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SPORTS, B1

September 15, 2013

$1.25

Syria weapons deal averts U.S. military move for now

GROWING THE FUTURE

By JOHN HEILPRIN and MATTHEW LEE The Associated Press

GENEVA — A diplomatic breakthrough Saturday on securing and destroying Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile averted the threat of U.S. military action for the moment and could swing momentum toward ending a horrific civil war. Marathon negotiations between U.S. and Russian diplomats at a Geneva hotel produced a sweeping agreement that will require one of the most ambitious arms-control efforts in history. The deal involves making an inventory and seizing all components of Syria’s chemical weapons program and imposing penalties if President Bashar Assad’s government fails to comply will the terms.

Please see Syria, A7

Greg Kreller/IPT AP

Kerry Bouwens and about 100 other supporters of the recall election to oust Senate President John Morse say the Pledge of Allegiance before listening to speakers at a rally outside the Pioneer Museum in Colorado Springs, Colo., Sept. 4.

Colorado recall stifles gun control effort in Congress By ALAN FRAM The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Gun control advocates say the National Rifle Association-aided recall of two Colorado legislators who backed new gun restrictions will make it harder to revive stalled efforts in Congress to tighten firearm laws. Federal legislation expanding background check requirements for gun buyers fell five votes short in the Senate in April, despite political momentum from last December’s massacre at a Connecticut elementary school. Gun control backers say they have yet to win a single new Senate supporter, and many worry that the muscle shown by pro-gun groups and voters last week in Colorado will make it even harder to find converts. “The NRA does its job better than our side does our job,” said Jim Kessler, a co-founder of Third Way, which advocates for centrist Democratic policies. “They know how to influence and intimidate elected people.” Added Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn.: “The results of the recall were not good news.” As a House member last year, Murphy represented Newtown, where 20 first-graders and six school staffers were gunned down.

Kristie and Matt Dorsey are farmers in the Sunnyslope region. “A farmer’s not going to be able to preserve his way of life if he’s competing with development kind of money,” Matt said.

Farms play vital role in Canyon County

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hough its name began as a clever marketing gimmick, a quick survey of local geography will confirm this is, indeed, the “Treasure Valley.” A fertile oasis nestled amid the vast deserts and staggering peaks that claim so much of Idaho’s real estate. At the western edge of that Valley, acres of farmland remain a stalwart reminder of the inspiration behind our home’s idyllic name. Local farmers enjoy a wealth of resources available few other places in the world: a dry climate, good soil, adequate water supply and long summer days accompanied by cool nights. But as more people flock to southwest Idaho to take advantage of those riches, county planners and farmers alike grow increasingly concerned that suburban sprawl will edge out the area’s longstanding agricultural traditions. This summer, Idaho Press-Tribune reporters and photographers visited with farmers, elected officials, educators and economic developers to tell the story of farming in our community. As you read this series, we hope you’ll appreciate, as we do, the need to preserve our agricultural legacy for future generations. — Charlotte Wiemerslage, local editor

 Special report, A4-5

5-PART SERIES: GROWING THE FUTURE Sunday Reporter Mike Butts talks to local farmers, including County Commissioner Kathy Alder, about the continued loss of farmland in Canyon County. Monday Reporter Nick Groff spoke with the next generation of farmers, and the educators charged with schooling them in the industry’s latest innovations. Tuesday Reporter Torrie Cope breaks down the dollars and cents of the Treasure Valley’s multimillion dollar agriculture industry. Wednesday Reporter John Funk examines one of the County’s latest — and most enjoyable — business ventures: agritourism. Thursday Reporter Kelcie Moseley visits with a few of the area’s many hobby farmers, who harvest nature’s bounty in their own backyards.

Please see Recall, A6  Deaths Glenda Johnson Scott Stringfield

Margarett Taylor  Obituaries, A7

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LOCAL NEWS

Idaho Press-Tribune • Sunday, September 15, 2013

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Yesterday’s founders grew the future oday, we begin a  For more see A1, A4 and A5 five-day special report dedicated and plowed. Penciled scribbles to agriculture. in tiny worn notebooks were all When settlers the records growers used to track moved into the year-to-year progress. Canyon County Years later, men and women area, it was a mastered the science of agriculVICKIE sagebrush-covture — mostly by trial and error. HOLBROOK ered desert. But astute visionaries The tiny communities of Managing Editor determined that irrigation could turn Nampa and Caldwell provided the valley into what eventually bethe support the farmers needed came the seed capital of the world. and soon agriculture became the lifeblood of Little did they know they were growing Canyon County. The land available for plantthe future. The climate, soil fertility and am- ing — and mega subdivisions — was endless. ple water supply provided the perfect condiThe population explosion was good for lotions for farmers. They also have the ability cal business. But it also swallowed up prime to grow a diverse range of crops beyond the fertile soil. seeds that literally feed the world. Fortunately, today’s agronomists — colMore than 100 years ago, farmers faced lege-trained soil scientists — produce bounadversity: Land needed to be cleared of tiful crops on that shrinking acreage. And brush and rocks and virgin soil broken up electronically guided equipment provides

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technology and precision that yesterday’s farmers never even imagined. At the same time, hobby producers have found their place among those who farm hundreds and thousands of acres. And families who have invested years of sweat equity have and want to sell their “401K investments” and retire. Housing developers usually pay the best price for that precious farmland. But a storm is brewing. Agriculturalists have joined forces to protect the prime acreage. You might say they’ve drawn a line in the proverbial soil. The Idaho Press-Tribune will follow that story closely. It also prompted us to take a closer look at the changing influence of agriculture in Canyon County. We spent nearly two hours quizzing retired University of Idaho Extension Agent Darrel Bolz to better understand the importance of agriculture in the community.

Under the guidance of Local Editor Charlotte Wiemerslage, reporters spoke to local farmers who shared their stories and allowed photographers access to their operations so we could tell these stories. Multimedia Editor Greg Kreller and Design Editor Randy Lavorante provided the graphical presentation. We know there’s so much more to the world of local agriculture that we aren’t telling. We won’t even touch on the post-harvest industry that plays such a critical role in the local economy. But we hope this special five-day report will leave you appreciating and understanding the agricultural community just a little bit more. As always, we welcome your feedback and ideas for future stories. Feel free to send your comments to newsroom@idahopress.com or me at vholbrook@idahopress.com.

Indian Creek Festival main event decided by ‘photo finish’ Caldwell High’s Preston Jones loses race at line to Brian Ruehl By NICK GROFF ngroff@idahopress.com

© 2013 Idaho Press-Tribune

CALDWELL — Preston Jones had it wrapped up. The crown of the Indian Creek Festival cardboard kayak race was one paddle away. He’d led the championship heat down Indian Creek the entire way by a number of boat lengths. But then the current dragged his craft left and it hit a rock on the bank. His momentum slowed and Brian Ruehl floated by, snatching first place right out from underneath Jones’ vessel, The Black Dart. Jones, 15, and Ruehl — both two-time cardboard kayak race captains — were two of about 12 who participated Saturday in the event at the 11th annual Indian Creek Festival in downtown Caldwell. The festival, which draws thousands to the banks of Indian Creek each year, is a celebration of a revitalized Caldwell. Before the race was a tug-o-war across the creek, about 70 cars lined the streets for the car show and shine and children were invited to par-

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ADDITIONAL FESTIVAL ACTIVITIES People attending Saturday’s 11th annual Indian Creek Festival participated in a rubber duck race, farmers market, food vendors, artist exhibits, clowns, face painting, live music, Boy Scout rope bridge and balloon art. There was also a car cruise Friday evening.

Adam Eschbach/IPT

Above: Brian Ruelhl, Caldwell, kayaks down Indian Creek during the second heat of the cardboard kayak races Saturday at the Indian Creek Festival in Caldwell. Ruehl won first place. Left: Alyssa Hunter, 5, Caldwell, walks a rope bridge across Indian Creek.

ticipate in free crafts during the festival. Saturday’s festivities began with a Caldwell Fire Department Pancake Breakfast and a Kiwanis 5k or 10k run. In the kayak race, Ofhani

Mandiwana and his team, ISO Yotes (International Student Organization at The College of Idaho), didn’t have quite the same luck as Jones and Ruehl. The boat rocked a little too much, took on some water and collapsed early. It’s back to the drawing board, the team said, and joked that maybe it’s time for a new engineer. “We’ll be back next year. We’ll use more tape,” Mandiwana, who is originally from South Africa, said.

Evelyn Jameson, 3, Caldwell, paints a little tiger purple at the Indian Creek Festival Saturday in Caldwell.


A4

SPECIAL REPORT

Idaho Press-Tribune • Sunday, September 15, 2013

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CAN GROWTH, AG STRIKE BALANCE? Advocates say loss of farmland has impact on all residents By MIKE BUTTS | mbutts@idahopress.com | © 2013 Idaho Press-Tribune

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ike a lot of things, it all comes down to economics. Residential and commercial developers want to make money, and so do farmers. When push comes to shove, it’s often the developers who win out, simply because they offer farmers more for their land than other agricultural interests can. The result? Decreasing farmland in Canyon County. And because farmland drives the local economy more than any other resource, agricultural industry advocates say that’s a big problem for virtually every resident of the county. “A farmer’s not going to be able to preserve his way of life if he’s competing with development kind of money,” Sunnyslope farmer Matt Dorsey said. Since the mid-1990s, Canyon County has lost approximately 25 percent of its range and farm lands to largely residential development, according to the AG GROUP SUES COUNTY Coalition for Agriculture’s The Coalition for Agriculture’s Future, a farmland presFuture filed a complaint in 3rd ervation advocacy group District Court Aug. 12 that states comprised of agriculture the county’s 2020 Comprehensive companies. Plan, which serves as a guide for Advocates for farmland county land use, uses a future land preservation criticize local use map with no official connecofficials for approving developments on agricultural tion to the plan, thereby making land, especially during a it invalid. The result, the lawsuit argues, is residential development boom before the economic a failure by the county to protect downturn. agricultural land and promote Ironically the recession agricultural uses as stated in the may have acted to save Comprehensive Plan. much of the county’s valuThe lawsuit argues the Compre- able farmland. hensive Plan, which is required by “Right now we would state law, is in violation of the law still be making the same and should not have been used to mistakes we made in the make land-use decisions involving last 10 years, 15 years if the agriculture. The county’s 2020 economy would not have Comprehensive Plan was adopted crashed,” Caldwell-area farmer Sid Freeman said. May 31, 2011. But even after the crash, The lawsuit is still pending. Canyon County continues to grow, and the need for more housing and other development can clash with the need for the prime farmland. Kathy Alder’s family farm in Melba grows seed corn, seed beans, alfalfa, wheat and barley. Alder also serves as a Canyon County commissioner, which puts her at the tip of the spear in many of the battles over what land should be preserved for agriculture and what land should be used for development. The county commissioners decide how land is developed in Canyon County. Alder recognizes the conflicts over land use have slowed with the recession. But she wants to make sure if development soars again, the county has a specific plan in place on how to move forward. “If things change and you have a boom and people can make this ridiculous amount of money (with development), then you have to have a program and it has to be put in effect before that time gets here,” Alder said. “It’s got to be the people coming together and saying, ‘This is what we really want to see.’ ” Alder said she certainly would not want to see any government owned farmland for preservation, like Boise has done with its foothills. But

“A farmer’s not going to be able to preserve his way of life if he’s competing with development kind of money.” MATT DORSEY, Sunnyslope farmer

Photos by Greg Kreller/IPT

Wyatt Dorsey, 14, uses a tractor to lift his father Matt Dorsey and siblings DeLaynie, 12, and Weston, 12, to the top of a hay bail as the family does chores together at their Sunnyslope farm. there are other possible solutions, such as having a public trust that would make up the difference between the sale of farmland to use for development and the sale of farmland to keep as agriculture, she said. To better the plan land uses, the county passed an amendment in 2011 blocking the use of conditional use

permits in agricultural zoning districts for residential development. The change came in reaction to agricultural interests not happy with the granting of conditional use permits for development on dwindling farmland.

Please see Balance, A5

SHRINKING FARM LAND In 1975 Idaho had 26,900 farms encompassing 15.6 million acres of land, equal to approximately 30 percent of the state’s total land area. By 1987, just 12 years later, 2,758 farms had disappeared and land used for farming had declined by 1.7 million acres. Here’s a look at the decline over the 29 years between 1978 and 2007. The figures, provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, also include the economic sales value in today’s dollars of crops produced on those acres.

By 2007 only 21.7 percent of Idaho’s lands were being used for agriculture, a decline of more than 8 percent since 1975. That decline represents a loss of some 4.1 million acres of agricultural land in just three decades. Using 2007 figures, the missing 4.1 million acres resulted in the loss of $2 billion in additional agricultural revenue. According to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Canyon County lost 25 percent of its agricultural acreage to development and Ada County lost 7 percent in just the five years from 1997 to 2002.

14.7M acres — $1.63B

13.9M acres — $2.27B

13.5M acres — $2.96B

12.1M acres — $3.39B

11.8M acres — $3.91B

11.5M acres— $5.69B

SOURCE: Coalition for Agriculture’s Future

1978

1987

1992

1997

2002

2007

VALUE OF AG LAND Quality farmland in Canyon County is in demand and is selling at historically high prices, John Starr of Colliers International Land Services Group told the Idaho Press-Tribune this year. Quality farm ground is selling for about $4,500 to $6,000 per acre in the county, he said. “There’s a lot of demand to buy farm ground (in Canyon County) because farming and agricultural production are seen as a growth industry worldwide,” he said. This is a shift from before the economic downturn when developers were snapping up land to build housing, he said. Not all of that property was built on though. Starr said more than 90 percent of the land that went undeveloped and that didn’t have infrastructure put in place, such as roads and sidewalks, returned to the hands of farmers.

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idahopress.com

SPECIAL REPORT

Idaho Press-Tribune • Sunday, September 15, 2013

PROGRAM BRINGS AGRICULTURE TO STUDENTS Organization teaches kids all aspects of ‘food and fiber’ By MIKE BUTTS | mbutts@idahopress.com | © 2013 Idaho Press-Tribune

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s many urban Idaho students become more insulated from agriculture, they lose touch with an industry that has shaped the state for more than a century. The Idaho Agriculture in the Classroom Program has sought to fill the gap between kids’ fleeting knowledge of where their “food and fiber” comes from and the complex world of ag. Since 1986, the program has reached students by teaching teachers the ins and outs of agriculture. The result is not only a better understanding of how what students eat is produced, but better nutrition decisions, Idaho Agriculture in the Classroom Executive Director Rick Waitley said. “We think we’re making some trend changes in the next generation of young people in what they’re going to eat,” Waitley said. Waitley is a private consultant and lobbyist and serves as president of Association Management Group. The idea is that when students know more about how local food is grown, they are more likely to influence their families to seek it out in the grocery store. They are also more likely to choose produce over processed food and more likely to try a wider variety of fruits and vegetables. Ag in the Classroom started in 1986 when then U.S., Secretary of Agriculture John Block noticed students lack of understanding on the subject. Now the education program is in all 50 states. Waitley of Meridian also serves as the executive director of the National Agriculture in the Classroom Association. The program offers college credit classes for educators to learn all phases of agriculture business and production. Northwest Nazarene University, the University of Idaho and Boise State University sponsor the classes. “We do not teach students,” Waitley said. “We teach teachers to teach students where food and fiber comes from.” Students get comprehensive instruction on the topic, including lessons on new developments in technology and the wide variety of careers in agriculture. The program’s agriculture curriculum is integrated into other academic subjects.

Continued from A4 “I didn’t like the conditional use permit because it wasn’t calling it what it was,” Alder said. “They were becoming literally rezones when you started putting residential in the middle of ag.” The loss of farmland goes beyond just the interests of the agricultural industry, farmland preservation advocates say. It can have a negative impact on the economy for the entire county and its residents. Not only does agriculture bring outside money to Canyon County, which trickles down into local economies, advocates say. It also pays the taxes that pay for county services. Agricultural property pays more in taxes than it receives in county services, according to the Coalition for Agriculture’s Future. Residential property, the Coalition reports, cost more in county services than it pays in taxes. “If that’s the industry that’s paying the bones to the county to keep them in operation, you may want to look at that and give it the protection it needs,” Freeman said. Those like Freeman stress they are not opposed to residential and urban expansion. What they want is expansion that recognizes what is the county’s most important natural resource. “I’m no means anti-growth,” Freeman said. “I’m just very much in favor of growth in the smartest manner possible.”

n Idaho is known for its seed industry, producing 80 to 85 percent of the sweet corn seed produced in the world. It’s also a leading supplier for alfalfa, field and garden beans; Kentucky Bluegrass seed; and carrot, onion, turnip and lettuce seeds. n Idaho is ranked in the top 10 in the nation for 26 different crops and livestock. n Idaho grows 70 percent of the hybrid temperate sweet corn seed produced in the world. n Idaho ranks first nationally for potato production with 29 percent of the U.S. total. n Idaho ranks third in the nation for milk production. n Idaho ranks first in the nation for production of food-sized trout with 72 percent n For alfalfa hay, hops, sugar beets, mint, and fresh prunes and plums, Idaho is No. 3 in production for the nation.

Source: agclassroom.org

TEST YOUR AG KNOWLEDGE

1. What percentage of the U.S. total of potato production does Idaho have? A. 15 B. 22 C. 29 D. 44 2. How many farms did Idaho lose between 1975 and 1987? A. 100 B. 892 C. 1,432 D. 2,758 3. How much agriculture land was lost in Idaho between 1975 and 2007? A. 1.1 million acres B. 2.4 million acres C. 4.1 million acres D. 6 million acres (Answers to the right)

BY THE NUMBERS

1,275: Total number of Canyon County farms 169,862: Harvestable acres 133: Number harvestable acres for an average size farm $2,109,510: Economic contribution of average size farm

in base sales with $450,000 in base wages, and 13.73 in base jobs

TAX LOSS TO TAXPAYERS The conversion of agricultural lands to residential lands results in an overall tax loss to taxpayers. For every $1 a county collects in revenues from agriculture land, it must provide only $0.62 in county services, which is a profit of $0.38 to the county. However, for residential properties, a county must provide $1.42 in services for every $1 of all revenues collected, which is a loss to taxpayers of $0.43.

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IDAHO AG IN CLASSROOM FACTS

Answers: 1. 29 2. 2,758 3. 4.1 million

Balance

Submitted photo

The Idaho Agriculture in the Classroom Program gives teachers the opportunity to learn first hand about the state’s signature industry.

Above: Matt Dorsey and his son Weston, 12, load their horses in a trailer at their Sunnyslope farm. Right: DeLaynie Dorsey, 12, prepares to load horses into a trailer. Photos by Greg Kreller/IPT

I’m no means anti-growth. I’m just very much in favor of growth in the smartest manner possible.” SID FREEMAN, Caldwell-area farmer

A5


BULLDOGS A BIG CHALLENGE

BOISE PHIL OPENS WITH BOLERO

Broncos to face first ranked team since 2012 season opener Friday at Fresno State SPORTS, B1

Pianist Spencer Myer will play at concerts in Nampa, Boise this weekend COMMUNITY, C1

SPENCER MYER ~ PIANO Barber, Symphony No. 1 ~ Ravel, Piano Concerto for the Left Hand ~ Ravel, Piano Concerto in G

boise philharmonic .org

Monday, September 16, 2013

Lawmakers debate if U.S. was outwitted on Syria deal

FROM HORSE-DRAWN TO SATELLITE-GUIDED

White House, Russia forged agreement to set timeline for elimination of chemical weapons By LIBBY QUAID The Associated Press

75 cents

ROBERT FRANZ, FRANZ, Music Director

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers assessing the agreement on Syria’s chemical weapons argued Sunday about whether President Barack Obama was outfoxed by the Russians and had lost leverage in trying to end the civil war, or whether his threat of military action propelled the breakthrough. Obama said the SEN. BOB CORKER turn to diplomacy had Top Republican on the Senate laid “a foundation” to- Foreign Relations Committee ward political settlement of the conflict. The deal announced Saturday in Geneva by U.S. and Russian diplomats sets an ambitious timetable for elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons by mid-2014, with rapid deadlines including complete inventory of its chemical arsenal within a week and immediate access by international inspectors to chemical weapons sites. The agreement came in response to an Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack near Damascus, the capital, that the U.S. believes was carried out by the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

So in many ways, our credibility in the region ... is very much driven by Russia, which has its hands firmly on the steering wheel.“

Please see Syria, A7

KID YOU SHOULD KNOW

Vallivue senior’s goal is to get only As Jordan Hadden successful in baseball, band By IDAHO PRESS-TRIBUNE STAFF newsroom@idahopress.com

Jordan Hadden isn’t yet sure where he’ll attend college, or what he’ll study, but so far, he’s done a good job of opening doors for his future. The Vallivue High School senior boasts a 3.97 GPA and set a goal for this year to earn only As and graduate in the top 20 of his class. Hadden has been in band all four years of high school, is a member of the Advanced Men’s Choir, is a baseball player and is a member of National Honor Society and TRI-M Honor Society. In addition, Hadden was named the drum major for his marching band, which he calls his biggest accomplishment in high school so far. The 17-year-old said he enjoys music, computer games and is “just another hardworking kid.” What is your favorite high school memory? “Hanging out with my friends on out of state band trips.”

Please see Kid, A7

Photos by Adam Eschbach/IPT

Above: Marsing farmer Jim Briggs steps down from a combine harvester. Below: Briggs holds an alfalfa flower from one of several different seed crops on his farm.

Farming evolves, adds tech for increased yields

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obert Briggs grew up in the 1930s watching his father sow Nampa soil with horse-drawn equipment. Tractors had been invented, of course, but the Briggs didn’t have one. After plowing finished, using a one-bottom plow, Robert’s son Jim Briggs said, the horses pulled a harrow, a disc and so on. Jim now farms 500 acres in Marsing with his dad, Robert, 80, and his son, Garret, 16. When Robert went to college in the 1950s to get an agricultural sciences degree at the University of Idaho, his dad bought a 30-horsepower tractor. “Having a true tractor, that was big for them in their day,” Jim said. When Jim went to college, also at U of I, computerized tractors became mainstream. Now his son Garret, the fifth generation of Briggs, farms with the family in tractors retro-fitted with Global Positioning Systems. Garret also plans to attend U of I to study agricultural science. He said it isn’t necessary, but it will make the job easier and more efficient. The farm technology that universities now teach students to use, U of I associate professor Dev Shrestha said, gives agriculture a “cool” factor. It’s no longer viewed as low-tech — an advancement that appeals to Garret’s generation — but technology also reduces a farm’s input and increases output. “They don’t want to be viewed as Farmer Joe,” Shrestha said. “They want to be viewed as someone who uses cool technology.” Shrestha estimates that agriculture is only about 10 years away from the widespread use of unmanned aerial vehicles for crop surveillance and spot treatment. Inside, reporter Nick Groff talks to industry experts about the shift in farming technology.

5-PART SERIES: GROWING THE FUTURE Sunday Reporter Mike Butts talks to local farmers, including County Commissioner Kathy Alder, about the continued loss of farmland in Canyon County. Monday Reporter Nick Groff spoke with the next generation of farmers, and the educators charged with schooling them in the industry’s latest innovations. Tuesday Reporter Torrie Cope breaks down the dollars and cents of the Treasure Valley’s multimillion dollar agriculture industry. Wednesday Reporter John Funk examines one of the County’s latest — and most enjoyable — business ventures: agritourism. Thursday Reporter Kelcie Moseley visits with a few of the area’s many hobby farmers, who harvest nature’s bounty in their own backyards.

 Special report, A3-4

Jordan Hadden  Deaths Deborah Garrett Glenda Johnson

Bill Hamilton Jr. Lynn Kilmer  Obituaries, A5

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SPECIAL REPORT

Idaho Press-Tribune • Monday, September 16, 2013

A3

‘HIGH-TECH’ GROWS INTO FARM WORLD Farmers see return on expensive investments By NICK GROFF | ngroff@idahopress.com | © 2013 Idaho Press-Tribune

hile it’s possible to do without one, 16-year-old Garret Briggs said he plans to get a college degree before returning to the family farm in Marsing. But it’s not because he doesn’t know how to farm. The Marsing High School junior is the fifth generation of Briggs Farms Incorporated. As with most industries, technological advancements play a role in farming, now more than ever. To stay at the forefront of that movement and improve the 500-acre farm’s bottom line, Garret plans to enroll at the University of Idaho to pursue an agricultural science degree. Like his father, Jim Briggs, Garret will learn the science of farming. But now, Garret and his classmates will also learn how to reduce environmental impact and apply techniques of precision agriculture — improving the bottom line with near-perfect data collection and resource management. A component to that degree is precision agriculture, Dev Shrestha, associate professor of agricultural sciences at U of I said. It’s a junior-level class, but is required for many degrees in the department. “It’s a management strategy where we use … new technologies to have a better decision on input, better crop activity and reduce the environmental impact.” Shrestha said a field may look uniform at a glance, but if examined closely — even within a single acre — there can be a significant amount of variability. Factors like elevation, slope, moisture content, nitrogen content and restricted pest populations make it necessary for a farmer to alter his technique. Precision ag techniques — such as Geographic Information Systems and Global Positioning Systems — allow a farmer to distrib- DEV SHRESTHA ute resources like water, fertilizer Associate professor of agricultural and pesticides accordingly. sciences at University of Idaho “It improves the price point and also the quality that’s produced,” Shrestha said. “You’re able to get better crop quality because the crop is going to be more uniform.” The trend started in the 1990s, he said, but widespread use hit in 2007 — GPS units became much more accurate around that time. Some new tractors are built with GPS units in them, but retro-fitting is popular among farmers who can’t financially, or just don’t want to, buy a brand new tractor. Farmers use a smaller, hand-held device to physically scout the fields and document a specific issue. Another more-reliable GPS unit in the tractor’s cab relays information about the problem for the farmer to address. Recording data year after year is key to precision ag, Shrestha said. Recording the variances that produce a certain yield are all entered into the GIS program, which manages the records.

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Back then farming was go and set a (siphon) tube. Now it’s (college) to be a more efficient farmer — learn about your technologies, your sciences, fertilizers, what chemical goes with what.”

GARRET BRIGGS, 16 Fifth generation farmer of Briggs Farms Incorporated

They don’t want to be viewed as Farmer Joe. They want to be viewed as someone who uses cool technology.”

Adam Eschbach/IPT

Top: Garret Briggs, 16, Marsing, stands in a field of alfalfa, a major crop his family grows on their farm. Below: Briggs discs a field in preparation for planting turnip seed for next year.

CROP YIELD IMPROVEMENT Higher crop yields in Idaho can be attributed to a few factors, though it’s hard to specify, industry experts say. Precision agriculture and plant breeding for specific traits can increase yields with fewer resources. In addition, the trend is that some crop yields have increased over nine years documented in the study listed below, while acres harvested has decreased.  Hay and sugarbeets on A4 SOURCE: 2012 Idaho Agricultural Statistics, compiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service Idaho Field Office.

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Please see Tech, A4

120,000 acres harvested for grain

CORN 45,000 acres harvested for grain 2002

POTATOES

373,000 acres harvested

2002

2011

319,000 acres harvested

2011

185 bushels per acre 155 bushels per acre

2002

358 Cwt per acre 2002

From 2002 to 2011, only 2003 saw a decline in yield per acre. All other years saw an increase or remained steadfast from the previous year.

2011 398 Cwt per acre

2011

Potato yields fluctuated in a spike up and down mode over the nine-year span, ending up 40 Cwt since 2002. It spiked at 415 Cwt in 2009. (1 Cwt=100 pounds)


A4

SPECIAL REPORT

Idaho Press-Tribune • Monday, September 16, 2013

idahopress.com

IPT file photo

Tech Continued from A3 “It’s an all-year-round process. Every time a farmer does something, it gets recorded,” Shrestha said. Jim Briggs, 49, retro-fitted most of his farm’s tractors last fall with GPS systems. Jim, Garret and Garret’s grandfather Robert Briggs farm mainly seed crops like alfalfa, clover, turnip, grass and wheat. Jim said it can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $20,000 to implement a system. Jim found a balance by purchasing a middle-of-the-road system. But he’s not necessarily concerned about the cost of the technology. “I figure in three years, it will pay for itself,” he said. “I started with a sprayer unit five years ago. … (I) started realizing the full potential and last year put in a fully automated system.” According to Shrestha, precision ag techniques can bring an additional $5 or $6 per acre depending on the commodity. In addition, detailed record keeping adds value to the property. If a farm is purchased with records of what does and does not work, the new owner doesn’t have to spend time perfecting techniques. Photos by Adam Eschbach/IPT The Briggs’ system is accurate to a half-inch. But Above: A GPS unit for a tractor can dig a corrugate to within a half inch of precision. The units perfectly straight planting rows and precise amounts of fertilizer aren’t the only benefits. are interchangeable between tractors. Below: Briggs holds a handful of alfalfa seeds, one of “Once you get the tractor lined up, you can turn several seed crops on his family’s farm. around and watch your equipment,” Jim said. “Maybe you have a shovel ing well, but missing a disease resisTEST YOUR AG KNOWLEDGE too deep, covering up plants, where tance you need to get,” Freeman said. 1. What does GIS stand for? before you had to pay attention A breeder may find the desired trait strictly in front of you. I’m sure my A. Global Information System in a different carrot that looks ugly. heart pressure is a little lower, too.” B. Geo-caching Internet Site Taking the disease resistant carrot Because Garret is helping his C. Geographic Information System and breeding it with a visibly desirfather make those straight rows 2. How much less water can be able carrot produces a more perfect already, he knows he doesn’t need carrot, he said. used when using drip irrigation? to go to college to be a successful Nunhems regional crop manager A. About 20-30 percent farmer. His dad said the same thing, John Ihli said the goal is to advance B. About 50-70 percent but they both believe it makes the ag, not only in the local area, but C. Less than 5 percent business of farming “a whole lot globally. The ultimate goal of Nun3. When did the use of GPS easier.” hems’ work, he said, is higher yields. become widespread in farming? Jim’s crop sciences degree taught A. 1997 him about insects, diseases, soils DRIP IRRIGATION, WATER CONSERVATION B. 2000 and chemicals. Now Garret will Like plant breeding, drip irrigaC. 2007 learn the same “science,” and also tion isn’t new technology, but in the the technology used along with it. (Answers to the right) Treasure Valley, its implementation “Back then farming was go and has been slow moving. set a (siphon) tube,” Garret said. Jerry Neufeld, Canyon County extension educator “Now it’s (college) to be a more efficient farmer — with the University of Idaho Agricultural Extension, learn about your technologies, your sciences, fertilsaid part of the problem locally is gophers. izers, what chemical goes with what. You don’t have Drip systems are buried in the root bed and release to go to school, but you’re going to struggle in the small amounts of water frequently, lessening loss to science and technology of farming.” evaporation — anywhere from 20-30 percent or more, PLANT BREEDING NOT NEW, BUT INCREASES YIELD Neufeld said. But because gophers like to eat alfalfa seed and hay, drip irrigation might not be the greatest The art and science, as Nunhems option for the crop. plant breeder Roger Freeman puts it, “(Gophers) go from point A to point B, digging a of plant breeding is not new technoltunnel, but if that (drip line) is in the way, you’ll have ogy. It’s been around for centuries, but DEV SHRESTHA a bunch of leaks in the spring,” Neufeld said. “Any breeders and geneticists are constantly Associate professor of agricultural perennial crop where gophers are a problem, you run trying to create exactly what the marsciences at University of Idaho that risk.” ket demands. Onions, for example, don’t have the same problem. Breeding combines the most ideal Roger Freeman The drip line is taken up each year and installed again traits of a specific fruit, for example, Nunhems in the spring about the same time as planting. In that and crosses them together. plant breeder “Maybe there’s a carrot that’s worksituation, the cost is often worth the outcome.

Answers: 1. C, 2. A, 3. C

(Precision agriculture is) a management strategy where we use … new technologies to have a better decision on input, better crop activity and reduce the environmental impact.”

CROP YIELD IMPROVEMENT

HAY (ALL)

149,000 acres harvested

135,000 acres harvested

 Corn and potatoes on A3 SOURCE: 2012 Idaho Agricultural Statistics, compiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service Idaho Field Office.

2002

SUGARBEETS

2011 210,000 acres harvested

2002

3.55 tons per acre

2002

176,000 acres harvested

2011

Hay yield in the Gem State fluctuates from year to year, but is up overall since 2011. The average market price in dollars per ton has more than doubled in almost 10 years.

3.76 tons per acre

2011

24.3 tons per acre

2002

34.4 tons per acre

Sugarbeet yields show a more see-saw pattern in the time frame, but end up at almost 10 tons per acre higher yield from 2002 to 2011.

2011

IPT file photo

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MILK CAN ON THE LINE FOR BOISE STATE AGAINST FRESNO STATE Broncos have held onto the rivalry trophy — with seven straight victories over the Bulldogs — since its debut in 2006 SPORTS, B1

75 cents

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

13 people killed in attack  Another man accused of tossing firecrackers at White House, A5  Idaho man accused of shooting at White House in 2011 eyes plea deal, A5

D.C. shooting suspect was Navy reservist By BRETT ZONGKER, ERIC TUCKER and LOLITA C. BALDOR The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A former Navy reservist went on a shooting rampage Monday inside a building at the heavily secured Washington Navy Yard, firing from a balcony onto office workers in an atrium below, authorities and witnesses said. Thirteen people were killed, including the gunman. Authorities said they were looking for a possible second attacker who may have been disguised in an olive-drab military-

A small group holds a candle light vigil on Freedom Plaza to remember the victims of the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, Monday in Washington, D.C.

style uniform. was no indication it was a terrorist attack, but he addBut as the day wore on ed that the possibility had and night fell, the ramnot been ruled out. page increasingly apIt was the deadliest peared to be the work of a shooting rampage at a lone gunman. U.S.-based military inInvestigators said they had not established a mo- Aaron Alexis stallation since Maj. Nitive for the attack, which Deceased shooting dal Hasan killed 13 people and wounded more suspect unfolded about 8:20 a.m. than 30 others in 2009 in the heart of the nation’s capiat Fort Hood in Texas. He was tal, less than four miles from the convicted last month and senWhite House and two miles from tenced to death. the Capitol. Mayor Vincent Gray said there Please see Shooting, A5

Judge: CCA didn’t staff prison well enough

AP

2012 RECORD YEAR FOR IDAHO AG

Company declared in contempt of court in lawsuit involving Idaho Correctional Center By REBECCA BOONE The Associated Press

BOISE — A federal judge says private prison company Corrections Corporation of America is in contempt of court for persistently understaffing an Idaho prison in direct violation of a legal settlement. U.S. District Judge David Carter made the ruling Monday in a lawsuit between inmates at the CCArun Idaho Correctional Center and the Nashville, Tenn.-based company. Carter wrote that CCA had ample reason to make sure it was meeting the staffing requirements at the prison, yet the level of understaffing was apparently far worse than the company originally acknowledged. He is appointing an independent monitor to oversee staffing at the prison, and says steep fines — starting at $100 an hour — will incur if the company violates the agreement again. The judge rejected CCA’s contention that the former warden and other company officials didn’t know about the understaffing.

Please see Prison, A5

For CCA staff to lie on so basic a point — whether an officer is actually at a post — leaves the Court with serious concerns about compliance in other respects, such as whether every violent incident is reported.”

Adam Eschbach/IPT

Steve Luttrell, with quality and research at Summit Seed Coatings, pours a finished product of birdsfoot trefoil seed coated with calcium carbonate onto a drier at the company’s research and development area Thursday in Caldwell.

Demand up for skilled workers in agribusiness

I

daho’s agriculture industry had another record setting year in 2012, the third in a row for the state. The projected total of cash receipts from sales of crop and livestock last year was $7.72 billion, a 5 percent increase over 2011, according to a 2012 University of Idaho report. Agribusiness is Idaho’s largest industry, based on sales, and the state’s second largest industry based on jobs. In Canyon County, 23 percent of all jobs are in agribusiness, according to the county. Science and technology have made farming more efficient and changed some of the job requirements for working on the farm. Farms and food processors still need laborers, but they also need highly-skilled workers to operate the more sophisticated technology and scientists to help ensure things go smoothly. Reporter Torrie Cope spoke with economists about some of the economic impact of agriculture and where the jobs are.

 Special report, A3

5-PART SERIES: GROWING THE FUTURE Sunday Reporter Mike Butts talks to local farmers, including County Commissioner Kathy Alder, about the continued loss of farmland in Canyon County. Monday Reporter Nick Groff spoke with the next generation of farmers, and the educators charged with schooling them in the industry’s latest innovations. Tuesday Reporter Torrie Cope breaks down the dollars and cents of the Treasure Valley’s multimillion dollar agriculture industry. Wednesday Reporter John Funk examines one of the County’s latest — and most enjoyable — business ventures: agritourism. Thursday Reporter Kelcie Moseley visits with a few of the area’s many hobby farmers, who harvest nature’s bounty in their own backyards.

DAVID CARTER U.S. district judge  Deaths Mary Akins Martina Canfield

Donald Chandler Daniel Gilbert Sally Hardy

Roy Herman Richard Poling Jesus Rodriguez

 Obituaries, A6 Connie Underhill Freddie Underwood Ben Weatherby Jr.

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idahopress.com

SPECIAL REPORT

A3

Idaho Press-Tribune • Tuesday, September 17, 2013

HIGHLY-SKILLED WORKERS VITAL FOR FARMS Farmers can’t afford to make mistakes By TORRIE COPE | tcope@idahopress.com | © 2013 Idaho Press-Tribune

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he number of jobs in agriculture has been static or gone down recently, because of the increase in efficiency on the farm and in food processing, Garth Taylor, agricultural economist at the University of Idaho, said. When one company hires workers, another lays off more, so the net gains aren’t there, he said. But the demand for highly-skilled workers is growing. “The farms are getting bigger and can handle more acreage and less people, because of the replacement of labor with technology,” he said. “In order to have that technology run right, you have to have highly-skilled people.” Good jobs are out there for agriculture students at the university once they graduate, Taylor said. Large farms are looking for agronomists for example, a job with a good starting salary, he said. Agronomists help with key decisions on things like pest control and irrigation. “Farmers cannot afford to make a mistake, so they hire people to come out and be an agronomist for those farms,” he said. “... One farmer told me all you have to do is make one mistake on one pivot and you’ve paid for their salary.” Food processors are also looking STU BARCLAY for skilled workers, he said, such as people who know how to operate President of Summit and maintain an electric sorting Seed Coatings machine.

Seed treatment is the fastest growing segment in agriculture.”

Adam Eschbach/IPT

A Summit Seed Coatings employee compares a finished birdsfoot trefoil seed coated with calcium carbonate, left and the raw birdsfoot trefoil seed, right.

Top Air, which manufactures garlic and onion harvesters in Parma, moved into a new facility in January that’s 2.5 times bigger than its previous one. Valley Agronomics opened a new fertilizer plant in AGRIBUSINESS IN CANYON COUNTY Greenleaf in June and Lansing Trade Group recently opened a new grain facility in between the two Some of Canyon County’s largest employers are in agribusiness, including Amalgamated Sugar Com- towns, Wilson said. Those businesses have invested millions of dolpany, J.R. Simplot Company and Sorrento Lactalis. Agribusiness makes up 23 percent of all jobs in Can- lars on new facilities or expansions, Wilson said, and contribute to the tax base that counties and cities yon County, according to the county. draw on for improvements. The market value of crop and livestock sales was Wilson said when looking to attract new business more than $420 million for the county in 2007, acto the area, its important to find businesses that cording to the 2007 Census of Agriculture. make good partners for the county’s communities. Because much of what is grown in the county is Agriculture and manufacturing businesses often pay also processed here, that keeps jobs and the ecoliving wages, which is a good thing, she said, and the nomic impact in the county, Taylor said. The county has also seen new agribusiness come county has training programs through colleges and the Department of Labor to keep a stable workforce to town and existing ones expand recently. ready. “Agriculture definitely has an impact on the “We want to bolster what’s already there and if we economic stability in Canyon County,” Tina Wilson can bring a new manufacturing company and add executive director of the Western Alliance for Economic Development, said. some jobs that’s a good thing,” she said.

LOCAL SEED COATING COMPANY SEES GROWTH

CANYON COUNTY AGRIBUSINESS 23 percent of all jobs in the county

Summit Seed Coat32 percent of base sales ings, a custom and 84 percent of Canyon County’s land is organic seed coating in agricultural use company in Caldwell, 3,718 cropland and irrigated farms already surpassed the 35,000 milk cows total business it did 115,000 beef cows and calves last year and is growSOURCE: Canyon County ing to meet demand, president Stu Barclay said. “Seed treatment is the fastest growing segment in agriculture,” he said. The company coats seeds for major distributors of alfalfa, clovers and grasses. Summit works with companies to enhance seeds with things like micro nutrients, growth regulators and beneficial fungi. Barclay said Summit now has 15 employees at its Caldwell facility and added a fourth crew to keep up with the demand.

TOTAL PAYROLL FOR CANYON COUNTY AGRIBUSINESS JOBS 2012*

MAJOR CROP ACTIVITY AND WAGES FOR SOUTHWEST IDAHO IN 2013 CROP ACTIVITY DATES HOURLY WAGES All hay Irrigation May to September $7.25-$9 Harvest May to October $8-$10 Beans Irrigation May to August $7.25-$9 Harvest End of August to mid-September $9-$10 All corn Irrigation June to September $7.25-$10 Topping July $8-$10 Apples and other fruits Harvest August to September $7.25-$9.25 Pruning and thinning January to March $7.25-$10 Cherries Harvest June to early July $7.25-$9.25 All grain Irrigation mid-April to September $7.25-$10 Harvest August to September $7.25-$10 All mint Irrigation May to September $7.25-$10 Onions Irrigation mid-April to July $7.25-$10 Hoeing May to July $7.25-$10 Topping August to September $7.25-$10 Potatoes Hoeing June and July $7.25-$10 Irrigation mid-May to October $7.25-$10 Harvest mid-August to October $7.25-$10 Sugar beets Irrigation May to October $7.25-$10 Harvest September to October $7.25-$9 SOURCE: Idaho Department of Labor

JOB Animal production Support activities for crop production Support activities for animal production Animal food manufacturing Grain and oilseed milling Sugar and confectionery product manufacturing Fruit and vegetable preserving and specialty food manufacturing Dairy product manufacturing Animal slaughtering and processing Bakery and tortilla manufacturing Beverage manufacturing Textile product mills Leather and hide tanning and finishing *Jobs covered by unemployment insurance SOURCE: Idaho Department of Labor

TOTAL PAYROLL $2,139,781 $12,030,854 $1,212,471 $5,169,433 $216,666 $27,126,823

TOTAL EMPLOYERS 10 38 4 5 1 1

AVERAGE EMPLOYMENT 76 466 28 70 4 553

$63,024,955 $26,722,110 $14,161,991 $3,768,783 $8,044,423 $213,914 $577,870

5 4 5 5 10 2 1

1,350 662 508 129 206 9 22

AGRIBUSINESS IN IDAHO’S ECONOMY 2010

IDAHO’S TOP INTERNATIONAL EXPORTS IN 2012

$19 billion in sales 100,000 jobs $6.4 billion of gross state product 18 percent of total economic output 12 percent of state employment 12 percent of gross state product SOURCE: University of Idaho report “The Financial Condition of Idaho Agriculture: 2012”

Semiconductors and industrial: $6,113,365,391 Food and agriculture: $947,972,361 Transportation equipment: $667,876,231 Mining products: $572,251,196 Fertilizer, pesticides, veteri: $166,731,728 SOURCE: Idaho Department of Commerce

TEST YOUR AG KNOWLEDGE

1. How many years in a row have Idaho’s agriculture receipts broken records? A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 0 2. What percentage of Canyon County jobs are in agribusiness? A. 100 B. 54 C. 23 D. 13 3. What percentage of Canyon County land is used for agriculture? A. 20 B. 63 C. 54 D. 84 (Answers to the right)

Answers: 1C, 2C, 3D

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FRESNO STATE, QB CARR CHALLENGING

HEALTHY FOOD FOR FAMILY

Boise State defense faces stiff test in attempt to win eighth straight over Bulldogs SPORTS, B1

Maintain your budget, your waistline with these recipes COMMUNITY, C1

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A TOAST TO AGRITOURISM

Students could soon use new museum Thousands of school kids from the valley already visit Celebration Park, transportation learning center will allow thousands more By MIKE BUTTS

mbutts@idahopress.com

© 2013 Idaho Press-Tribune

MELBA — When workers complete Celebration Park’s new Canyon Crossroads Transportation Museum, even more Idaho school kids will be able to visit the area rich in opportunities to learn about history and ecology. Part of the Crossroads Museum facility will open to visiting children late this fall, Canyon County Parks, Recreation and Waterways Director Tom Bicak said Tuesday on a tour of the now under-construction building.

Please see Museum, A5

Navy Yard gunman complained about hearing voices

Photos by Greg Kreller/IPT

34-year-old killed 12 people Monday before slain by police

A toast with the cabernet sauvignon at Sunnyslope’s Ste. Chapelle Winery. Ste. Chapelle is one of 50 wineries in Idaho. In 2002, there were 11, according to Idaho Wine Commission President Moya Shatz Dolsby.  Video at idahopress.com/ag

Small but growing wine industry making a splash

I

daho’s agricultural heritage goes back to the days of its earliest settlers. But in the past several years, local growers have discovered a whole new way to make money — agritourism. Visitors come to sample one of Idaho’s newest agricultural industries: wine making. Although the first Idaho wineries appeared in the mid 1800s, they vanished during Prohibition and didn’t return until the 1970s. While the Idaho wine making industry remains small compared to other western states, it’s growing. And it’s attracting wine connoisseurs from throughout the nation. That brings money not only to wineries and vineyards, but to hotels, restaurants and rental car companies. And, Idaho Wine Commission President Moya Shatz Dolsby said, they often leave impressed — even wine tasters from states with large, well-established wine making industries. “I think they’re surprised that they’re impressed,” she said. Today, reporter John Funk talks to local wine industry experts about the region’s latest agribusiness venture.

 Special report, A3-4

We’re that new thing that people are talking about.” MOYA SHATZ DOLSBY, Idaho Wine Commission president

5-PART SERIES: GROWING THE FUTURE Read previous days’ stories at idahopress.com/ag Sunday Reporter Mike Butts talks to local farmers, including County Commissioner Kathy Alder, about the continued loss of farmland in Canyon County. Monday Reporter Nick Groff spoke with the next generation of farmers, and the educators charged with schooling them in the industry’s latest innovations. Tuesday Reporter Torrie Cope breaks down the dollars and cents of the Treasure Valley’s multimillion dollar agriculture industry. Wednesday Reporter John Funk examines one of the County’s latest — and most enjoyable — business ventures: agritourism. Thursday Reporter Kelcie Moseley visits with a few of the area’s many hobby farmers, who harvest nature’s bounty in their own backyards.

By ERIC TUCKER, JACK GILLUM and LOLITA C. BALDOR The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A month before he went on the rampage that left 13 dead, Washington Navy Yard gunman Aaron Alexis complained to police in Rhode Island that people were talking to him through the walls and ceilings of his Aaron Alexis hotel rooms and Deceased gunman sending microwave vibrations into his body to deprive him of sleep. The account, contained in an Aug. 7 report from Newport, R.I., police, adds to the picture that has emerged of an agitated and erratic figure whose behavior and mental state had repeatedly come to authorities’ attention but didn’t seem to affect his security clearance.

Please see Gunman, A5

FBI: Navy Yard gunman had shotgun, got handgun WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI says Navy Yard gunman Aaron Alexis had a shotgun when he entered a building and got a handgun inside after he started firing. Valerie Parlave, head of the FBI’s field office in Washington, said Tuesday they don’t have any information that he had an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle in his possession. There has been conflicting information about the weapons Alexis used. Previously, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press the gunman had two handguns he took from officers.

 Deaths Mary Akins Janet Burnett

Martina Canfield David Edgar Jessica Guptill

Sara Minow  Obituaries, A5

Keep up-to-date with us, comment on our Facebook page at facebook. com/Idaho.Press.Tribune

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idahopress.com

SPECIAL REPORT

Idaho Press-Tribune • Wednesday, September 18, 2013

WINE INDUSTRY GAINS MOMENTUM State had only 11 wineries in 2002, now has 50 By JOHN FUNK | jfunk@idahopress.com | © 2013 Idaho Press-Tribune

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he best tours are tailored to the tastes of each tour group, Winery Seekers Wine Tours owner Kathy Johnson said. It’s best to start the uninitiated out on milder, beginner-friendly wines, but more experienced connoisseurs will prefer something more advanced and complex. Some like whites, some like reds. And the beauty of the Treasure Valley is that it has a little bit of everything all nestled into a relatively small, easily-accessible area. Many start small, Johnson said. But what starts as a hobby can turn into a business. “We have quite a few backyard wine makers in Idaho,” she said. “That’s where they make wine for themselves, and then they eventually want to go ahead and actually produce their own wines. That’s when they get really involved.” They don’t all stay in the business forever, or even necessarily for very long. But whenever Idaho wineries drop off the map, new ones rise to take their place. “We have 50 wineries in the state currently,” Idaho Wine Commission president Moya Shatz Dolsby said. “And just to give you an idea of the IDAHO’S WINEMAKING HISTORY growth, in 2002 there were 11 wineries. In 2008 1864: First Idaho wineries appear in there were 32. And that’s the Lewiston area pretty darn good in a 101920: Prohibition begins, Idaho year period, especially wineries vanish when we’ve been in this 1976: Wine industry returns to the economic downturn in state as Ste. Chapelle opens its doors the past couple years.” 2007: 4,000 Idaho square miles Idaho’s vineyards recognized as prime grape-growing grow a total of about land by the federal government as 1,200 acres of grapes, they’re designated an official American Dolsby said. That’s pretty Viticulture Area small compared to other 2008: Idaho wineries bring $73 milwine-producing states — lion in tourist dollars into the state Washington, by com2013: The state’s wine making indus- parison, has about 40,000 acres of vineyards and try grows to about 50 wineries 750 wineries. UPCOMING AGRITOURISM But despite its size, Idaho-produced wines OPPORTUNITIES are already making n Sunnyslope Wine Festival, Sept waves among enthusi20-22. Visit sunnyslopewinetrail.org for asts nationwide. In fact, information. it could even be a selling n Taste of the Harvest, Sept. 28, point — with growth comes exposure to a The College of Idaho, Boone Hall, whole new clientele, and 2112 Cleveland Blvd., Caldwell. Visit that leads to customer collegeofidaho.edu/eventservices/ enthusiasm. taste-harvest for information. “We’re that new thing n Fall Harvest Festival, Oct. 5-6 that people are talking Idaho Botanical Gardens, Boise. Visit about,” Dolsby said. idahobotanicalgarden.org for info. “And hey, I’ll take it. I’m excited for that.”

WHAT’S A WINE TOUR? When Dolsby first arrived in Idaho from Washington, bringing what she learned serving on the Washington State Wine Commission, one of the first things she heard from local winemakers was that no one ever came out to visit them. The first step was easy, she said: maps. People won’t come if they don’t know where to go. The second step was a little more complicated: getting the state’s tourism officials involved. Before long, a whole new kind of business appeared in Idaho: wine tour companies. Professional confer-

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Greg Kreller/IPT

Directly above: A glass of 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon at Sunnyslope’s Ste. Chapelle Winery. Top: Wineries like Bitner Vineyards offer agritourists views of the rolling Sunnyslope landscape. ences, wedding parties, family gatherings — any group of people who want to get outside, have some fun and drink some wine — can schedule tours guided by experts who know what they’re doing. “We taste the wines, we check it all out before we ever take anybody out there,” said Kathy Johnson, who runs Winery Seekers Wine Tours out of Boise. “And then, based upon what they like, we can say, ‘Hey, did you ever hear of this winery?’” They don’t even have to leave the comfort of an urban environment if they don’t want to. They can land at the airport and go straight into downtown or Garden City. There’s plenty of variety right there. But what’s great about Treasure Valley’s wine industry is that the rural side is just a short drive away — within 30 minutes of Boise’s city limits are vineyards covering hundreds upon hundreds of acres. So what can visiting wine connoisseurs expect? More than they might in other wine-producing regions, Johnson said. They won’t just taste wines — although

they’ll do that, too — they’ll have opportunities to meet the people who make it all happen.

HOW MUCH MONEY DOES WINEMAKING BRING IN? Dolsby said she’d love to see Idaho’s wine industry become a primary destination for out-of-towners. It’s not quite there yet, she said, but it’s becoming increasingly popular for those who arrive for other reasons. Sometimes it’s built right in to a group’s planned festivities, like a bachelorette party out for a unique experience. Other times it’s something fun for a visiting professional association to do on their down time. Or maybe it’s a way to relax after a whitewater rafting excursion. Whatever the case, it’s there, and it’s convenient. “The culture is changing, not just in Idaho but across the United States,” Dolsby said. “People want to go wine tasting. They want to go touring, so all these things spawned from it — the good restaurants, the hotels. It all breeds around these activities.”

Please see Wineries, A4

A3


Idaho Press-Tribune • Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wineries Continued from A3

According to an economic impact study done in 2008, the wine industry brought $73 million and created 625 jobs, Dolsby said. The wine commission is currently doing another study, and with a stronger economy and nearly twice as many wineries, she said she hopes the new numbers will reflect that growth. “$73 million is a lot of money for a relatively small industry to be bringing into the state,” she said. “It has a trickle-down effect. That’s why you really do want to have a wine industry in your state if you can.” And convenience is the name of the game in southwestern Idaho. Those who don’t want to venture outside the urban environment don’t have to. But those who do don’t have to go far. “The Boise area is so unique. It has everything,” Johnson said. “If you want to go to the museums, if you want to walk the greenbelt, it’s just a great experience. People get quite a view of what Boise is and what Idaho has to offer. That’s what we’re all about. We want to show them a great time and we want to bring people back and grow our industry.”

MORE THAN JUST WINE Wine making may be Idaho agriculture’s biggest tourism draw, but it’s by no means the only one.

SPECIAL REPORT

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John Funk/IPT

The southwestern corner of the It does take a special commitment TEST YOUR AG KNOWLEDGE state is also home to mint distillon the part of the grower, however. 1. When did the first wineries aperies, beer breweries, pumpkin Dale Jeffers, vineyard manager at the pear in Idaho? patches and any number of busiSawtooth and Skyline vineyards in A. 1927 nesses willing to give the public Canyon County, acknowledges the B. 1864 a behind-the-scenes look at their benefit of agritourism to the indusC. 1996 operation, Caldwell Chamber of try and to the state, but he doesn’t Commerce Executive Director Theparticipate directly. D. 1889 resa Hardin said. “We’ll help if a winery wants to 2. When and why they did they And it’s not just about sightbring a group out,” Jeffers said. “I’ll disappear? seeing. Some farms will let visitors definitely work with them on that, or A. 1912, sinking of the Titanic participate directly in the operation. just give permission. A lot of times B. 1914, World War I began “There are some farms just getthey just want to know if they can C. 1929, election of Hebert Hoover ting involved with allowing people bring a busload of people out and say, D. 1920, Prohibition to pick crops or have dinners at ‘Here’s where we get our grapes, this 3. When did the wine industry their places,” Hardin said. “There’s a is why our wines are great.’” return to the state? lavender farm in Nampa where you Hardin agrees. Not all growers A. 1976 can tour the farm and then buy lavhave the time, resources or commitB. 1983 ender products — soaps and lotions ment to cater to tourists, but they still C. 1941 and a number of different things benefit from the increased publicity, from that farm.” awareness and education agritourD. 1995 It’s not only a whole new monism brings. (Answers to the right) eymaking opportunity for farmers, “We would love to see more of it’s an opportunity for visitors to see agritourism, because it does educate where their food comes from, something urban dwellpeople,” she said. “But it also gives people a whole difers may otherwise rarely even think about. ferent aspect of life in the country.”

Answers: 1. B. 1864 2. D. 1920, Prohibition 3. A. 1976

A4

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HISTORY AWAKENS

RACE TO THE TOP Tradition-laden volleyball programs fighting off upstarts in search of a bid to the 2013 state tournament SPORTS, B1

Event celebrates museums’ 40 years COMMUNITY, C1

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

RIGHT IN THE BACKYARD

Insurance increase cancels gun show Club could not afford to pay for $5M required Expo Idaho policy after accidental discharge in April By MIKE BUTTS

mbutts@idahopress.com

© 2013 Idaho Press-Tribune

TREASURE VALLEY — Members of a local gun club may have to end a 50-year tradition of gun shows after Ada County raised its insurance requirements in reaction to an accidental firearm discharge at the club’s last show at Expo Idaho. Officials with EE-DA-HOW Long Rifles canceled their Fort Boise Gun Show in Boise last weekend after Expo Idaho, under the purview of Ada County, increased its insurance requirements for gun shows to $5 million.

Please see Gun, A6

More plaintiffs join suit against Boy Scouts, LDS church

Adam Eschbach/IPT

Lawsuit alleges young boys were abused at scouting functions

Dorinda Hoiland, Emmett, holds Otter, a velveteen rex rabbit. Dorinda and her husband, Dennis Hoiland, have assembled a backyard ranch that includes four chickens, eight ducks, two goats and seven rabbits.

Small-scale farms and ranches still growing trend 5-PART SERIES: GROWING THE FUTURE

Read previous days’ stories at idahopress.com/ag Sunday Reporter Mike Butts talks to local farmers, including County Commissioner Kathy Alder, about the continued loss of farmland in Canyon County. Monday Reporter Nick Groff spoke with the next generation of farmers, and the educators charged with schooling them in the industry’s latest innovations. Tuesday Reporter Torrie Cope breaks down the dollars and cents of the Treasure Valley’s multimillion dollar agriculture industry. Wednesday Reporter John Funk examines one of the County’s latest — and most enjoyable — business ventures: agritourism. Thursday Reporter Kelcie Moseley visits with a few of the area’s many hobby farmers, who harvest nature’s bounty in their own backyards.

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hough there may be no obvious signs from the street, backyard chickens and other livestock are becoming more normal than strange in neighborhoods around the country and across Canyon County. In fact, small-scale farms and ranches make up more than 87 percent of the entire market, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, but produce just 15 percent of food or other goods as measured by gross sales. There is a wide array of income in that 87 percent, however, from less than $10,000 per year to those that gross between $100,000 and $249,000 per year. And with that means a large variety of land size, as well, from 2 acres to 200. The circumstances surrounding the reasons for farming also vary widely — some carry on family tradition, some are just starting out and others do it just for fun or a side income. Whether it’s chickens, goats, zucchini or honeybees, the people who farm or ranch even on small acreages will likely say the same thing: It’s a passion. Today, reporter Kelcie Moseley speaks with local small farmers and experts about their experiences.

 Special report, A3-4

I don’t think it’s a trend that’s necessarily going down anytime soon because it’s so rewarding.” ARIEL AGENBROAD, University of Idaho Horticulture Extension educator

Randy Lavorante/erality.com

 Deaths Frank Clark Daniel Davis

Alfred Gibbons Jessica Guptill Marit Hansen

Max Hughes Walter Jastremsky Diane Lane

John Scoggins  Obituaries, A7

Classifieds ������� C4-6 Comics ��������������� C3 Legals ������������� C7-8

Lottery �������������� A2 Opinion ����������� A10 Stocks ���������������� A6

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

BOISE — Four more men who say they were sexually abused by scout leaders in Idaho have joined a federal lawsuit accusing the Boy Scouts of America and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints of covering up sexual abuse, bringing the total number of plaintiffs in the case to eight. The lawsuit originally was filed in June with four plaintiffs, all identified as John Does, alleging they were sexually abused while attending scouting functions during the 1970s and 1980s. At a news conference Tuesday in Boise, the plaintiffs’ attorneys announced three more unidentified plaintiffs and a fourth man who agreed to go public in hopes that other victims would emerge. “My hope is that others — because I do believe there are probably others who are living with this pain to this day — will have the courage to come forward also,” said plaintiff John Elliot. The case is still in the early stages, but attorneys for the Boy Scouts and LDS church filed responses in court denying any wrongdoing or any responsibility for the alleged abuse. Elliot and the other plaintiffs allege both organizations covered up sexual abuse and allowed known pedophiles to remain in leadership positions. Elliott and four of the other plaintiffs say they were abused by former Boy Scout leader Jim Schmidt while members of a troop sponsored by the LDS church.

Please see Lawsuit, A6

Weather ������������ A2

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idahopress.com

SPECIAL REPORT

Idaho Press-Tribune • Thursday, September 19, 2013

RURAL MEETS URBAN WITH BACKYARD FARMING Hobby farmers relay ‘trial and error’ experiences By KELCIE MOSELEY | kmoseley@idahopress.com | © 2013 Idaho Press-Tribune

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he organic and sustainable trends are difficult to ignore or escape in popular culture. More people switch to vegan or “paleo” diets, completely avoiding the processed food that has become a staple of American diets. Stores such as Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and local co-ops have become popular as a result, and even Walmart has joined to respond to the hunger for organic, raw, purer foods. Farmers markets across the country have spiked from 1,755 listings in 1994 to 8,144 this year. “I don’t think it’s a trend that’s necessarily going down anytime soon because it’s so rewarding,” University of Idaho Horticulture Extension Educator Ariel Agenbroad said. “It just keeps going up.” Agenbroad teaches a number of courses at the UI Extension, including Living on the Land, Idaho Victory Garden, Master Gardener courses and others on managing the business aspects of small farming. Agenbroad said Idaho has a very high percentage of small farms, and the classes normally fill up. One of the issues in agriculture right now, she said, is that many “powerhouse” farmers are beginning to retire and leave the industry. “A lot of the young people we see are not people with a background in agriculture. So DORINDA HOILAND a big barrier (to them entering Backyard rancher in Emmett the market) is education and knowledge,” she said.

It started out as a hobby thing, and then we thought, ‘Hey, we could maybe make some money off this.”

CHRISTMAS TREES AND HONEYBEES North Carolina native Grant Carter has a hard time calling the 5-acre expanse he and his wife own in Emmett a “farm.” He calls it a “parcel,” where they have grown grass hay and tended to a single honeybee hive since February. “I think my father-in-law kind of chuckles because it’s so small to him, but we’ve really worked to make it very productive,” Carter said. Carter grew up on a Christmas tree farm in North Carolina, which he said was significantly more difficult to manage than the land he currently owns. They spent most of the summer learning how to manage the irrigation running through the land after fertilizing and corrugating the area. By the end of the summer, Carter said they should have about 500 bales of hay from the field, which he has been selling to one buyer. “I won’t say I’ve made any money off of it, we’ve had some expenses as well,” he said. “It probably pays our property taxes.” But when next year rolls around, he said he plans to apply the knowledge he has learned and hopefully turn a little bit of a profit. The honeybee hive is only around for personal enjoyment, he said, and there are no future plans to monetize it in any way. It brings back memories of helping his grandfather tend to beehives when he was young, and he can’t stand store-bought honey, so it’s nice to have a fresh batch on hand. They do plan to purchase a cow or two, however, so Carter wants to build a fence in the spring. Full time, he works from home in tech support for Microsoft, with just a high-speed Internet connection and a computer. Having tangible jobs to do at home gives him a sense of accomplishment he doesn’t otherwise feel. “I don’t physically see the results of my work,” he said. “It’s electrons floating around out in space somewhere, and the one thing I absolutely enjoy about cutting hay or baling hay or working with my bees is at the end of the day ... I see what I’ve done that day with my eyes.”

Photos by Adam Eschbach/IPT

Directly above: Toby Keith is one of two goats owned by Dennis and Dorinda Hoiland. Top: The Hoilands have assembled a backyard ranch that includes four chickens along with several other animals. They hope the ranch, started in late June, will become a minor financial business.

NATIONAL FARMERS MARKET BOOM Farmers market directory listings: (3.6 percent increase between 2012-13)

SOURCE: United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service

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3,137

3,706

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5,274

6,132

7,175

7,864

8,144

Please see Backyard, A4

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idahopress.com

Idaho Press-Tribune • Thursday, September 19, 2013

Backyard Continued from A3

THE DOLITTLES Hop over the fence into Dorinda and Dennis Hoiland’s backyard in Emmett, and what will greet you first probably won’t be a dog — it will be Toby Keith. Not the country music star, but the Hoilands’ Pygmy goat. Toby and his fellow backyard Pygmy goat, Jitterbug, are just two members of the menagerie in Emmett. In the past three months, the Hoilands have also acquired eight ducks, four hens and seven rabbits. The neighbors have started to call them “The Dolittles.” Some recent city ordinances might prevent other property owners from having the same amount and variety of animals, but the Hoilands said their land is so old that it was grandfathered in from many restrictions. It started when Dennis Hoiland spotted the ducks at a local feed store and remembered how much he liked them growing up in Payette. His grandfather owned a farm with chickens, ducks, pheasants, peacocks and turkeys. Soon after adopting the ducks, the couple said they learned Ancona duck eggs can sell for about $10 per dozen. Adam Eschbach/IPT “It started out as a hobby thing, and then we thought, ‘Hey, we could maybe make some money off Ducks swim in a pond in the backyard of Dennis and Dorinda Hoiland, of Emmett. The Hoilands this,’” Dorinda Hoiland said. say the pond for the eight ducks they’re raising has been more of a hassle than they anticipated. The main motivation starting out was Dennis’ carpel tunnel problem. Dorinda Hoiland said he needs something to keep him busy on his three times as many nutrients and FARMING FOR THE FUTURE time off from Capital Steel as an iron TEST YOUR AG KNOWLEDGE one-third of the cholesterol of storeworker. More health complications While classes at the UI Extension office are popubought eggs. 1. How many chickens are alhave caused the two to think more selar and helpful, Agenbroad said plenty more can be “You cannot get a healthier egg,” lowed in Nampa and Caldwell, no riously about breeding the animals to done to support local agriculture and prepare for the Anderson said. matter the lot size? bring in some cash. But it hasn’t been future. Large institutions such as schools, hospitals She calls chickens “pets with all that easy, even though both of them A. 5 and prisons could start buying more produce from benefits” and said she has spoken were raised on farms. B. 2 mid-size farmers who are looking for opportunities with people across the country “It’s been a learning experience for C. 10 to connect with those entities, she said. It “just takes who wanted to be more sustainus,” Dorinda said. “We’re learning a bit coordination and building relationships.” D. 8 able in their own backyards. Recalls as we go along.” Agenbroad said she likes to see farmers utiliz2. How many farmers markets throughout the past two or three The Hoilands are still working to ing technology as well, posting pictures of produce were listed nationwide in 2013? years have fueled that desire. fix up some of the yard to accommopicked that day and taking orders from commenters. A. 8,144 It helps that chickens require little date all the creatures, particularly the It all adds to food security and sustainability, she B. 3,500 work to take care of, Anderson said pond for the ducks, which has turned said. — even less than her dogs. As long as C. 4,698 out to be more of a hassle than they As long as each individual farmer follows the rules they have fresh water accessible, food D. 1,755 anticipated. But most of the other of tending to the land, Agenbroad said she doesn’t see and a warm, clean place to roost, the equipment, like the rabbit hutches and 3. What is the name of the too much of a clash between large-scale and smallrest is easy. chicken coop, they got for free, along friendly goat owned by the scale farmers. But planning and zoning is an issue But it’s important to know the with some of the animals on Craigslist. Hoiland family in Emmett? that should concern city politicians, as land is partirules in town before deciding to Aside from the potential monetary A. Joe Bob tioned in ways that can make farming complicated or adopt one. Roosters are not allowed benefits, both said it’s about a love for B. Lemony Snicket impossible. She said those policies need to be more animals above it all. in city limits in Nampa or Caldwell, C. Britney Spears supportive of agricultural growth. “I just really enjoy the animals, I reand there’s a limit of 10 chickens D. Toby Keith Canyon County as a whole is a supportive envially do. It gives us a reason to get out of allowed in neighborhoods. Always (Answers to the right) ronment for small farming. It is a good place to grow, bed in the morning,” Dorinda said. check city ordinances for permits that may be required, and check with and plenty of businesses sell what is necessary to get CLUCKY GIRLS started. And Agenbroad predicts those businesses your neighborhood organization, if will keep seeing an increase in that clientele. you have one, because many don’t allow them. Backyard chickens are among the most popular “I think the more technological we get, the more That’s something Anderson is hoping to change in additions to the neighborhood, as “farm fresh” and distanced people get from (farming), the more the next few years. She argues hens make very little organic eggs become more desirable by the general people yearn for it,” Agenbroad said. “And the more noise, don’t smell any worse than dogs if they are population. Gretchen Anderson, who wrote the book urban we become, the more nostalgia people have for properly cared for and don’t attract pests any more “The Backyard Chicken Fight” and is in the process of another book on gardening, said farm-fresh eggs have than cats or dogs. the rural, so they want to get back into it.”

Answers: 1. C, 2.A, 3. D

CALDWELL REGULATIONS

NAMPA REGULATIONS

USDA CLASSIFICATIONS

Regardless of lot size, the following pets are allowed to the maximum numbers below, provided the household does not have more than three different types of pets.

Regardless of lot size, the following pets are allowed to the maximum numbers below, provided the household does not have more than three different types of pets.

The Agricultural Census classifies small farms and ranches based largely on annual gross sales and occupation. Farming occupation with high sales: Operators report farming as their major occupation, with sales between $100,000 and $249,999 (4.5 percent). Farming occupation with low sales: Operators report farming as their major occupation, with sales less than $100,000 (11.7 percent). Residential/Lifestyle: Operators report major non-farming occupation (36.4 percent) Retirement: Operators are retired (20.7 percent)

Chickens (no roosters): 10

Goats: 1

Ducks: 2

Geese: 2

Peacocks: 1

Rabbits: 5

Chickens (no roosters): 10

Ducks: 2

Miniature horses: 1

Potbellied pigs: 2 (some restrictions apply)

Rabbits: 4

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Growing the future