Sunday, April 30, 2017
Saturday, April 29, 2017
Farm Bureau Responds to President’s Tax Plan
WASHINGTON – The following may be attributed to American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall: “Farmers and ranchers need a tax code that promotes the business of farming and ranching and recognizes the unique financial challenges we face. Farm Bureau welcomes a pro-business approach to tax reform, but any tax reform proposal must treat all businesses fairly. Most farm and ranch businesses don’t operate like large corporations: they are family-run businesses that depend on deductions and provisions that give them the flexibility they need to keep their businesses running in all seasons."
“Lower tax rates will go a long way in helping farmers and ranchers. But the future of other important provisions for agriculture—like immediate expensing, the deduction for interest expense, cash accounting and like-kind exchanges—is still unclear to us. Farmers run their businesses in a world of uncertainty—from unpredictable markets to uncertain weather and disease outbreaks. The tax code should not add to the challenges of growing our nation’s food, fuel and fiber. We are ready to work with the administration and Congress to address all of agriculture’s needs in the tax code.
“Farm Bureau is pleased to see President Trump’s plan will immediately take on one of our top concerns, the estate tax. Eliminating the estate tax will free farmers to invest in the future of their family businesses rather than selling off their land and legacy when a family member dies. Farmers and ranchers have already benefitted from congressional action to reduce this burden, and we’re ready to bury the death tax once and for all.”
Friday, April 28, 2017
Water Users: Flood control releases counted as irrigation water
Boise—The Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation has released close to a million acre feet of water from the Boise reservoir system for flood control so far this year.
While that helps solve flood control problems in the Treasure Valley, some water users say its creating another.
Water users are saying that all that water released at Lucky Peak is being counted as used irrigation water by the State even though the irrigation season hasn't started.
“The State says that water sent down river for flood control counts against the total amount of irrigation water we’re allowed during the summer months,” said Roger Batt, Executive Director of the Treasure Valley Water Users Association.
Batt says the lost water counts against farmers as if they had used it on crops, pastures, gardens for irrigation,“Its beyond any rational explanation,” he said.
The Treasure Valley Water Users worry that when the snow melts and we face a long scorching hot summer farmers could be shorted their fair share of water late in the summer because of the State’s water accounting system.
“It defies common sense, flood control is not considered a beneficial use under Idaho water law to satisfy a water right. None of our members that have used the operating plan for six decades would have done it knowing that flood control releases would be counted against their storage water rights,” Batt added.
The Treasure Valley Water Users Association stresses that they’re not against the Army Corps of Engineers flood control efforts, they’re against the state’s accounting of the water.
“So this year while we released 950,000 acre feet of water, its important to know that we can store a million but by August we might be out of irrigation water,” said Batt.
The association says farmers start using reservoir water by June, and that theres no way released water could have been put to use because its been such a wet year. Farmers, subdivisions even golf courses that depend on irrigation water could be cut off under state rules if we run out of water toward the end of summer.
“If irrigation had to be turned off this summer our yards and gardens everything would dry up, our crops and pastures would dry up, we wouldn't be able to produce food,” says Batt.
How the State releases irrigation and how its counted is now an issue before the Idaho Supreme Court. The Department of Water Resources says the water users are making a broad assumption.
“Their concern is that somehow they’ll be prevented from capturing that water in the reservoir thats not clear to me. I don’t know what would prevent that from happening,” said Mat Weaver of the Idaho Department of Water Resources.
“Our water users want to know why the state is challenging the validity of our long-standing water rights?’ They want to know why water thats released for flood control can be counted against them as irrigation water thats already used,” Batt said.
Thursday, April 27, 2017
State Resolutions Meets in BoiseBoise--Idaho Farm Bureau Vice President Mark Trupp called the State Resolution Meeting to order just after 10:00 this morning at the Farm Bureau headquarters in Boise.
Representatives from five state districts attended the meeting along with IFBF staff members.
The resolutions are the result of a year-long grassroot effort, involving input from every county in Idaho.
The centerpiece of the Idaho Farm Bureau's annual meeting in December is the House of Delegates meeting. Those delegates will study, amend and debate todays resolutions.
Successful policy resolutions adopted by the delegates will become part of the IFB's 2018 policy book. The Idaho Farm Bureau policy book will be sent to agriculture groups, city councils, county commissions, the state legislature and the U.S. Congressional Delegation.
Idaho Farm Bureau has represented grassroots agriculture in Idaho since establishment in 1939, and is a non-profit advocacy organization that supports Idaho farm families.
TRUMP ORDERS NATIONAL MONUMENTS UNDER REVIEW
WASHINGTON – At the Department of the Interior today in Washington, President Donald Trump, with Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, signed the Antiquities Act Executive Order.
The order directs Zinke to meet with local governments and tribes to review all national monuments created by the Antiquities Act since January 1, 1996. They’re looking for monument designations that are greater than 100,000 acres in footprint and report back to the President within 120 days.
They’re looking for monuments that don’t meet enabling rules and regulations. The Antiquities Act of 1906 authorizes the president to declare federal lands of historic or scientific value to be national monuments by designating the "smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected.”
“The Department of Interior is the steward of America’s public lands. Part of being a good steward is being a good neighbor and being a good listener. In the Trump Administration, we listen and then we act," said Secretary Ryan Zinke. "For years, the people of Utah and other rural communities have voiced concern and opposition to some monument designations. But too often in recent history, exiting presidents make designations despite those concerns. And the acreage is increasing.”
Since the 1900s, when the Act was first used, the average size of national monuments exploded from an average of 422 acres per monument. Now it’s not uncommon for a monument to be more than a million acres.
The designations of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in 1996 and the Bears Ears National Monument in 2016 are considered the book-ends of modern Antiquities Act overreach. Each monument is more than 1.3 million acres.
"Historically, the Act calls for the President to designate the 'smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected,'" Zinke continued. "Despite this clear directive 'smallest area' has become the exception and not the rule. Under the President's leadership, I will work with local, state and Tribal governments to review monument designations made the past 20 years and make sure they work for the local communities.
"The view from the Potomac is a lot different than the view from the Yellowstone or the Colorado. Too many times, you have people in D.C. who have never been to an area, never grazed the land, fished the river, driven the trails, or looked locals in the eye, who are making the decisions and they have zero accountability to the impacted communities. I'm interested in listening to those folks. That's what my team and I will be doing in the next few months.”
What the Executive Order does do:
• The Executive Order directs the Department of the Interior to review monuments designated using the Antiquities Act as of January 1, 1996, that are in excess of 100,000 acres, or monuments that were expanded without adequate public outreach and coordination with relevant stakeholders.
• This Executive Order restores trust between local communities and Washington and roots out abuses of power by previous administrations.
• This Executive Order puts America and the Department of the Interior back on track to manage our federal lands in accordance to traditional "multiple-use" philosophy by directing the Secretary of the Interior to make recommendations to the President on whether a monument should be rescinded, resized in order to better manage our federal lands.
• This Executive Order gives rural communities across America a voice and restores land use planning by directing the Secretary of the Interior to consult and coordinate with the Governors of States affected by monument designations or other relevant officials of affected State, Tribal, and local governments.
What the Executive Order doesn’t do:
• This Executive Order does NOT strip any monument of a designation.
• This Executive Order does NOT loosen any environmental or conservation regulations on any land or marine areas.
Sugarbeets break all-time production record
American Falls—Rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of American Falls farmer Conrad Isaak. He found out Wednesday morning that Amalgamated Sugar Company broke the all time beet processing record this year.
Amalgamated said that Idaho farmers harvested a record 7.2 million tons of sugar beets last year and they did it on 2,000 fewer acres and turned out 2.34 billion pounds of sugar.
“Theres a lot of pride with the growers over what we did and how we went about doing it. Beets are the best of the bad right now. Take a look at grain prices they’re in the $3’s and $4, that’s not good. I don't grow potatoes but I hear that they are not the best either. Beets are the most stable crop we’re growing right now and we’re proud,” said Isaak.
According to the University of Idaho, sugarbeet revenues are up 2-percent over last year. Isaak and his family harvested 350 acres of beets last year, they credit greater efficiency and using the best products out there.
“We had good beets with good tonnage and good sugar percentages across the board. I think our farming practices definitely improved and I have to thank the company, the field agronomists and consultants. They helped us a lot to do a better job,” said Isaak.
Amalgamated Sugar Company is owned by the Snake River Sugar Company, a cooperative owned by 750 producers that grow sugarbeets on about 182,000 acres in Idaho, Oregon and Washington.
Amalgamated credits their members with the production milestone.
“The ability to raise a quality sugarbeet crop and the capacity to process that crop requires highly-skilled dedicated people and cutting-edge technology on the farm and in the factories,” said company President and CEO John McCreedy.
McCreedy says without competitive advantages, the company would not have the sustainable agricultural practices or efficient factory operations. He says genetically engineered sugarbeet seed has nearly doubled productivity and allowed farmers to cut back on pesticides and save irrigation water.
“In my opinion we’re a lot better off today,” said Isaak. “We’re using less chemical and thats good for the environment and good for the beets.”
Isaak says he sprays once or twice a year with roundup, if they have a spot problem, they’ll spray again.
“In the old days I spray a beta mix four or five times in a year and still not get them all. We’d have a crew of workers come in and hoe the beets and we could never find enough workers and never get rid of the weeds. Roundup makes it easy today, we don’t need as much labor and we’re not beating up the crop with all those chemicals, that’s why we had a record yield this past year,” said Isaak.
Isaak says besides roundup, all the conditions in raising the crop were perfect, and it could be years before all the conditions perfectly align again.
“I think it was really an abnormal year, to try and duplicate it would be tough quite honestly. We had the right amount of water, nice hot days and we planted early last year. We’re already late this year and I hope we can do it and keep building on the record, but I think it’s going to be a tough record to break,” said Isaak.
Isaak spent the day waiting to get planting equipment in the field, but heavy rains in Power County kept him from the fields. He did have time to mull over the great 2016 harvest, the harvest that all others will be compared for years to come.
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
AFBF’s President Duvall Joins in Historic White House Ag Roundtable
WASHINGTON– During a meeting with farmers and ranchers, President Donald Trump pledged today that his administration, including newly installed Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, would work to address critical challenges faced by agriculture, according to American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall.
Duvall was among 14 farmers and ranchers from across the country who met at the White House today with Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Perdue for a roundtable discussion. The meeting, held on the day Perdue was sworn into office, included a discussion on pressing issues for American agriculture, such as trade, labor, regulatory reform and rural infrastructure.
“Not only was President Trump receptive to our concerns, but he pledged action,” Duvall said. “He even looked toward Secretary Perdue and said, ‘Let’s get these problems fixed.’ Today, agriculture had not just one but many seats at the table to share with the president how access to international markets, farm labor shortages and burdensome regulations impact not only the day-to-day business of our farmers and ranchers, but also the millions of jobs agriculture supports.”
Attendees at the meeting:
- Luke Brubaker of Pennsylvania, dairy farmer and chair of the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board
- Hank Choate of Michigan, dairy farmer
- Tom Demaline of Ohio, president of Willoway Nurseries and vice chair, AmericanHort
- Zippy Duvall of Georgia, beef cattle and poultry farmer, president, American Farm Bureau Federation
- Valerie Earley of Minnesota, recent graduate of the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences; National FFA officer (central region vice president), 2016-2017
- Lynetta Griner of Florida, owner/operator of Usher Land and Timber, president of the Florida Forestry Association
- A.G. Kawamura of California, third-generation fruit and vegetable grower and shipper from Orange County; former secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture; current board member, Western Growers Association
- James “Cookie” Lamb of North Carolina, hog farmer
- Bill Northey of Iowa, corn and soybean farmer and secretary, Iowa Department of Agriculture
- Jose Rojas of Colorado, vice president of farm operations at Hormel Foods
- Terry Swanson of Colorado, owner of Swanson Farms
- Maureen Torrey of New York, fresh market vegetable farmer
- Steve Troxler of North Carolina, farmer and commissioner of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services
- Lisa Johnson-Billy, former member of the Oklahoma state house, small-farm background
During the meeting, President Trump signed an executive order that acknowledges a reliable, safe, and affordable food, fiber and forestry supply is critical to America’s national security, stability and prosperity.
The order also establishes an interagency task force, to be chaired by Secretary Perdue, charged with identifying legislative, regulatory and policy changes that would enhance American agriculture, rural economic development, job growth, infrastructure improvements, technological innovation, energy security and quality of life in rural America. The report from the task force is due within 180 days.
Today’s event is a historic occasion, as it is believed the last time such a diverse group of farmers met with a U.S. president this early in an administration was prior to the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980.
Potatoes off to a slow start
Idaho Falls— Widespread rain across Idaho left water standing in fields and conditions too wet for planting throughout the month of April.
Between storms farmer and IFBF President Bryan Searle got some planting in. He grows potatoes, barley and wheat and says his operation in Bonneville and north Bingham County are behind almost two weeks.
“We’re planting in the areas that aren’t too wet. What we’re worried about right now are the soil temperatures. The seeds are wet and cold and even though they're going into the ground, they’re going in cold and that presents potential problems if it doesn't warm up.”
The last few weeks Idaho farmers have averaged just 3-4 days of fieldwork and most of Idaho is behind schedule.
“We’re behind from last year by a week on our north properties at least 10 days. I checked the records, a lot of guys planted the 10th of April last year, so we’re behind,” said Searle.
In the Blackfoot, Shelly and Idaho Falls area there are farm operations that haven’t moved equipment because of cold soil temperatures and mud.
“Last year we had the crop planted, so its delayed. That could make us a more susceptible disease later but that happens when you plant late,” said Searle.
March was one of the wettest months on record capping off a year in which precipitation levels approached 150-percent of normal in Southeast Idaho and well above normal throughout the state, according to data released by NASS.
The big question in the potato world is how many acres will go into spud production and will the spuds reach the break even point.
“How many potatoes are going in? I don't know,” said Searle. “There are financial issues, some farmers are not getting financed, others are shopping for a bank and some are rolling with the dice. I don't know how many acres will be planted statewide, my projection is that acres will be down from last year because its tough getting loans, but that's what I see in my world.”
As for prices, Searle can only guess. “It’s hard to project the market at this point, all I know is that we’re late but we do know we’ll have plenty of water,” he said.
Since 2000, the average US market price for fresh potatoes ranged from a low of $7.34 per hundredweight for the 2003 crop to a high of $14.44 for the 2008 crop, according to the US Department of Agriculture
Following the potato market cycle of one to two years of high prices, they usually are followed by a couple of years of low prices. For those that subscribe to that theory, potatoes should see higher prices in the 2016-17. Ryan Larsen, a market extension specialist out of Utah State University has studied the cycle and presented a paper at the University of Idaho's 2017 Agriculture Outlook conference.
He said the USDA baseline forecast is for $6 per hundredweight. He quoted another source that gave a single moving average of $6.50 to $6.60 per hundredweight, while the third — which was more risky — ranged from $7 to $8. “If you’re looking for a bright spot,” Larsen said, “potatoes at least has a chance of breaking even.”
“From American Falls to Caldwell those potato growers had a good year last year. They had high contracts and great yields and they had overages, so those guys shipped to the upper valley the last few years and flooded our market. Eastern Idaho is struggling, we’ll be late again and I expect acres to be off, but if we can get to break even, that’s good,” said Searle
Back to farming, many upper Valley areas in Southeast Idaho were still covered in snow at the end of March and there were 3 days of valley snow in April. Mountain sno-tell sites were still picking up snow throughout April.
The USDA reports that potatoes are behind with just over 10 percent planted. Sugarbeets are 12 percent, same as the five-year average. And onions are at 9 percent, quite a bit behind last year, when farmers had 33 percent planted.
Through it all Bryan Searle is optimistic about the coming year.
“We’re rolling today, planting spuds in our North fields and the spud planter is moving. There are areas where they are not, it's raining at my house but dry 25 miles north, the soil from Blackfoot north is ready to go,” Searle said.
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
April live cattle futures, which will be traded until the end of the week were down 0.7% in morning deals, down from the 17-month-highs the contract made on Friday.
The total number of cattle on feedlots was pegged at 10.90m head, up 0.5% year-on-year, and the largest April inventory since 2012.
The supply of cattle that on Apri1 1st had been on feed for more than 120 days calculates to 3.122 million head, 15.4% less than a year ago. The supply of 150 day cattle is down 40%. This is the larges on feed inventory for the month of April since 2012.
Low Interest Emergency Physical Loss Loans Available for 16 Idaho Counties with Assistance to Producers in Surrounding States
Boise – U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency Acting Administrator Chris Beyerhelm today announced that physical loss loans are now available for 16 counties in Idaho.
Farmers that have suffered major property damage caused by blizzard, excessive snow, excessive rain, freeze, flooding, flash flooding and high winds that started on Dec. 22, 2016 to now, are eligible for emergency loans.
The FSA's Physical Loss Notification has been issued for Adams, Benewah, Blaine, Bonner, Boundary, Butte, Custer, Gooding, Jerome, Kootenai, Lemhi, Lincoln, Payette, Shoshone, Twin Falls and Washington counties as the primary damaged area.
Additionally, 16 Idaho counties are next door to these designated disaster areas, are also eligible for programs based on this disaster designation. The contiguous counties are: Bingham, Boise, Camas, Canyon, Cassia, Clark, Clearwater, Elmore, Gem, Idaho, Jefferson, Latah, Minidoka, Owyhee, Power and Valley.
The following contiguous counties in surrounding states are also eligible for emergency loans:
Montana: Beaverhead, Lincoln, Mineral, Ravalli and Sanders counties
Nevada: Elko County
Oregon: Baker, Malheur and Wallowa counties
Washington: Pend Oreille, Spokane and Whitman counties
Emergency loans may be made available to any applicant with a qualifying loss in the counties named above. Approval is limited to applicants who suffered severe physical losses only.
Physical loss loans may be made to eligible farmers and ranchers to repair or replace damaged or destroyed physical property essential to the success of the agriculture operation, including livestock losses. Examples of property commonly affected include essential farm buildings, fixtures to real estate, equipment, livestock, perennial crops, fruit and nut bearing trees, and harvested or stored crops and hay.
Producers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans for physical losses.
Please contact FSA for more information on loan eligibility and the application process. FSA office information is available at http://offices.usda.gov. Additional FSA disaster assistance program information is available at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.
Monday, April 24, 2017
Farm Bureau Welcomes New Ag Secretary
Washington– The following may be attributed to American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall: “Farm Bureau heartily congratulates Secretary Sonny Perdue on his new role leading our nation’s Agriculture Department. We are eager for agriculture to finally have a seat in the president’s cabinet, and we know Secretary Perdue is just as eager to get to work for farmers, consumers and rural America.”
“Secretary Perdue is a long-time friend to me and farmers across Georgia, and soon to the millions of men and women across our country who feed and clothe our nation. He is a real-world farmer himself and knows the business inside out. He understands the impact farm labor shortages, trade agreements and regulations have on a farmer’s bottom line and ability to stay in business from one season to the next. There’s important work ahead for the secretary, and he’ll need to address these challenges against the backdrop of the biggest drop in farm prices and income we’ve seen in decades. But just like America’s farmers and ranchers, I know Secretary Perdue isn’t afraid of a hard day’s work. We are confident he is the right man for the job at hand.”
Census of Agriculture Countdown Begins for America’s Farmers and Ranchers
Boise – Idaho farmers and ranchers have the chance to strongly represent Idaho agriculture and their industry by taking part in the 2017 Census of Agriculture.
The Census is taken every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. The census survey is mailed out at the end of this year and is a complete count of all U.S. farms, ranches, and those who operate them.
The last Idaho survey revealed that the average age of the typical Idaho farmer is 57.6 years, 39,122 are white, 1,113 are latino. There are 2,995 full-time women farmers in Idaho.
"It's important that Idahoans stand up and be counted because the Census of Agriculture remains the only source of uniform, comprehensive, and impartial agriculture data for every county in the nation," said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “As such, census results are relied upon heavily by those who serve farmers and rural communities, including federal, state and local governments, agribusinesses, trade associations, extension educators, researchers, and farmers and ranchers themselves.”
The Census of Agriculture shows land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures, and other topics. The 2012 Census of Agriculture revealed that over three million farmers operated more than two million farms, spanning over 914 million acres. This was a four percent decrease in the number of U.S. farms from the previous census in 2007. However, agriculture sales, income, and expenses increased between 2007 and 2012. This telling information and thousands of other agriculture statistics are a direct result of responses to the Census of Agriculture.
“Today, when data are so important, there is strength in numbers,” said Hamer. “For farmers and ranchers, participation in the 2017 Census of Agriculture is their voice, their future, and their opportunity to shape American agriculture – its policies, services and assistance programs – for years to come.”
Producers who are new to farming or did not receive a Census of Agriculture in 2012 still have time to sign up to receive the 2017 Census of Agriculture report form by visiting www.agcensus.usda.gov and clicking on the ‘Make Sure You Are Counted’ button through June. NASS defines a farm as any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the census year (2017).
Friday, April 21, 2017
PRESIDENTIAL DISASTER DECLARATION SIGNED FOR 11 SOUTHERN IDAHO COUNTIESBoise – President Donald J. Trump signed a Presidential Disaster Declaration today for 11 southern Idaho counties, triggering the release of federal funds to help communities repair public infrastructure damaged by severe winter storms and related flooding from February 5 through March 3.
Damage assessments in Bingham, Cassia, Elmore, Franklin, Gooding, Jefferson, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka, Twin Falls and Washington counties exceed $30 million. Many primary and secondary roadways were damaged beyond repair, forcing residents in some areas to get around in small boats or kayaks.
“We are grateful that President Trump acted quickly to support parts of Idaho struggling through one of our worst weather-related disasters in recent memory,” Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter said. “But it’s important to remember that areas of Idaho beyond these 11 counties also were impacted and now face the threat of serious flooding as a result of our heavy winter snowfall. This is great news, and there should be more to come.”
Last month the State of Idaho requested a Presidential Disaster Declaration for five Idaho counties affected by severe winter snow in December 2016 and throughout the month of January. Residents in Ada, Canyon, Custer, Payette and Washington counties sustained widespread damage to roofs, roadways and additional infrastructure as a result of record snowfall. That request was denied and the State has appealed.
“The destruction caused by all this water is breathtaking in its scope and magnitude,” said Brad Richy, deputy chief of the Idaho Office of Emergency Management. “The assistance made available through this Presidential Disaster Declaration will go a long way in repairing disaster damaged public infrastructure. There is still a lot of flooding going on around the state. It is critically important that all Idahoans heed the warnings for flooded areas, and be prepared for worst-case scenarios.”
Information on signing up for alerts and warnings, along with Flood Watch information, can be found at www.IOEM.Idaho.gov. The Idaho Emergency Operations Center also remains activated due to ongoing spring flooding statewide.
Boise River Flows Increasing to 8,800 cfs
BOISE–The Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will increase flows from Lucky Peak Dam Friday, April 21 due to a continued wet pattern forecasted for the Boise River drainage. An extremely large mountain snowpack and continued above-normal precipitation have resulted in significantly less flood control space in the Boise River reservoirs than is required.
Irrigation demand has also been slow to start with the wet and cool conditions in the Treasure Valley. Flows through the City of Boise will increase 250 cubic-feet-per-second (cfs) from the current flow of 8,550 cfs to approximately 8,800 cfs on Friday, April 21.
The adjustments in releases from the reservoir system are necessary to help reduce the risk of more severe flooding later in the spring, which can happen with rapidly melting snow and seasonal precipitation. A flow rate of 7,000 cfs is considered flood-stage level at the Glenwood Bridge gauge on the Boise River.
At 8,800 cfs, additional sections of the Boise Greenbelt adjacent to the river will be submerged, and erosion of river banks will continue to be a significant problem. Minor flooding will continue to occur on sections of Eagle Island and in other low spots near the river.
Some roads in low-lying areas may experience flooding. Some homes and businesses may experience water in their basements due to subterranean water level increases. Floating debris could become a problem if large quantities collect on bridges and impact river flows.
Local emergency management officials strongly advise staying away from the river shoreline and areas posted as closed to the public. Boise River reservoirs are at approximately 68 percent of capacity. More flow increases are possible in the coming weeks, depending on weather conditions.
For real-time Boise River flows at Reclamation facilities in the Pacific Northwest Region, visit http://www.usbr.gov/pn/hydromet/rtindex/boise.html.
Eastern Idaho snow still in mountains, Flood managers worried
Rexburg—Reports indicate that there is still enough snow in the mountains above Palisades reservoir to fill it three times.
Last month the Bureau of Reclamation reported that the Palisades Dam released 19,500 cubic feet of water per second. Should it reach 20,000 cfs, an emergency could be declared in Madison County, according to the Bureau of Reclamation.
The Army Corp has furiously been releasing water at Palisades but still has water in the reservoir. They hope to have it empty by May 1st, just in time to catch the last part of the snowpack. But most of last winters snowpack is still in the Mountains.
In a special Statehouse meeting on Wednesday, the NRCS reported thats it is still snowing at most mountain snow-tell sites in Eastern Idaho. In normal years Eastern Idaho mountains start to lose snowpack by late March.
Idaho Governor Butch Otter says Eastern Idahoans should pray for mild temperatures to allow snows to melt slowly.
“As I’ve traveled around the state in the past three months, I’ve seen firsthand the destruction caused by this unprecedented weather. Now the snow that in some areas is continuing to fall is turning into runoff that’s filling our rivers and reservoirs to overflowing, threatening people and property statewide,” Governor Otter said. “Most of our counties have declared disasters, and we’re working to get assistance and relief deployed wherever it’s needed as quickly as possible.”
Lt. Col. David DeLarosa of the Army Corp of Engineers says Eastern Idaho counties are preparing for possible flooding that could reach levels as high as those recorded in 2011. At that time water poured over embankments and flooded portions of Beaver Dick Park for several weeks. The previous winter, snowpacks were at 180 percent of normal, according to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services.
“We started vacating space in Jackson Lake and Palisades weeks ago. We’ve cleared 1.4 million acre feet in anticipation of what’s coming off those mountains. Right now Palisades is 13 percent of capacity, the potential of flooding in Eastern Idaho is high,” said DeLarosa.
The Army Corp says they’ve done everything they can operationally to to make space for melting snow. “But we must prepare for the flood fight thats still to come,” said DeLarosa.
Thursday, April 20, 2017
This home near Parma has been flooded since February, Ritter photo
Idaho Faces Flood Emergency into the Summer months
Boise-Idaho Governor Butch Otter says the state faces a flooding emergency.
"We've got to get the word out that this is a disaster waiting to happen and we don't need people to add to it by getting on the river," Otter said.
This as city and county administrators work to get across the severity of the situation at hand.
Boise Mayor Dave Bieter echoed the governors comments saying the Boise River is running above flood stage.
"We've closed the Greenbelt in many, many areas. Far more areas are closed than are open because of the unpredictability of this situation,” said Bieter.
Canyon County Commissioner Tom Dale says all the runoff from Boise runs through Canyon County. Its so wet that farmers cannot irrigate to ease flooding and areas along the Boise and Snake Rivers are treacherous.
"I had a report from a rancher just last week of a bull being washed away. It got too close to the bank and if a bull can get washed away, a kid can get washed away, you can get washed away as an adult. So if that bank is not stable that river is powerful,” Dale said.
Snowpack in the mountains should be melting, but most snotel sites report gains around the state. According to NRCS snow depth is more than double the average in many areas. That means that counties, cities and homeowners need emergency plans in place now, because three warm days in a row could be disastrous.
Water managers said on most days water is coming into the Boise reservoir system faster than what the Army Corp of Engineers is letting out. Over time it's eaten into the remaining capacity, which the Corp says is at 32 percent; only half of what they have normally at this time.
"We have made a very calculated decision to this point to keep the flows at where they're at, we absolutely could have released enough water to match up with those record run-offs, but the result would have been absolutely flooding Boise," LTC Damon Delarosa with the Army Corp of Engineers said.
The Bureau of Reclamation, Board of Control and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will run the river at high flows over a longer period of time and into the summer to avoid even larger releases that could flood residential areas.
In Eastern Idaho snowpacks are 120 to 150 percent of normal, they’re still waiting for the big runoff, and managers say they can’t keep up. At Palisades and other reservoirs above the Snake River they've been releasing water for months. The flood emergency could stretch into the June and July, according to the Corp of Engineers.
The Idaho Office of Emergency Management says the initial damage estimates from flooding, avalanches, and mudslides from all across the state are in the excess of $62 million. The state has applied for federal aid, but was denied.
Otter announced an appeal to that decision is in the envelope and plans to be sent off Wednesday.
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Boise—Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue's meet the Idaho Press. The first question they faced is what to d...