Capital press. (Salem, OR) 19??-current, April 10, 2015, Page 8, Image 8

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April 10, 2015
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Idaho cottage food bills lose support Eight candidates
vie for college of
agriculture dean
Capital Press
BOISE — The Idaho Leg-
islature will not pass a cottage
foods bill this year.
However, the Idaho De-
partment of Health and Wel-
fare will hold a series of
meetings around the state be-
ginning April 27 to hear from
those interested in cottage
foods, which are products
produced in unlicensed home
Cottage food producers
pushed for legislation this
year that would have set stan-
dards and guidelines for cot-
tage foods in Idaho code.
One such bill made it to the
House floor but was sent back
to committee. Another never
made it out of committee.
The authors of both bills
confirmed that neither will
move forward this year. In-
stead, stakeholders will dis-
cuss the issue during a series
of meetings around the state.
If the issue can be solved
through rule-making without
the need to pass a law, that
would be preferable, said
Rep. Clark Kauffman, a Re-
publican farmer from Filer
who introduced the bill that
was sent back to committee.
If it can’t, “then we’ll
come back next year and write
a law,” he said. “If we don’t
need a law, there is no sense
in passing one.”
While Idaho’s food safety
rules state that the rules don’t
apply to cottage foods, state
statute doesn’t specifically ad-
dress cottage foods.
Many cottage food produc-
ers want the legal certainty
that would come with cottage
foods being added to state
code, said Boise farmer Josie
Capital Press
Sean Ellis/Capital Press
The Jelly Lady owner Marge Price sells jelly produced in a commercial kitchen at the Boise Farmers’
Market on April 4. The market doesn’t allow cottage food products made in home kitchens to be sold
because cottage foods aren’t addressed in Idaho law, which creates legal uncertainty, says market
manager Karen Ellis.
Erskine, who has helped lead
the effort to pass legislation
addressing the issue.
Erksine said she was dis-
appointed that no cottage
food legislation was passed
this year but she is happy the
issue has been brought to the
attention of lawmakers.
Because state code doesn’t
specifically address cottage
foods, people who produce
those products are in a state of
legal uncertainty, she said.
“For someone who’s trying
to run a business, that’s kind of
a scary place to be,” she said.
“There has to be some legal cer-
tainty for people who choose to
produce cottage foods.”
During public testimony
on Kauffman’s bill, cottage
food producers said that al-
though the state’s seven inde-
Meeting schedule
For more details about a se-
ries of meetings that will be
held around Idaho to discuss
cottage foods, go to www.
pendent public health districts
have allowed people to sell
food from their home kitchens
for 20-plus years, they each
have different standards.
Kauffman’s bill would
have provided the industry
consistency and legal certain-
ty, Erskine said.
Boise Farmers’ Market
Manager Karen Ellis said her
market only allows food pro-
duced in commercial kitchens
to be sold there because the
market can’t take the risk of
allowing a product whose pro-
duction isn’t codified in state
law to be sold there.
“Until there is a law in
place, we don’t have anything
to go by to protect ourselves,”
Ellis said. “It needs to be de-
fined in state law.”
The IDHW, which over-
sees the health districts, is
checking with the state attor-
ney general’s office to make
sure the current practices of
the health districts regarding
cottage foods are legal, said
Patrick Guzzle, who manages
the department’s food protec-
tion program.
If they are, “then we don’t
know that it’s necessary to
draft legislation on the issue,”
he said.
BOISE — Idaho farmers
and ag industry leaders will
soon have a chance to meet
the finalists for the dean posi-
tion at the University of Idaho
College of Agricultural and
Life Sciences.
An advisory committee
that is conducting a nationwide
search has narrowed the pool
of candidates from 25 to eight,
Rich Garber, CALS’ director
of industry and government re-
lations, told Food Producers of
Idaho members April 1.
Phone interviews with those
finalists will be conducted over
the next two weeks and then the
dean search committee immedi-
ately plans to bring three to five
candidates to Idaho for in-per-
son interviews, Garber said.
Garber asked FPI members
for their counsel on where to
hold meetings so people can
meet the candidates.
FPI in January sent university
officials a letter questioning why
only one person from the state’s
farming community was includ-
ed on the original 12-member
dean search committee.
The university immediately
added two more farm industry
leaders after receiving the letter.
FPI President Travis Jones
said he appreciated Garber up-
dating the group on the dean
search and asking its members
for their input on the meeting
Garber’s update and request
for counsel is “a good sign, a
good expression, that they value
the input of agriculture and want
to give us the chance to meet
these candidates,” Jones said.
FPI members agreed it
would be best to hold the meet-
and-greets in Boise because
that’s where most of the heads
of the state’s farm commissions
and associations reside.
The group also voted to pro-
vide up to $1,000 to help offset
the cost of the meetings.
Search committee members
said they are impressed with the
candidate list.
“I think they have a strong
candidate pool,” said Idaho
Dairymen’s Association Execu-
tive Director Bob Naerebout.
Idaho Grain Producers As-
sociation secretary treasurer
and wheat farmer Joe Ander-
son agreed and said it’s critical
that CALS hire someone “who
understands what agriculture
is about in this state and how
critical it is to this state. As
many folks as possible, par-
ticularly the leadership of the
various commissions and or-
ganizations, should try to meet
these people and then provide
their input once they get a take
on these folks.”
The search for a perma-
nent dean was underway be-
fore the university’s president
and provost accepted other
positions in spring 2013. The
current dean, John Foltz, was
appointed in June 2013 to a
two-year term to allow time
for the new president and pro-
vost to get on board.
Garber said the university
intends to have the new dean in
place by July 1.
Farm groups help halt proposals to increase fee on dyed fuel
Capital Press
BOISE — Proposals to in-
crease a fee on dyed fuel and
other petroleum products in
Idaho and use the money for
road and bridge maintenance
appear to be dead for this year.
However, increased en-
forcement of the state’s dyed
fuel law is now on the table.
Idaho farm groups helped
halt several proposals to raise
the state’s 1-cent a gallon trans-
fer fee on petroleum products.
The fee is paid by the distrib-
utor when fuel is moved from
bulk storage tanks but is passed
on to the purchaser.
Most of those proposals
would have raised the transfer
fee by 2 cents a gallon. Agricul-
tural groups argued that since
dyed fuel isn’t used on roads, it
shouldn’t be used to fund road
and bridge maintenance.
Sean Ellis/Capital Press
Onions are planted in a field near Wilder, Idaho, on March 30. Idaho farm groups have helped beat
back proposals to raise a fee on dyed fuel and use the money to fund road and bridge maintenance.
Dyed fuel, also known as
dyed diesel, off-road or farm
diesel, is exempt from state and
federal taxes because it’s only
allowed in vehicles not used on
public roads.
Sen. Bert Brackett, a Re-
publican rancher from Rog-
erson, told Idaho farm groups
April 1 that legislators got their
message on the transfer fee.
“I don’t think that will resur-
face” this year, he told members
of Food Producers of Idaho,
which represents 40 farm-re-
lated groups. The group had
called a special meeting to deal
with transportation funding.
A governor’s task force de-
termined the state needs an ad-
ditional $262 million per year
in transportation funding to
maintain roads and bridges.
A flurry of bills and draft
bills that address the issue have
been floated in the Idaho Leg-
islature in recent weeks and
many more are in the works,
Brackett said.
Idaho Farm Bureau Fed-
eration Governmental Affairs
Director Russ Hendricks said it
was nice to hear the transfer fee
proposal appears dead.
“That’s good news and we
hope it doesn’t get resurrected
from the dead,” he said.
Brackett told FPI members
that forthcoming bills would
likely seek to increase enforce-
ment of the state’s dyed fuel
Besides agriculture, the fuel
is also used in the mining and
forestry sectors as well as by
some local governments.
Brackett said increased en-
forcement wouldn’t single out
any industry and would address
persistent claims by some of
widespread cheating.
Estimates of state revenue
lost to cheating range from $3
million to $8 million a year.
Brackett said he would ex-
pect any cheating to end quickly
once word got out about the in-
creased enforcement.
“Hopefully, this will keep the
honest guys honest and compli-
ance will increase,” he said.
Several farm organizations
said they would not oppose in-
creased enforcement.
“We could support increased
enforcement on dyed fuel,” said
Milk Producers of Idaho Exec-
utive Director Brent Olmstead.
“We don’t want people breaking
the law any more than anybody
else does.”
Hendricks said IFBF would
not oppose increased enforce-
ment since “we don’t condone
doing something that is illegal.”
Idaho barley yellow dwarf
outbreak forces replanting
Capital Press
BURLEY, Idaho — Barley
yellow dwarf virus is so ram-
pant throughout Southern Ida-
ho that growers in some areas
are opting to destroy fields of
infected winter grain and re-
plant, according to University
of Idaho crop experts.
Joel Packham, UI’s Cassia
County Extension educator,
and UI cereals pathologist
Juliet Marshall recently trav-
eled throughout Minidoka and
Cassia counties, finding about
85 percent of the winter grain
fields they observed contained
some level of the crop disease.
Marshall said she’s seen the
disease in fields spanning from
Parma to Ririe.
Barley yellow dwarf is
spread by aphids, but can’t
move from plant to plant.
Symptoms include yellowing
of leaves, stunting of plants
and roots, irregular and small
heads and emerging leaves
with scorched tips, twisting
and abnormal development.
Packham said the worst
infections occurred in Rupert,
Declo and the Golden Valley
south of Burley. He expects
yields to be down by as much
as 60 percent in many hard-hit
fields, where the effects of the
virus were compounded by dry
spring weather prior to irriga-
tion water becoming available.
“It was the general consen-
sus with the crop consultants
we were with that most people
would probably spray the field
with glyphosate (herbicide)
and wait three days and till the
grain, and then wait 14 days
to plant a spring grain,” Pack-
ham said in an April 1 alert to
Russell Patterson, who
farms in the Golden Valley,
has already destroyed 900
acres of severely infected win-
ter barley, which otherwise
looked beautiful, and replant-
ed spring barley.
His infection was so bad,
it killed Junegrass in borrow
pits. Patterson figured any
winter barley harvested would
have low yields and low test
weight, likely resulting in its
rejection as malt.
He said his multi-peril in-
surance should help him to “a
limited degree,” but he plans
to plant only spring barley
next season to avoid the risk.
This season’s infection oc-
curred despite the fact that he
followed recommendations to
plant after Oct. 1, when aphids
are normally less active, and
applied a protective seed treat-
ment. Patterson believes the
increase in corn acreage in his
growing area to supply dairies
has elevated the risk. Corn is a
silent host of the disease, sup-
porting the virus and aphids
but showing no symptoms.
Patterson also has dryland
winter wheat in Hazleton that
sustained spotty infections.
Patterson said barley yel-
low dwarf symptoms can eas-
ily be mistaken for nitrogen
deficiency due to the yellow
Brett Huse, a crop consul-
tant with Biowest Ag Solu-
tions in Aberdeen, has had a
few calls about barley yellow
dwarf and believes infections
are spotty throughout Power
and Bingham counties. He’ll
watch for the disease when he
scouts fields for weeds soon,
but acknowledges there’s not a
lot be done at this point.
Marshall said the early
break of dormancy in win-
ter wheat due to mild winter
weather resulted in premature
depletion of soil moisture and
plant stress, increasing disease
She believes monsoonal
weather last August was also
a major factor behind this
year’s outbreak, due to shat-
tered grain heads sprouting
in the fields, resulting in more
volunteer plants to harbor the