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Legislative Tour: Giving a Face to the Farmer

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By Aimee Burnett

Gooding, Idaho (KMVT-TV) The Idaho Farm Bureau Federation is made up of farm and ranch families who work together to keep agriculture strong.

This weekend, the Gooding/Lincoln County Farm Bureau gave a Legislative Farm Tour to highlight agriculture in the Magic Valley.

"Farming is our community," said Steve Ballard, Ballard Family Dairy & Cheese Plant.

Agriculture drives the economy in southern Idaho.

That was the message Steve Ballard and other local farmers were trying to convey to lawmakers Saturday.

"The object of this venture was to get legislators and local community government together with farmers to talk about different issues that affect our business," said Ballard.

The purpose of the day was to highlight the important role that agriculture plays in the Magic Valley and give a face to the farmer.

"Talking with the legislators and the people who might be running for office for the future and just letting them know how their decisions will eventually affect us," said Ballard.

Ballard is the president of the Gooding/Lincoln County Farm Bureau.

His dairy farm and cheese plant was one of three stops along the legislative tour.

"It's the added value of our cheese production to our dairy and how to lower the cost of production to consumers by changing our power sources," said Ballard.

To remain competitive the Ballard's have made energy efficient improvements through government grants.

They've added solar panels and made numerous upgrades within their cheese plant.

"We had these built for us specially," said Stacie Ballard.

"It's lowering our operating costs and that's about what it is on the dairy side, is trying to figure out how to mitigate your risk and lowering your cost of production," said Ballard.

Emphasizing the importance of making changes to stay ahead of the competition and the tough economy.

Also, on the tour was the Blind Canyon Aqua–Ranch facility in Wendell and the Donley Farms Dairy in Shoshone.



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