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While agricultural employment in many Idaho counties has fallen in recent years, seven south-central Idaho counties are reaping the benefits of a vibrant dairy industry that has brought jobs and money to their economies. A study conducted by Boise State University looked at the economic impact of the dairy industry in Idaho, in particular the seven south-central counties of Cassia, Elmore, Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka and Twin Falls counties, where the majority of dairy employment occurs. In fact, from 1997-2005, these seven south-central Idaho counties represented 27.0 percent of the total agricultural employment in Idaho; however, they were responsible for 48.2 percent of the growth in the state’s total agricultural employment.

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Since my arrival at Utah State University last August, I have been putting together a statewide bulk tank milk culture survey for detection of mycoplasma mastitis. It has now been funded, and the project will take place, probably during the spring or summer of 2007. Many Utah dairy producers are signing up for participation in the project. However, I want to contact as many of the 291 dairy producers in Utah as possible to encourage all to participate. Notice of the study, eligibility and other details include:

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Dairy producer Kay Carter recently signed an affidavit saying his farm wouldn’t supplement its 180 cows’ milk production by using rBST. Carter of Preston, Idaho, says the processor accepting milk shipped from his farm made the request for “rBST-free” milk last fall.

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Japanese dairy producers seek out ways to increase milk quality and decrease the incidence of mastitis.

Bill Gehm was most proud of the milking system he was installing at a Japanese dairy when the dairy’s owner interrupted his dinner. Sitting in a restaurant, a Japanese corporate dairy officer accompanying Gehm on his tour relayed a hurried message from the dairyman.

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The largest agricultural exposition in the world will soon expand to include an additional 100,000 square feet of dairy exhibits. World Ag Expo’s leadership will move forward with the construction after the 2007 show ends and will debut the new project at the 2008 Expo.

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