Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Idaho Wheat

Driving to/from places like Arco, ID is one of my favorite times. I love being in the wide open spaces, without many cars on the road, able to cruise along seeing the incredibly beautiful American landscape. My trip from Jackson, WY to Arco and back, a total of about 7 hours on two different routes was especially enjoyable.

Not only did I drive through some incredible mountains and high mountain deserts but also some beautiful farms in those seven hours. In the agricultural areas I was surprised that potatoes seemed to rank behind wheat and alfalfa.

I learned that Idaho produces about 100 million bushels of wheat each year, with over ½ of it going into export markets, primarily to Asian customers. An oddity of Idaho is that it is one of the few places in the world where they grow five of the six different classes of wheat. They grow Soft White (made into cakes and cookies); Hard Red—both spring and winter (bread); Durum (pasta); and Hard White (Asian style noodles). The only one they don’t grow is Soft Red, which we grow here in the eastern Midwest (crackers).

From the looks of the new combines and tractors, it appears that wheat has been a very profitable crop for Idaho farmers.

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