Forage-Based Agriculture on the Sloping, Highly Erodible Terrain in Northern Idaho: Implications for Rural Development
Agriculture and forestry are the primary economic engines of northern Idaho. Both industries are struggling. Agricultural revenues have been stagnant for almost 5 years, agricultural support and service industries have virtually disappeared from rural communities, and farmers have recently lost a major share of regional markets for barley and oats to Canadian products which benefit from transportation subsides. Planned reductions in local timber production are expected to result in job losses as high as 50% over the next five years. Forage-based agriculture offers excellent potential as an alternative enterprise to address both the economic and ecological challenges facing the area. Several areas in the northwest have revitalized their economies by diversifying to forage products. The area is well suited for the production of perennial grass hays and the recent development of prototype mechanized bale harvesting equipment compatible with the steep, highly erodible terrain in northern Idaho offers the foundation technology to support a rural development program to transition or diversify from cereal based cropping. Recently over 2000 tons of local forage products, much of which was harvested by this prototype equipment, was sold for export. The proposed research will make a comprehensive evaluation of the agronomic, equipment, economic, marketing and sociological issues associated with the feasibility of forage based agriculture as an alternative enterprise for rural development in northern Idaho.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Business Contact:Mr. Russel Stromberg
G&k Enterprises/black Ram
RR 1, Box 83A Princeton, ID 83857
Number of Employees: