Congressional aids tour Treasure Valley farm country

Idaho hosted eight congressional aides from Washington, D.C., August 12-16. The program was sponsored by Leadership Idaho Agriculture Foundation, with a number of partners from agriculture commodity and farm organizations involved in the tour.

The following aids and staff members participated: Craig Anderson, with Rep. Austin Scott, R-Georgia; Christian Pierre-Canel, with Rep. Al Lawson Jr., D-Florida; Lauren Hodge, with Rep. Rick W. Allen, R-Georgia; Jeffrey P. Kratz, and Rachel Pearce, with Rep. Don Bacon, R-Nebraska; Annick Miller, with the House Subcommittee on Water, Oceans & Wildlife; Andrew Neill, with Rep. Russ Fucher, R-Idaho; and Trevor White, a House Agriculture Committee staff member.

The guests visited production agriculture farms in the Treasure Valley, learning about growing potatoes, hops, onions, turf, mint, wine grapes and seeds. The group also toured a dairy and Lucky Peak Reservoir and the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise. The tour concluded with Gov. Brad Little joining the group for a graduation celebration at Leku Ona.

The tour’s coordinator was Brad Griff, executive director of the Idaho Sugarbeet Growers Association. Griff, a former staff member for Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, participated in similar tours and was instrumental in initiating the program to highlight the importance of agriculture and natural resources.

A second tour is planned during the August recess of Congress in 2020 but will be held in another part of Idaho.

Program gives fourth-graders access to federal recreation sites

WASHINGTON – Fourth grade students can get a free annual pass to visit more than 2,000 federal recreation areas with their families, classmates, and friends.

The Every Kid Outdoors Program is an interagency collaboration between the Department of the Interior, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and U.S. Forest Service that provides fourth graders with free access to explore, learn, and recreate in spectacular settings, including national parks, wildlife refuges, marine sanctuaries, and forests.

The bipartisan John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management and Recreation Act, which was signed into law by President Trump on March 12, authorized funding for the program for the next seven years.

Fourth-graders may download a participation voucher at the Every Kid Outdoors website. It’s valid for multiple use between Sept. 1, 2019 and Aug. 31, 2020. The voucher may be exchanged for a keepsake pass at participating federal lands. It grants free entry for fourth graders, all children under 16 in the group, up to three accompanying adults or an entire carload.