Catching Up with CALS — Aug. 21, 2019
Dean's Message — Good Company
The Idaho Milk Processors Association meeting in Sun Valley offered the chance to hear and see new U of I President Scott Green connect with agriculture in ways CALS has not seen in recent memory.
President Green’s interest and his dedication to being there spoke volumes to an important segment of Idaho agriculture that the university is engaged with the state as a whole.
Icing on the cake (no pun intended) was the chance to celebrate a strong showing in the IMPA food product development contest by the U of I - WSU Bi-State School of Food Science student group led by professor Helen Joyner.
The Rinker Rock Creek Ranch gave us another reason to appreciate the power of partnerships. Congressman Mike Simpson visited the ranch as part of a retreat for his staff.
Rep. Simpson heard from representatives of The Nature Conservancy, Wood River Land Trust, President Green, College of Natural Resources Dean Dennis Becker and others about our plans for research and outreach to benefit Idaho’s rangelands.
He heard about collaborations with other agencies including the Idaho Fish and Game Department and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Even to those of us who have worked on developing the Rinker Rock Creek Ranch, the list of links and projects was remarkable.
From the ranch, the U of I group’s next stop was Picabo and a visit with Nick and Pat Purdy to tour Picabo Livestock Company as well as the famous Double-R Ranch on Silver Creek. Their support for environmental stewardship and the university is legendary as are their deep ties to the land.
And finally, the south-central Idaho swing included an invitation to Chobani’s grand opening of a food innovation and community center at its Twin Falls plant.
Hearing Chobani founder, CEO and chairman Hamdi Ulukaya’s enthusiasm for the project and his commitment to the community encouraged everyone there.
President Green also had the opportunity to thank him and Chobani as a whole for supporting the Chobani Scholars program. Four new students who want to pursue careers in the dairy industry will attend CALS this fall with scholarships from Chobani.
Chobani’s current investment and its future contributions to agriculture and to Idaho continue to excite the agricultural industry and bring prosperity to the community.
It is a great time to be the dean of CALS and part of the Vandal family and the vibrant agricultural community in Idaho.
Michael P. Parrella
College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
By the Numbers
58,500,000 bushels of winter wheat is the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service projected production for Idaho this year. That’s a 1 percent drop from the July 1 prediction, and 4 percent from 2018. The harvested area, 680,000 acres, is unchanged. For spring wheat, the agency forecast a 40,000,000 bushel harvest. That’s 1 percent better than the July 1 forecast, but down 5 percent from 2018. Harvested acreage is projected at 460,000 acres, up 15,000 from 2018. Yield is expected to average 87 bushels per acre, down 8 bushels an acre, but still the 2nd highest on record.
Our Stories — Little Free Gardens Sprout
Like the little free libraries began popping up in communities in recent years, Bonners Ferry is pioneering a new wrinkle in produce for the people: produce free for the picking.
About 20 of the tiny garden plots that mostly grow in containers of some sort add touches of agriculture throughout Bonners Ferry as a result of work by UI Extension’s Kate Painter there.
Intrigued by the little libraries, Painter discovered the non-profit Little Free Garden program while thinking about ways to encourage more interest in the community garden. As Bonner County’s agricultural extension educator, she asked Idaho Master Gardeners for some help.
“Our community garden isn’t very visible, so I was thinking about ways to call attention to it. I was playing around with this idea of tiny gardens and then found the Little Free Garden project that started in North Dakota."
The project is funded by a $2,500 grant from the City of Bonners Ferry through its High Five! project to promote healthy eating and physical activity for children. The project is sponsored by the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation.
Credit for the Little Free Garden success belongs to The GROW! organization, which received the High Five! grant, Painter said.
“The community garden is run by this organization, which does a ton of work in addition to the little free gardens, like donating over a ton of organic produce to the food bank and other community organizations each year,” she said.
The idea grew on the master gardeners, who take care of the tiny gardens, and other community members, Painter said. Businesses and residents, many of whom already maintain flower planters, joined in by creating their own container gardens or adding vegetables to their plantings. Others donated plants for the gardens.
There’s just one minor hiccup, Painter said. The planters are so attractive, many admirers are reluctant to pick the produce. Some of the free gardens are also small patches of ground marked with signs.
“We’re trying to find ways to change that,” Painter said. “The idea is we want to provide fresh produce for people to take home and put on the table.”
The menu includes tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, radishes, carrots, arugula and snap peas, to name a few.
Master gardeners installed the containers, filled them with soil, planted the seeds, weeded and watered the little free gardens. They keep track of the gardens and replant when the lettuce bolts or a crop matures.
With the summer crops reaching harvest, she’s thinking about organizing a salad walk or salsa trail to encourage community members to get to picking and eating the bounty.
Parma Fruit Day A Little Sweeter for Fallahi
The University of Idaho Parma Fruit Field Day will be a little sweeter this year for its founder and emcee, pomology professor Essie Fallahi.
The event Friday, Sept. 6, showcases Fallahi’s work with apples, table grapes, peaches, nectarines, plums, quince, Asian pears and other fruits. Visitors by the hundreds flock to the annual event to taste the fruits of his labors.
This year, visitors can also congratulate Fallahi on receiving the American Pomological Society’s highest honor, the Wilder Medal, at the group’s meeting in July.
The fruit field day will begin with registration at 8:30 a.m. at the U of I Pomology Research Orchards and Vineyards at 31727 Parma Road, Parma. The event is free.
The orchard and vineyard are located about four miles from U of I’s Parma Research and Extension Center.
In Idaho, Fallahi’s pomology and viticulture program tests fruit varieties and growing methods. He helped pioneer the region’s new table grape industry that is rapidly growing in economic importance.
This year’s field day will review work on irrigating and growing Fuji and Honeycrisp apples and on selecting cherry rootstocks and canopy architectures for modern pedestrian orchards.
Other topics will include fruit nutrition, chemical applications by irrigation, pesticide safety, and chemical- and hand-thinning methods. Fallahi also will discuss almond and walnut research and their potential as major commercial crops.
Pesticide applicators can receive two pesticide credits for attending the field day.
More information about the program is available by calling the U of I CALS Parma Research and Extension Center office at 208-722-6701 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
AmeriCorps Grant Expands 4-H Efforts
The University of Idaho Extension 4-H Youth Development program will host 38 AmeriCorps members to work during the coming year to help youth ages 5 to 18 across the state benefit academically and socially.
The grant is administered by Serve Idaho and sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service will underwrite the AmeriCorps members’ efforts. The one-year program is scheduled to start Sept. 1.
The AmeriCorps members will work with 98 volunteers who will serve as club and camp leaders, mentors and event staff. The $298,810 grant will be matched by $156,000 in public funding.
The project is needed because many Idaho communities are geographically or socially isolated and opportunities for positive out-of-school opportunities to build essential life skills are limited.
In addition, more than 70 percent of parents work, U of I officials said. The project addresses the reality that children spend most of their waking hours outside of school settings. In 15 Idaho counties, nearly a quarter of 16- to 19-year olds do not work and are not in school.
AmeriCorps members and volunteers will use the positive youth development model to create services and opportunities for youth to address both risks and protective factors.
Research shows effective youth programs create positive and sustained relationships between youth and adults, support activities to build valuable life skills and offer youth chances to use those skills in valued community activities.
The 4-H program in Idaho reaches more than 70,000 youth through a wide range of school-based, club and community programs. A national study shows 4-H members in high school are nearly twice as likely to join in science-based activities outside of the classroom. They are also more likely to pursue college or post-secondary education.
AmeriCorps members will work closely with UI Extension 4-H educators and others in counties across the state. Extension officials plan to recruit members from communities where they will service and from Idaho colleges and universities.
The AmeriCorps positions will be split amongst eight full-time, 16 half-time and 14 quarter-time placements.
The project is funded under contract 18AFHID0010004 with the total project cost at $454,810, with 65.7 percent federal at $298,810 and 34.3 percent at $156,000 university cost share.
Faces and Places
A report on using a new method to track snowmelt using satellite imagery by Idaho State Climatologist Russ Qualls and graduate student Craig Woodruff is featured on the American Geophysical Union’s Earth and Space Science News website, EOS.
- Aug. 28 — 18th Annual LeTourneau Lecture, “Breeding Onion for Insect Resistance: 80 Years of Effort,” by Mike Havey, USDA-ARS onion breeder at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Reception at 2:30 p.m. in Ag Biotech Interaction Court, lecture in TLC 122 on the Moscow campus at 3:30 p.m.
- Sept. 6 — Pomology Field Day, Parma Research and Extension Center orchards and vineyards, 31727 Parma Rd, Parma, ID 83660, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Sept. 10 — Welcome Back Picnic, Agricultural Sciences Building lawn at Sixth and Rayburn, 4-7 p.m.
- Sept. 12 — Steer A Year Banquet, McCall
- Oct. 4-6 — Ag Days, Moscow
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