Governor signs wolf control bill

BOISE (EMI) — In response to requests from farmers and ranchers, the Idaho Legislature approved a permanent method for dealing with the control of wolf depredation issues in the state. On Feb. 27, Gov. Brad Little signed SB1039 into law.

It makes the Idaho Wolf Depredation Control Board permanent. The board directs and manages funds for wolf depredation control in Idaho and was originally scheduled to sunset in June of 2020.

Rep. Laurie Lickley sponsored the bill on the House floor.

“This law protects Idaho’s rural communities, ranchers, farmers, and sportsmen,” Lickley said, “and is a long-term solution with a three-way partnership between livestock owners, sportsmen, and the Idaho Legislature. Idaho is further ahead than our neighboring states but still has a lot of work to do.”

Wildlife Services has conducted 207 depredation investigations for 115 ranchers in 16 counties in this fiscal year. The take on Idaho wolves by hunters and trappers has leveled out in recent years to about 300 annually. Idaho’s Fish and Game issued over 40,000 permits and extended the season last year.

Water bill heads to Senate

BOISE (AP) — Legislation that supporters say is critical to preserving a historic water agreement between two sets of water users and is intended to prevent declines in a giant Idaho aquifer relied on by farmers and cities has passed out of a Senate committee.

The Senate Resources and Environment Committee voted unanimously Monday to send to bill to the Senate for possible amendments.

A similar bill failed on a tie vote last week, but the committee voted to reconsider the bill on Monday after several technical changes.

The 2015 agreement is intended to stabilize the level of the Lake Erie-sized East Snake Plain Aquifer so that surface users and groundwater pumpers have a reliable source of water.

The legislation would give the state additional authority to cut off water to groundwater pumpers ignoring the agreement.

Corn stocks increase in Idaho

OLYMPIA, Wash. (USDA) — Idaho corn stored in off-farm locations Dec. 1 totaled 12.1 million bushels, up from 8.44 million bushels a year earlier, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Corn stocks were down in the rest of the Northwest Region and nationwide.

In Oregon, corn stored in off-farm locations totaled 701,000 bushels, down from 1.11 million bushels a year earlier.

In Washington, corn stored in off-farm locations totaled 10.7 million bushels, down from 13.6 million bushels a year ago.

Nationally, corn stored in all positions totaled 12 billion bushels, down from 12.6 billion bushels. Off-farm stocks were down 7 percent, while on-farm stocks were down 4 percent.

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