Dam breaching and trade

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Thanks for joining us…

I’m Jake Putnam, coming to you from my little Farm Bureau office a block from the Idaho Statehouse. We’re in the thick of winter, not much farming going on, but lots going on back in Washington.

Our Congressman Rep. Mike Simpson, last week floated a $33 billion plan that he thinks could help endangered salmon populations. The highlight of Simpson’s proposal calls for the removal of the four lower Snake River dams.

This is the first time any member of the Pacific Northwest Congressional Delegations has raised Dam breaching and this proposal would drastically impact three state economies…

The Idaho Farm Bureau is against breaching.

The lower four dams on the Snake River produce a lot of cheap and environmentally friendly hydroelectric power to the region. The dams and the waterway allows wheat farmers, and other commodities, to cheaply export their Ag products to the world.

When I say cheaply, because of the barges our farmers offer wheat at a competitive cost to the world market, jack that price up and no one buys it, especially the third world countries.

Removing the dams would make the Columbia-Snake River system unnavigable for barges that move the wheat and barley and other crops to Portland for export.

Barging is the cheapest and environmentally friendly way of getting wheat from Idaho and other states to the world market and the Columbia-Snake system is the third-largest grain export gateway in the whole world.

Idaho Farm Bureau President Bryan Seale says the Farm Bureau Federation, which represents 80,000 member-families across the state, including at least 11,000 farmers and ranchers, stands against the congressman’s proposal, Stay tuned, this issue is going to be front and center in the coming months.

Speaking about exports, stories broke this week about Ag exports to China, they’re one of our biggest trading partners of the Pacific Rim. With all the political intrigue, with Covid, and trade difficulties, China is buying again, our grain, some of our hay, they’re gonna buy only as long as the price is right:

And also breaking this week, Farm bankruptcies are on the decline; that sounds good but that doesn’t mean that they will be down in 2021.

That's the podcast for this week, the days are a bit colder and we will have snow later in the week, but the days are getting longer and it's 32 days till daylight savings time.

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