Monthly Archives: March 2011

HR 872: Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011

The U.S. House of Representatives is currently debating HR 872, a bill to clarify Congressional intent regarding the regulation of the use of pesticides in or near navigable waters.

Congressmen Raul Labrador and Mike Simpson are both co-sponsors of this legislation, but if you have friends or family living in other states, please encourage them to call their member of Congress and ask they support HR 872. The National Association of Conservation Districts has voiced their support for passage of this legislation, and is continuing to work hard to see passage of the bill around 2pm EDT today.

***UPDATE***  HR 872 passed the House floor with a bipartisan vote of 292 to 130.  Both of Idaho’s Congressmen voted in favor of the legislation.

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Job Announcement: Soil & Water Conservation Administrator

Last week, Sara Schmidt announced that she submitted her resignation as Idaho’s Soil and Water Conservation Administrator. While we were shocked and saddened, we know she will be a great success in her next endeavor!

The State of Idaho is now seeking an Administrator to provide leadership and direction in carrying out the mission of the Commission. The Administrator will work closely with the 50 local conservation districts in Idaho, provide leadership to the Idaho Soil & Water Conservation Commission (SWC) staff; and administer multiple state and federal programs, in accordance with code, rule and cooperative agreements.

If you’d like to apply, or if you’d like to see more information about the position, please click here to be taken to the full announcement.

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IASCD Presenting Before House Agriculture Affairs Committee

On March 22, 2011, the Idaho Association of Soil Conservation Districts will be making a presentation before the House Agriculture Affairs Committee at 1:30pm MDT (12:30pm PDT). We’ll give a short Power Point slide show that focuses on how districts are leaders in natural resource conservation and education, and then take questions from committee members.

If you’re in Boise, please stop by and support locally led conservation! The hearing will be held in the State Capitol Building in room EW20. Also, you can listen to the hearing by clicking here, and then scrolling down to Agriculture Affairs under the House Committees section.

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Celebrate National Ag Day Tomorrow: Thank a Farmer!

In case you were not aware, this week has been deemed National Ag Week, and tomorrow is National Ag Day. This is a day to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by agriculture. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack wrote an editorial with a number of facts about US agriculture that are simply mind blowing. American Agriculture is truly an economic engine for our nation and our state.

When it comes to conservation, producers have reduced soil erosion by more than 40% and are national leaders in restoring wetlands. Idaho has over 18,000 acres of land enrolled in Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, and based on the land enrolled, Idaho saves over 36,000 acre feet of water per year, and approximately 146,000 tons of soil are saved due to decreased wind and water erosion.

In order to celebrate Idaho farmers, IASCD encourages you to make a meal this week using as many Idaho products as possible. Here are a few ideas!

A Simple Idaho Steak
Coat steaks in olive oil; sprinkle with fresh cracked pepper and salt.
Grill medium-rare to medium
Add a pat of butter on top of steak after removing it from the grill.

Grilled Idaho Trout with Bacon
Fully rinse inside and outside of trout, and blot dry with paper towels.
Add your favorite seasonings; add a few Idaho onions to the inside of the fish.
Wrap trout with two bacon slices (use butcher’s string to secure bacon to the fish).
Heat your grill to medium-high and grill fish for 7 to 10 minutes; trout should be browned on the outside and cooked through.

As always, have an Idaho potato as a side. It doesn’t matter if it’s baked, mashed or grilled!

Pick up a six-pack of beer from an Idaho brewer who used Idaho hops, barley, or wheat, or a bottle of your favorite Idaho wine.

And since it’s almost Spring, how about some homemade vanilla ice cream using Idaho dairy products and Idaho sugar?

4 eggs
2 1/2 cups sugar
6 cups whole milk
4 cups light cream (whipping cream works too)
2 Tablespoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
Beat eggs until light. Gradually add sugar until mixture thickens. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. You can use an electric mixer. Freeze in an ice cream maker, and eat well!  You may want to hide this from your kids.

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Next Week’s State Senate/House Committee Hearings; Federal Update

A few legislative items for your Friday afternoon, and a reminder to set your clock an hour forward at 2am Sunday morning!

Next Week in the Idaho State Capitol Building…
The Senate Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing on Tuesday March, 15th at 8am on S. 1085, a domestic cervidae bill. This legislation would provide for a certified domestic cervidae herd to define a term, to provide for the establishment of certain requirements and assessment of risk, to provide for inventory identification, chronic wasting disease sampling, and submission. It would also provide for waiver requests, for reduction of herd status, and clarify testing provisions for herds not certified. Finally, It provides for fees imposed on cervidae, and provides for the creation of a domestic cervidae program fund within the State treasury. You can listen to the hearing by clicking here, and scrolling down to Senate Committees – Agriculture Affairs.

On Wednesday, March 16th, the Senate Resources and Environment Committee will hear eight bills dealing with water. These bills are:
H. 136
H. 137a
H. 138
HCR 16
H. 22
H. 24
H. 25
H. 31
This hearing starts at 1:30pm, and you can listen to the hearing by clicking here and scrolling down to Senate Committees – Resources and Environment Committee.

On the House side, the State Affairs Committee will hearing H. 242, an eminent domain bill authored by Rep. Jim Guthrie (R-District 29). This hearing will be on Monday, March 14th and start at 8am. Click here, and scroll down to the link  House Committees – State Affairs to listen to the hearing on your computer.

From the United States Capitol…
Senator Mike Crapo introduced legislation to reduce the beer excise tax for America’s small brewers. The appropriately titled BEER Act (Brewer’s Employment and Excise Relief Act) will help create jobs at more than 1,600 small breweries nationwide, which collectively employ nearly 100,000 people. The bill number is S. 534, and you can track the bill by clicking here. It’s currently pending a hearing in the Senate Committee on Finance, of which Senator Crapo is a member.

Senator Crapo stated in a press release, “Like any private business, craft brewing is all about supply and demand. In touring Idaho last year, I met with many craft brewers who are seeking to expand their business because they are seeing increased demand for their product. In addition, this legislation will expand the ready markets for our barley, wheat and hops producers in Idaho. I remain optimistic this bill will pass this year to create new jobs and new markets.”

Finally, Congressman Mike Simpson’s Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies held a budget hearing for the Bureau of Land Management on March 10, 2011. Chairman Simpson questioned BLM Director Bob Abbey regarding a number of issues, including the Wild Horse and Burro program, grazing on public lands, and the Administration’s new “Wild Lands” policy. Said Simpson, “With the current budget crisis facing our country, I find it puzzling that the BLM requests $50 million for land acquisition and $1 billion for the new America’s Great Outdoors initiative when it has difficulty managing the land it already holds.”

You can read Chairman Simpson’s opening statement by clicking here.

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Legislative Update: March 9. 2010; TOMORROW: Committee on Ag EPA Hearing Information

On March 2, 2011, we posted a legislative update that included H. 192, a bill prohibiting the use of eminent domain for transportation corridors. That bill has been re-introduced by Rep. Jim Guthrie, and is now H. 242. The new bill simply cleans up some language on how eminent domain will not be used for limited transportation corridors that are not critical to the greater public good. There were no other changes, and Rep. Guthrie will move forward with H. 242.

We also alerted you to an upcoming US House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture hearing regarding EPA regulations. That hearing is tomorrow (March 10) and starts at 12pm MST (11am PST). EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is scheduled to testify first. If you click here, you’ll be taken to the Agriculture Committee’s Live Audio/Video page so you can listen to the hearing.

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Recap of Dave Radford’s Hearing in the Senate Ag Committee

Senator Tim Corder started the hearing promptly at 8am, and called Dave Radford to the lectern to give opening remarks. Mr. Radford was unable to attend the hearing in February due to an accident.

Mr. Radford first thanked the committee for allowing him to speak and take questions today, and said he was grateful for the opportunity to be considered for the position on the Soil and Water Commission. He’s a county commissioner in Bonneville County, and was recently elected to his fourth term. Mr. Radford worked for 3 United States Senators (Steve Symms, Larry Craig and Bob Dole). He also served as the Executive Director of the Idaho Republican Party in the late 1980s.

As a county commissioner, Mr. Radford has worked with the two districts in Bonneville County, and he stated he was very impressed with their work. Mr. Radford has been deeply involved in the production of agriculture all his life, and understands the work districts do to increase production. He has worked on weed control issues, and stated the fifty districts are key players in the eradication of noxious and invasive weeds. Mr. Radford said that all the projects soil conservation districts have on the ground are invaluable to agriculture. He concluded his remarks by thanking Dick Bronson, Roger Stutzman and Bill Flory for their leadership, and Sara Schmidt and all the SWC staffers for their wonderful work.

Chairman Corder opened the floor for questions. The first came from Senator Jeff Siddoway, and he asked what were Mr. Radford’s ideas on the conflict on whether the money is kept for the SWC or distributed to the districts? Mr. Radford responded that in order for the districts to be successful, you need a good SWC staff as well.  He stated a good balanced needs to strike between the SWC and the districts. SWC did roll down additional funds to districts this year, and some counties are working with districts on in-kind contributions such as office space, desks, vehicles. But, Mr. Radford said that on-the-ground projects are where the best work is done, with the help of good SWC technical staff so the projects stand up to good science.

Chairman Corder asked the next question and referenced Mr. Radford’s application. Mr. Radford wrote that he believes “in the organization’s mission and service to our state and area.” Chairman Corder asked Mr. Radford what he thought that mission was. Mr. Radford answered that we need to keep what works, and be nimble to accept change as a part of doing business. He hopes to bring that flexibility to the Commission. Mr. Radford wants to generate partnerships with other agriculture groups in the state to bring improvements. He wishes to be the fresh eyes on the SWC to view how they function now, and how they can be in the future. He wants to be that voice that says, “This can work for us.”

The question and answer session ended at 8:15am, and the Committee thanked Mr. Radford for his time.

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