Rules for the old burn barrel

Out back of the house near the garden, hidden behind a hill of wildflowers, is my burn barrel. The burn barrel has long since lost its coat of paint, smoked away with the first hot fire. The barrel had a former life as a 55 gallon drum containing some forgotten liquid. It now stands ready to consume whatever I might … Read More

Right to farm

It is a common story in Idaho that has been repeated over and over. Developer buys farm ground outside of City. Developer builds subdivision and sells lots. City folk buy lot and build dream home in subdivision with beautiful views of the neighboring farmer’s property. Not long thereafter the city folk’s home is full of smoke from farmer burning his … Read More

Open range

Last summer I stood on my front porch and looked out onto the county road in front of my home. Standing in the middle of the road was a lone Holstein heifer. I chuckled, happy that for once it was not my cow. I then hollered at my kids and we walked out to the road. There were no cars … Read More

Noxious weeds

June and July are months in which our family dutifully weeds the yard and garden. However, August brings a flurry of family activities. There is the family vacation, the County Fair, the family reunion, the oil change, the flat tire, the raspberries. On top of this school starts soon and there are the backpacks, the shoes, the clothes, the paper, … Read More

Home on the range

Oh, give me a home Where the buffalo roam, Where the deer and the antelope play… Many of our grandparents or great-grandparents came west with the promise of land. They came west to carve a new home out of the land where the deer and the antelope play. They needed land for farming and land for grazing livestock. Today, farmers … Read More

Giving a security interest in farm products

Most farmers and ranchers will at one time or another visit with their banker to obtain financing. Most folks are familiar with the fact that when they finance a home or other real property that the bank will demand a mortgage or deed of trust to secure payment of the loan. If you fail to pay the loan, the bank … Read More

Food safety

Idaho farmers and ranchers raise quality food products. Some of the most important food products produced include dairy, beef, potatoes, wheat and barley. Farmers and ranchers have a duty under the law to make sure these products are safe for human consumption. Listeria-tainted cantaloupe was the source of the most deadly food-borne illness in the U.S. in the last decade. … Read More

Field burning in Idaho

One of the first signs of spring in Eastern Idaho is the smoke. Farmers and ranchers burn ditches, slash piles, and weeds. While effective at cleaning ditches and getting rid of weeds, burning fields requires prior approval. In 2007, after a northern Idaho group called Safe Air For Everyone challenged Idaho’s field burning laws, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of … Read More


The grass was greener on the other side. Or at least my cows thought so. They jumped the fence, or went under the fence, or perhaps through the fence, and joined my neighbor’s herd. I called my neighbor and told her that it would not hurt my feelings if she fed my cows all winter long. My neighbor laughed, but … Read More

Droughts and rain dances

This year has been a record year for lack of rainfall. Eastern Idaho has been affected by drought conditions with rainfall falling behind the yearly average. Even the recent rain and snow has not relieved the drought. Fortunately Eastern Idaho is blessed with mountains where snow tends to fall with abundance in the winter. When that snow melts in the … Read More