Recharging the East Snake Plain Aquifer

The Eastern Snake River Plain Aquifer extends from St. Anthony to Twin Falls and King Hill. It is 170 miles long, and as wide as 60 miles. The aquifer is made of mostly broken basalts. Like a giant sponge, this broken basalt holds water. As deep as 4,000 feet, water flows most easily in the upper few hundred feet. If … Read More

Invasive Species

The 2017 Idaho Legislature has passed a bill authorizing additional funding to the Idaho Department of Agriculture to prevent invasive species from entering the state. Invasive species are harmful, non-native, plants and animals that damage Idaho’s ecosystems and environments. Idaho’s Invasive Species Act of 2008 prohibts any person from importing, transporting, or introducing invasive species into the state without a … Read More

Be Sure to Know Your Rights to Water Your Stock

The water right rule in Idaho, both before and since the adoption of the Idaho Constitution, is that the first in time is the first in right. The constitutional method of appropriation generally requires an actual diversion of water in order to obtain a water right. However, no diversion from a natural watercourse or diversion device is needed to establish … Read More

Overtime Pay and Minimum Wage

On December 8, 2016, two dairy workers in southern Washington state sued their employer for overtime pay. The class action lawsuit is challenging a long-time part of federal labor laws that exempts agricultural employees from overtime pay requirements. This suit is the latest in a line of cases across the country. Agricultural workers are using the courts to break down … Read More

Budgets and Operating Loans

Farmers and ranchers are businessmen. Just like any other business, farmers and ranchers need a budget. A budget forces a farmer to set in writing expectations for expenses and income. A good budget will show the relationship between expenses and anticipated income, and assist in making decisions. For example, if your budget shows that you can’t make your loan payment, … Read More

Weight a Minute

You’ve just harvested your potatoes and are hauling them to a processing facility when you see a weigh station up ahead. Then it dawns on you that you have no idea how much weight you’re pulling. This scenario happened to a client who found out the hard way that the State of Idaho takes its weight restrictions seriously. Historically, the … Read More

6 Sure Ways to Make a Family Farm a Failure

Most farms in Idaho are family-owned and operated. Here are some good ways to make a farm fail: Believing that the farm can financially support any and all family members who want to work on the farm. Farming is a business and expenses cannot exceed cash flows. You must consider whether the business can really support a family member. Presuming … Read More

Be Sure to Know Your GMOs

There has been a lot of news lately on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), but what exactly are GMOs? The USDA defines genetic modification as the “production of heritable improvements in plants or animals for specific uses.” In short, genetic engineering transfers specific traits, or genes, from one organism into another. How extensive are GMOs in farming? Soybeans provide a good … Read More

What To Do With a Neighbor’s Tree

The neighbor’s tree branches come across the property line. The suckers from their poplars are coming through the lawn. Their leaves seem to fall in your yard, but not theirs. What is a landowner to do? Idaho adopted the common law of England when it became a state. The common law is that part of English law derived from judicial … Read More

Coming up: The Transport Rule

Almost all food that we buy in the grocery store is transported either by truck or rail. The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) will soon require that vehicles and transportation equipment be suitable and cleanable to assure the safe transport of food. This new transport rule applies to shippers, receivers, loaders and carriers who transport food in the United States … Read More