In 2008 there were 25,200 farms in Idaho. Of those, 54 percent produced an annual income of more than $10,000, a relatively high rate by national standards. Many of the remaining farms were sidelines for operators who held other jobs. Farmland occupied 4.6 million hectares (11.4 million acres), of which 51 percent was used to grow crops. While some of the rest of the land was tended pasture, the majority was rangeland used for grazing livestock.
The principal farming areas lie in the valleys of the Snake River and its tributaries, where vast irrigation projects have transformed the formerly dry lands into a productive farming region. In most of southern Idaho, precipitation is not sufficient to provide croplands with water. The chief nonirrigated farming area in Idaho is located in the northern part of the state. This area includes the Palouse section, which lies partly in Washington and which is the site of the fertile Palouse Hills. Dry-farming techniques are used to grow wheat and other crops in this nonirrigated area, especially in the vicinity of Lewiston and Moscow.
Potatoes and wheat are the two principal crops in Idaho. Idaho is the leading producer of potatoes in the nation, accounting for one-third of the national production. Most of the Idaho potatoes are grown on irrigated land along the Snake River.
Wheat is grown mainly in the Lewiston area. In areas that receive less than about 380 mm (about 15 in) of rain a year the wheat is grown by so-called dry farming techniques. The land is cultivated for one year and is left uncultivated, or fallow, the following year. Successful dry farming is dependent on the storage of moisture in the soil during the fallow year for use the next year. In more humid areas the land can be cultivated every year. There, wheat is grown in rotation with peas, which greatly improve the fertility of the soil. Other major field crops are hay, beans, sugar beets, and barley.
The principal fruit-growing area is in southwestern Idaho, where apples, plums, peaches, cherries, and grapes are grown. Vegetables are grown throughout the Snake River valley. Specialty crops grown in the state include alfalfa seed, hybrid sweet corn, peppermint and spearmint, red clover seed, a great variety of vegetable seeds, hops, and nursery products such as sod grass for lawns and ornamental trees. Idaho is an important cattle-raising state and is the 8th largest sheep-raising state. Cattle and sheep are raised in large numbers in the mountains and the drier sections of the state. The leading cattle-raising areas are in the Snake River valley.
In summer many ranch cattle herds are grazed on rangelands high in the mountains; in the fall they are returned to the ranches in the valleys, where they are fed on hay and other fodder crops during the winter months. Beef cattle raised on farms remain there throughout the year and are fed on alfalfa and other fodder crops and on by-products of other crops, such as peas. Dairy cattle are raised on irrigated pastures, mostly in the western Snake River valley. They provide milk and other dairy products for the urban centers of Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Sheep are raised principally on the Columbia Plateau and in the Basin and Range region, in the southern part of the state. They graze on the higher mountain rangelands in summer and on the valley grasslands in winter. Idaho is a leading wool-producing state and a major lamb-producing state. Hogs and also chickens are raised, mainly in the Snake River valley. "Idaho" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
Photos of European countries to visit
Photos of Asian countries to visit
Photos of America