Catching Up with CALS — Jan. 24, 2018
Dean's Message — Busy Weeks
It will be a busy few weeks in Boise and beyond with presentations to key Idaho Legislature committees today and tomorrow, and public meetings from Twin Falls to Nampa.
As CALS dean, the legislative session ranks among the most intense and rewarding opportunities to talk about the college and its good work.
This morning, JFAC, the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, provided an opportunity to thank elected officials for their support and sketch a brief outline of our future goals.
Thursday morning, the Senate Agriculture Committee will offer CALS the chance to elaborate on those goals and their relevance to the state.
The Senate session will focus on our statewide system of nine research and education centers. The centers offer a powerful resource for agriculture, and contribute considerably to the economic foundation to one of the state’s largest industries.
The research and education network in CALS serves all Idahoans as a source of knowledge close to home. If a gardener or UI Extension educator from one of our 42 county offices needs help identifying an insect or plant problem, odds are that someone at a research and extension center has seen it before.
The R&E centers also build local scientific knowledge by extensive investment in plot-based research. And beyond the centers’ physical boundaries, our researchers work with hundreds of farmers and ranchers to solve problems or develop better practices on their own operations.
This is an exciting time for agriculture and the college. The past 125 years of research by the Idaho Agricultural Experiment Station is bearing fruit in ways never dreamed about a century ago.
Today, for example, we know more about wireworms that damage wheat, potato and sugar beet crops. Modern molecular biology tools promise to help us better control wireworms in ways that are more environmentally friendly and less expensive.
Connect that with the reality that a quarter of our faculty and researchers who amassed this information is ready to retire. We are hiring the next generation of researchers who have the talents and skills to keep agriculture moving forward.
That is the message that legislators invite us to deliver. They want to know about the tools and resources the state needs to invest in and the returns Idahoans can expect.
The CALS team in Boise will finish the week with a round of four listening sessions in Twin Falls and Nampa Thursday and Friday dedicated to the Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment. We want to hear the questions and the ideas about this transformative research effort. And we want to inform the conversation.
MICHAEL P. PARRELLA
College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
By the Numbers
3 CALS research and extension centers at Aberdeen, Kimberly and Parma of 9 centers statewide attract an additional $3.8 million annually in external funding over the past 3 years. A study shows the state’s investment generates $1.41 in economic activity per $1 spent, a 41 percent return.
Our Stories — Study: Idaho Ag Improves Fortunes in 2017
Idaho’s farmers and ranchers collected 5 percent more cash from livestock and crop sales in 2017 than 2016, reversing two consecutive years of declines with total cash receipts of $7.4 billion.
A 13 percent increase in potato receipts and 5 and 7 percent gains in sales of cattle and calves and milk respectively led the way.
More important for agricultural producers and for the economy, net farm income surged 15 percent to $1.92 billion, beating three consecutive years of income declines.
Idaho’s famous potato crop, the largest in the U.S., posted a record high of $955 million based on strong prices that compensated for declines in overall production and yields per acre.
The sales projections are included in the annual publication “The Financial Condition of Idaho Agriculture: 2017,” by UI Extension and CALS economists Ben Eborn and Garth Taylor. Taylor presented the findings Jan. 5 to Idaho legislators on the Economic Outlook and Revenue Assessment Committee.
Agribusiness ranks as Idaho’s largest industry because of the economic impacts of exports from farms and food processors. One fifth of the state’s sales is directly or indirectly created by agribusiness, Eborn and Taylor note.
Overall, milk sales again led the way, generating $2.526 billion in sales, a 7 percent increase. Cattle and calves sales followed with $1.834 billion, up 5 percent. Among crops, potatoes generated $955 million in sales, a 13 percent increase.
Bean sales posted the strongest sales performance percentagewise with a 33 percent jump to $83 million. Sheep, goats and other livestock showed the largest percentage gain, 13 percent, in the animal sector with $226 million in sales.
Crop sales showed a mix of gains and losses. Hay eked out a 1 percent gain to $357 million, but most major crops struggled. Sugarbeet sales dropped 10 percent to $271 million, wheat dipped 7 percent to $415 million, barley slipped 1 percent to $265 million and other crops as a group fell 3 percent to $516 million.
U of I Seeking CAFE Comments in Twin Falls, Nampa Sessions
The University of Idaho and its partners will hold meetings this week in Twin Falls and Nampa to discuss plans for its Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (CAFE).
U of I officials will also hear comments from Idahoans on the university’s plan for the 2,000-cow agricultural research center that is slated to be the largest research dairy in the United States. The facility is planned for the Magic Valley, though a location has not yet been chosen.
The listening sessions are Thursday, Jan. 25, and Friday, Jan. 26. Times and locations are as follows:
- Thursday, Jan. 25 — CAFE Listening Session, The Herrett Center, 315 Falls Ave., Twin Falls, 2-3:30 p.m. MT
- Thursday, Jan. 25 — CAFE Listening Session, The Herrett Center, 315 Falls Ave., Twin Falls, 4-5:30 p.m. MT
- Friday, Jan. 26 — CAFE Listening Session, The Herrett Center, 315 Falls Ave., Twin Falls, 8:30-10 a.m. MT
- Friday, Jan. 26 — CAFE Listening Session, Hispanic Cultural Center of Idaho, 315 Stampede Drive, Nampa, 3:30-5 p.m. MT
University leaders and officials from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences will be on hand at the listening sessions to explain the project and answer questions.
CAFE’s focus will be on environmental solutions, economic development, and educational opportunities to ensure the sustainability of livestock and crop agriculture and food processing in Idaho. CAFE will be designed to address environmental issues through research and provide interdisciplinary learning and research opportunities for higher education partners across the region.
The $45 million project received a $10 million appropriation in 2017 from the Idaho Legislature at the request of Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter. U of I and other partners are identifying the remaining funding for the project.
Faces and Places
Ariel Agenbroad, UI Extension area extension educator, community food systems and small farms, was named one of the 2018 Idaho Business Review Women of the Year. The honor recognizes women who are shaping Idaho's economic and community well-being through their outstanding leadership, mentoring efforts and community involvement. These women will be honored at a reception, dinner and awards gala March 8 at the Boise Centre where one woman will be named the 2018 Idaho Business Review Woman of the Year.
- Jan. 24 — Western Idaho Ag Expo, Caldwell Events Center, Caldwell
- Jan. 24 — U of I presentations to Idaho Legislature Joint Finance - Appropriations Committee, Boise
- Jan. 25 — CAFE Listening Session, The Herrett Center, 315 Falls Ave., Twin Falls, 2-3:30 p.m. MT
- Jan. 25 — CAFE Listening Session, The Herrett Center, 315 Falls Ave., Twin Falls, 4-5:30 p.m. MT
- Jan. 26 — CAFE Listening Session, The Herrett Center, 315 Falls Ave., Twin Falls, 8:30-10 a.m. MT
- Jan. 26 — CAFE Listening Session, Hispanic Cultural Center of Idaho, 315 Stampede Drive, Nampa 3:30-5 p.m. MT
- Feb. 6-8 — Spokane Ag Expo, Spokane Convention Center, Spokane
- Feb. 16 — UI Extension 4-H Know Your Government 30th Anniversary Reunion, Red Lion Downtowner, Boise
- Feb. 17-19 — UI Extension 4-H Know Your Government, Boise
- Feb. 19 — CALS Advisory Board, Red Lion Downtowner, Boise
- Feb. 19-20 — Larry Branen Ag Summit, Red Lion Downtowner, Boise
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