When Idaho potato and barley growers came to the July research day at Tetonia Research Farm, they didn't know they'd be leaving with packets full of new research data to help them become more efficient producers.
The event at the University of Idaho ag test site sponsored by the Idaho Barley Commission and Idaho Potato Commission attracted researchers with the most recent cutting-edge information on their industries.
It was significant in that it was the first-ever Tetonia field day showcasing what growers are getting for their check-off dollars, notes Dwight Little, IBC chairman and malting producer from Teton, Idaho.
"The barley commission did not hesitate three years ago to step forward and help fund the Tetonia research when the state funds were cut from the University of Idaho's research and extension budget," he adds. "We felt there was strong need , and we were confident that growers would want their dollars put to good use to continue important research that directly benefits them."
Barley and potato commission representatives attended the field day in force, he notes.
During the meeting, the barley commission announced their establishment of an endowment to support UI research on the crop. Barley generates $300 million for the state in 2012, up 32% from revenues of the crop a year earlier, reflecting growth in the industry.
Pat Purdy, IBC vice chairman and malting barley grower from Picabo, says that in an era of declining public budgets for ag research, growers cannot expect to maintain a high level of scientific studies without personally supporting the UI work.
"Tetonia is the front yard for the barley industry," says Donn Thill, Idaho Agricultural Experiment Station director. "The stations role in variety development and finding ways to produce more barley more efficiently is important to the industry's success."
Along with the barley commission, the state's potato and wheat commissions help support the station.