of small and independent craft brewers, also contributed financially. Mecca Grade Estate Malting and OreGro Seed hosted the field trials.

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Researchers advise smaller cows, better herd results CORVALLIS, Ore. – Ranchers running beef cattle on dry and dusty landscapes should consider smaller cows to get the best out of their herd. That’s the recommendation of a recent interdisciplinary study involving rangeland researchers in Oregon, Wyoming and Oklahoma. Breeding smaller cattle could be a long-term strategy that will help ranchers and ease pressure on an increasingly drought-prone range, said Leticia Henderson, a livestock and range extension agent at Oregon State University. The research team developed a statistical model that showed smaller cows have distinct advantages over larger ones in pastures where the cows don’t have much to chew on. The study is published in the journal Rangelands. It is meant to help cattle producers develop long-term strategies on cattle selection and natural resource management for areas in the United States that are expected to experience more frequent and severe droughts. Cattle ranchers have coped with drought by reducing the size of their herds or increasing their feed, but these methods are costly and don’t solve the problem in the long run, Henderson said

If the total herd size is larger – 100 head weighing 1,000 pounds vs. 78 head weighing 1,400 pounds – feed costs will be lower. Also, with all things being equal in a pasture with little to graze, a smaller cow can produce milk more quickly because it doesn’t expend as much energy to maintain its body size. “The perceived benefit of larger cows is that they will be able to produce larger calves,” Henderson said. “But the smallest cow size in our model was the most efficient at weaning. That’s based on a previous study by our group that found larger cows in nutrient-limited rangelands don’t always wean larger calves.” Grazed forage remains the least expensive source of nutrients to maintain the cow herd, Henderson said, so matching cow size and milk production potential to forage resources should help mitigate the effects of rangeland drought on the herd. The researchers assumed cows in limited-nutrient environments would eat 2.2 percent of their body weight daily over a 210-day weaning period. An ideal weaned calf should weigh about half as much as its mother, “so the likelihood of a 1,400-pound cow weaning a

700-pound calf on rangeland is highly unlikely in 210 days,” Henderson said. Recent studies suggest the ideal cow weighs between 1,000 and 1,200 pounds on land where grazing opportunities are scarce – yet the U.S. Department of Agriculture has determined that the average domestic cow size is nearly 1,400 pounds. The model developed by the researchers used cow sizes ranging from 1,000 pounds to 1,400 pounds. The increase in the average cow size is the result of a steady trend in selective breeding over the last few decades, and the researchers don’t expect herds of smaller cows in the next few years. They want their model to be considered by cattle ranchers over the long haul, she said. “This isn’t a short-term solution,” she said. “It took a long time to breed 1,400-pound cows. We’re not going to get down to 1,100-pound cows overnight, either.” The U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture funded the research. Derek Scasta, extension rangeland specialist at the University of Wyoming, led the study.

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