Idaho Farm Bureau Federation delegates reaffirmed their support for industrial hemp during the origination’s 80th annual meeting Dec. 3-5 in Coeur d’Alene.
The bureau has been supportive of industrial hemp production for more than two decades.
According to a press release from the bureau, Gov. Brad Little said at the Dec. 3 gathering he has no problem with hemp does have a problem with marijuana.
“From the start, I have stated I am not opposed to a new crop such as hemp, but that we need to be sure the production and shipping of industrial hemp is not a front to smuggle illicit drugs into and around Idaho,” Little said a Nov. 19 release from is office. That day, he issued an executive order to resolve conflicts between state and federal law related to the interstate transportation of hemp. The order serves as a stopgap measure until the Idaho Legislature enacts a more permanent solution; it does not legalize production of hemp or hemp products in Idaho.
The 2018 Farm Bill, passed by Congress last December, made it legal for farmers to grow, process and sell industrial hemp, which by federal law must contain less than 0.3% THC, the psychoactive compound that gets marijuana users high. According to experts, the release states, getting high from industrial hemp is virtually impossible.
The Farm Bill gave states the decision of whether to create their own policy on hemp. Idaho is one of three states in the nation that doesn’t allow hemp production.
Attempts to pass legislation that would legalize hemp production in Idaho are expected during the 2020 Idaho legislative session, which convenes in January.
The annual meeting draws in several hundred farmers, ranchers and their families, as well as industry leaders who come to watch as Farm Bureau voting delegates from across the state develop the policy that will guide the organization during the coming year. As Idaho’s largest general farm organization, the bureau represents 14,000 people involved with agriculture, according to the release.
The delegates tackled other issues important to those involved in the state’s agricultural industry, including water rights, land use, wolves, open range and grizzly bears. They also reaffirmed their support of Idaho Power’s cloud seeding efforts after a motion was made to alter IFBF policy on the issue.
During the three-day annual meeting, Bob Callahan, a producer from Latah County, was awarded IFBF’s President’s Cup award, which is the group’s highest award and goes to an individual who has committed themselves to the organization.
“Bob’s a workhorse and he is very wise,” IFBF President Bryan Searle, a farmer from Shelley, said in the press release. “When Bob opens his mouth, you better be listening.”
Running unopposed, Searle was voted to serve his third two-year term as president.
Richard Durrant, an Ada County farmer, was picked to serve as vice president. He won a two-way race between himself and sitting Vice President Mark Trupp, a producer from Teton.
During the convention, the bureau’s Women’s Leadership Committee presented Women of the Year awards to Ann Moedl of Franklin County, Carol Chamberlain of Custer County, Amie Taber of Gooding-Lincoln County Farm Bureau, Mary Blackstock of Owyhee County and Kathy Riebli of Boundary County.
Moj and Kelsey Broadie were presented with the Achiever in Agriculture award, which recognizes young farmers or ranchers who have excelled in their farming or ranching operation and honed their leadership abilities.
Craig and Erica Louder, farmers from Jerome County, were chosen to receive the Excellence in Agriculture Award, which spotlights young Farm Bureau members who are agricultural enthusiasts but have not earned a majority of their income from an owned production agriculture enterprise in the past three years.
The Achiever and Excellence in Agriculture awards are both part of IFBF’s Young Farmers and Ranchers program, which is open to Farm Bureau members between the ages of 18 and 35.
Sydnee Hill, a farmer from Blaine-Camas Farm Bureau, won the Young Farmers and Ranchers Discussion Meet during the annual meeting. The discussion meet helps producers hone their public speaking and problem-solving skills during a competition that is meant to simulate a committee meeting rather than a debate.
Rachel Spacek is the Latino Affairs and Canyon County reporter for the Idaho Press. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on twitter @RachelSpacek.