Celebrating Idaho's farm industry, with a special tribute to the Magic Valley production region, University of Idaho let folks know about the "epicenter of agriculture" in the state during the annual Kimberly Research and Extension Center "Twilight Tour" late last month.
Magic Valley agribusiness generates two of every three dollars in sales in the six-county area's economy, according to tour speaker John Hammel, deal of the University of Idaho's College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.
Agribusiness yields about 60% of the exports, or "new money," that flows into the economy of south central Idaho's Magic Valley, said Hammel. "This is why the college's missions of research, extension and education are vital to the Magic Valley and the state."
One-third of all jobs in the state are created by ag exports, he said. Milk, cheese, potatoes, sugar and fish are among the chief ag products of the valley.
Magic Valley, comprised of parts of Twin Falls, Jerome, Gooding, Lincoln, Minidoka and Cassia counties, accounts for a fifth of the state's dairy sales.
Celebrating its 120th anniversary this year, the Kimberly station remains a center of ag research for the Pacific Northwest.
"Things have changed a lot in the last 12 years," said speaker Steve Hines, UI Extension Jerome County crops educator with the Extension Service. "We wanted some up-to-date numbers to tell what's going on with agriculture. The amount of money that's involved and that moves through the economy is a lot bigger. It just dramatically increased in some cases, some by more than 100%."
Hines wrote the analysis which contained the Magic Valley ag statistics.
Magic Valley agriculture accounts for half of Idaho's total cash receipts, he noted, estimated at $5.8 billion in 2010, and $7.4 billion last year.
In his report, he said that new efficiencies in ag production have led to fewer jobs on the farm.
While Magic Valley is known as a crop area, it is also big in fish. The region is the nation's leading producer of rainbow trout.