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March 20, 2015
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Idaho bill aims to reduce irrigation sediment
Capital Press
BOISE — A bill moving
through the Idaho Legislature
would give irrigation districts
authority to issue special as-
sessments on irrigators whose
practices contribute too much
sediment to the water supply.
Norm Semanko, executive
director of the Idaho Water Us-
ers Association, said the fees
would cover costs now borne
by the districts of building in-
frastructure or taking other ac-
tions to clean runoff.
“Every once in a while, we
find a land owner who is not
willing to correct the problem,
and it ends up going as an as-
sessment on all landowners in
the district to fix the problems
caused by one individual,” Se-
manko said.
The Idaho Senate passed
the bill unanimously, and it’s
awaiting approval by the full
House, after passing the House
Resources and Conservation
Committee March 13 by a
voice vote.
Idaho cottage foods
bill sent back to
House committee
Capital Press
BOISE — Legislation that
would set statewide standards
for Idaho’s cottage food pro-
ducers has been sent back to a
House committee and its future
is uncertain.
The House Health and Wel-
fare Committee sent the bill to
the full House with a “do-pass”
recommendation after tough
questioning from several law-
makers and opposition from the
Idaho Department of Health and
But it has been returned to
the committee so stakeholders
can try to work out their dis-
agreements, said the bill’s spon-
sor, Rep. Clark Kauffman, a Re-
publican farmer from Filer.
Kauffman said the sides can
either agree on language for a
different bill or choose to go
with the status quo.
“I think we’ll have to see if
we even need a bill,” he said.
“My goal is to get everybody on
the same page and if we don’t
have to have legislation, that’s
even better.”
The bill would allow people
to sell a limited amount of non-
risky food produced in their un-
licensed home kitchens directly
to consumers.
Cottage food producers
would be required to register
online with the IDHW and put
labels on their products that in-
clude any potential allergens.
Cottage food producers
would not be subject to in-home
inspections or licensing require-
ments and the bill sets a $30,000
cap on gross sales to be eligible.
Cottage food producers
who pushed for the bill said the
state’s seven health districts,
which operate separately under
the IDHW’s oversight, have
different standards for cottage
They said it was necessary to
codify the industry in state stat-
ute to provide the industry legal
certainty and allow them to op-
erate with consistency around
the state.
But Patrick Guzzle, who
manages the IDHW’s food pro-
tection program, told lawmak-
ers the health districts’ rules are
generally consistent.
That’s one of the issues up-
coming meetings with stake-
holders will try to solve, Kauff-
man said.
“We’re trying to figure out
if there is a difference in rules
among the health districts or if
there is a difference in rules by
the farmers markets or whether
it’s a combination of things,” he
Rep. Fred Wood, R-Burley,
the health and welfare commit-
tee chairman, said there is still a
lot about the legislation that is
not fully understood, including
the role farmers’ markets play
in determining cottage food
“This is just not soup yet,” he
said, using a common phrase in
the Idaho Legislature that refers
to legislation which hasn’t been
thoroughly vetted. “It just needs
more time.”
A separate cottage foods bill
sponsored by Rep. Caroline
Troy, R-Genesee, was printed
March 12 and is only for dis-
cussion purposes, according to
several sources.
That legislation is a stream-
lined bill that codifies the ex-
isting practices of the health
districts regarding cottage foods.
Guzzle said the department
will hold a series of meetings
around the state beginning April
27 to hear from stakeholder on
the issue.
“I’m hopeful that we can
reach a workable solution for
everybody without requiring
legislation,” he said.
For more information about
the meetings, contact Guzzle at
(208) 334-5936 or guzzlep@
An amendment has been
added to the bill requiring that
districts give irrigators prior no-
tice to fix any problems before
incurring a fee.
Semanko said cities had
questions about what land
could be assessed fees but were
satisfied upon learning that the
bill applies only to irrigators
represented by irrigation dis-
tricts. Furthermore, districts
must opt in to receive the au-
thority by approving a bylaw
or resolution. Semanko said a
number of irrigation districts
have expressed interest in up-
dating their bylaws in order to
Semanko said irrigation dis-
tricts have a legal duty to meet
minimum water quality require-
ments, and irrigators testified
during discussion on the bill that
sediment-laden water reduces
farm yields and damages pumps
and other equipment.
Semanko said the great-
est sediment challenges stem
from producers who still flood
irrigate, and building sediment
retention ponds or adding a
product that removes sediment
from suspension, called poly-
acrylamide, are the most com-
mon solutions.
The bill was suggested by
the South Board of Control,
which represents the Homedale,
Idaho-based Gem Irrigation
District. Clancy Flynn, South
Board of Control manager, said
the majority of irrigators are
willing to cooperate on solu-
tions to sediment in runoff, but
the legislation would help in a
few cases.
“It’s been a perpetual prob-
lem I would imagine since the
beginning of furrow irrigation
in the district,” Flynn said.
Flynn said pivots that put
out water too quickly can also
pose problems.
“All districts have to deal with
it to some extent,” Flynn said.
Flynn said the Gem Irriga-
tion District utilizes drainage
canals that return farm run-
off, often laden with sediment
from flood irrigation, back to
the main canal, directly to oth-
er water users or to the Snake
Idaho House, Senate split on
proposed elk importation rule
Capital Press
BOISE — Idaho lawmakers
so far are split on a proposed
rule that would lift import re-
strictions on domestic elk from
states where the meningeal
worm is endemic.
The worm is a parasite that
can cause fatal neurological
problems in elk, sheep, goats,
llamas and alpacas.
Idaho law currently prohib-
its the importation of domestic
cervids — elk, deer, caribou
and moose — from areas east
of the 100th meridian, which
runs roughly from the middle
of North Dakota south through
Idaho commercial elk breed-
ers, who pushed for the new
rule, said they need to be able to
import elk from states east of the
100th meridian to compete with
other Western states such as
Colorado, Montana, New Mexi-
co and Oregon, which have lift-
ed similar restrictions.
Idaho’s import restriction has
limited the number and genetics
of elk that Idaho’s 30 commer-
cial breeders can compete for,
said Rulon Jones, a commercial
elk breeder from Firth.
“It’s hard to compete with
other states because ... all of
these states can import elk from
the same states we can and also
Carol Ryan Dumas/Capital Press file
Elk at CA Bull Elk Ranch near Richfield, Idaho, are seen in this file photo.The Idaho Legislature is
deciding whether elk from east of the 100th meridian can be imported into the state.
from the states we can’t,” he
The proposed rule change
would mitigate the risk of dis-
ease exposure by requiring do-
mestic cervids to be treated for
meningeal worm within 30 days
of being shipped to Idaho.
Shawn Schafer, executive
director of the North American
Deer Farmers Association, told
lawmakers that the 100th merid-
ian is the approximate western
edge of the worm’s traditional
Schafer, who supports the
rule change, said Idaho lacks
the intermediate host, a mollusk,
that areas east of the 100th me-
ridian have, which would make
it impossible for the worm to
complete its life cycle here and
be passed on.
Elk, along with sheep, alpac-
as, llamas, cattle and horses, are
dead-end hosts, which means
they can’t pass the worm on,
and none of those other species
have similar import restrictions,
Schafer said.
“The meningeal worm is
where the meningeal worm can
be. God has already taken care
of it,” he said.
Schafer’s testimony was
supported by veterinarian Glen
Zeborth, who specializes in elk,
but opposed by two other veteri-
narians and members of wildlife
organizations. Some of them
said lifting the import restriction
could endanger Idaho wildlife
as well as other livestock such
as sheep.
Rep. Donna Pence, D-Good-
ing, said the testimony on the
technically difficult issue was
conflicting and she voted against
the rule because “I just don’t feel
we can take a chance of bringing
that in.”
Clif Bar breaks ground in S. Idaho
Capital Press
Groundbreaking ceremonies
for Clif Bar Baking Co.’s first
owned and operated bakery,
which will produce two of
its energy and nutrition bars,
drew a large and enthusiastic
crowd here on March 12.
The new $90 million,
270,000-square-foot bakery
will help the company meet
growing demand worldwide
and bring more than 200 jobs
when it opens in the spring of
2016, company officials said.
It could also bring new op-
portunities for local organic
growers, according to Clif Bar
CEO Kevin Cleary.
“We’re very interested in
locally grown (and) very inter-
ested in organic oats,” he said.
Cleary declined to reveal
the amount of oats the com-
pany purchase but said it’s “a
The company utilizes 120
different organic ingredients —
fruits, nuts, seeds and grain —
among its 19 brands and about
150 products, he said.
Carol Ryan Dumas/Capital Press
Kit Crawford and Gary Erickson, co-owners of Clif Bar & Company,
raise a shovel of soil during a groundbreaking ceremony at the site
of Clif Bar Baking Co. in Twin Falls, Idaho, on March 12.