Mazes, U-pick patches make for seasonal fun

Becky Cook / for Farm & Ranch
Getting a straw maze planned and implemented is labor and time intensive. Here Derek Jones positions one of the 1-ton bales into place at a straw maze located in Archer, south of Rexburg, while one of his assistants ensures that there is enough room in the walkway.

RIRIE — With beautiful weather and crisp air, fall is a favorite time to get out and enjoy local haunts — corn mazes, straw mazes, and pumpkin patches. It’s this allure that keeps growers like Joseph Ashcraft growing pumpkins and other vegetables each year.

Idaho Envirothon inspires students to learn

Courtesy of Steve Steubner
The Idaho Envirothon team from Weiser High School waves state flags and Canadian flags in April after winning the state competition that earned them the right to travel to the North American Envirothon in Toronto, Canada.

CHALLIS — More than 80 kids from 10 high schools in southern Idaho rolled into the Living Waters Ranch in Challis for an intense, two-day natural resources education event called the Idaho Envirothon last spring and now they’re getting ready for the 2017 event.

Another record sugar beet crop may be in making

Bill Bradshaw /
A couple of loaders keep busy Tuesday at the Liberty beet dump southwest of Blackfoot by loading sugar beets in rail cars for shipment to the Amalgamated Sugar Co.'s Nampa sugar processing plant. There wasn't a lot else to do early this week, as heavy rains kept most harvesters out of the muddy fields.

Last year’s sugar beet crop was amazing — a record breaker — and this year’s crop looks to be even better, if it will stop raining long enough to get the beets out of the ground, that is.

Amalgamated switches from coal to natural gas

Courtesy of the Amalgamated Sugar Co.
The Amalgamated Sugar Co. plans to switch from coal to natural gas to heat its boilers at its Nampa sugar production plant. The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality is seeking public comment on Amalgamated's proposed air-quality permit.

NAMPA — The Amalgamated Sugar Co. expects to significantly reduce its emissions by switching to firing only natural gas from two of its boilers.

UAVs give bird’s-eye view of farms for sale

Kathy Corgatelli NeVille / for Farm & Ranch
Mark Richardson, of Idaho Falls, pilots a drone at a ranch that is being sold near Idaho Falls. The unmanned aerial vehicle gives a bird's-eye view of rural properties at a fraction of the cost of a helicopter or fixed-wing aircraft.

Advances in unmanned aerial vehicle technology and the regulations governing them are leading to a rapid increase in use.

Potato crop looking good in S.C. Idaho

Michel Matthews / The Times-News
Workers sort recently harvested Norkotah Russet potatoes at Eagle Eye Produce in Twin Falls. It’s still early, but so far the crop is looking good, benefiting from early-season warmth that aided growth and lower summer temperatures that reduced stress.

TWIN FALLS — “A pretty good year” is how potato growers describe 2016’s crop.


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