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Idaho governor’s awards recognize excellence in agriculture

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter recognized six people with the Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Agriculture at the 2013 Idaho Ag Summit.

The Marketing Innovation Award went to Clark and Debbie Kauffman, of Filer. The Kauffmans started farming in the Filer area in 1974. They grow hay, barley, sweet corn, silage corn, seed peas, onion seed, sugar beets and vegetables. They grow, package and market Idaho’s Hearty Barley Soup, and have been involved with barley research for eight or nine years.

The Education/Advocacy Award went to Gayle Anderson, of Genesee. Anderson writes the award-winning blog A Glorious Life of a Farmwife, along with the blog Farmer’s Inc, The Real Story. Anderson’s blogs cover planting and harvesting, farm expenditures, government regulations, crop insurance, machinery, labor, weather, and mitigation of diseases, pests and weeds.

The Technical Innovation Award went to Robert Blair, of Kendrick. Blair took over his family’s farm in 2001. By 2006, he had started using unmanned aerial vehicles to improve farming processes. He grows winter and spring wheat, malt barley, peas, lentils, garbanzo beans, alfalfa seed and alfalfa hay. He and his family also run a cow/calf operation. Blair has also started two businesses, PineCreekPrecision and BUZZuav.

The Environmental Stewardship Award went to Nick Purdy, of Picabo. Purdy has managed the Lava Lake Ranch since the age of 16, after the sudden death of a ranch foreman. He has expanded Picabo Livestock Company from a cow/calf operation to farm with more than 4,000 acres of irrigated hay and barley. Purdy and his father, Bud, donated a nearly 3,500-acre conservation easement to the Nature Conservancy in 1995, and have dedicated time and resources to improving their land, which borders Silver Creek.

The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Marvin Wittman, of Lewiston. Wittman began managing the family’s registered Hereford business at the age of 17 when his father died. He and his brothers, Bob and Dan, partnered to run the operation until Wittman semi-retired in 1985. The Wittman Farm was recognized as the National Millennium Farm of the Year in 2000 in recognition of four generations of commitment to environmental stewardship and the Camp Wittman education program. Wittman served a term in the Idaho State Legislature in 1972 and served on an agriculture advisory committee in the governor’s office for 16 years.

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