For years, Idaho has been at the top or near the top of lists of states with positive population increases.  What impact is that increase in people relocating to the state having on the politics and in turn the farming community across the Gem state?  Rick Naerebout, CEO of the Idaho Dairymen’s Association said it’s led to a lot of uncertainty.


“What is that end result if we get an influx of individuals from California, Washington and Oregon, do they shift our politics to the right or the left?  And that’s really the basis of many of our questions.  And what we’ve seen is, those population growths have actually shifted our politics to the right, and not the left.  And that has been a bit of a surprise.”


Naerebout noted that’s had mixed results for the dairy industry.  He pointed to the CAFO improvement fund legislation that moved through Boise last year as an example.  That legislation authorized a $5 million funding pool for cost share money for producers to do environmental projects on their dairy.


“The bill passed both the House and the Senate handedly, but all of the no votes that we had on that were from Republicans and not Democrats.  And that surprises a lot of dairymen, because they assume that if someone is going to vote no on something we’re trying to do legislatively, it’s going to be the democrats.  We had great support from Democrats on that legislation.  It was right leaning Republicans that voted not that didn’t want to see money appropriated to support our industry.” 


Naerebout noted often people think Republicans support businesses, but the dairy industry in Idaho is learning that is not always the case. 


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