Population growth

Population growth

David Sparks Ph.D.
David Sparks Ph.D.
The primary focus of Boundary County Farm Bureau is helping educate the county’s youth through farm and ranch programs such as FFA and 4-H.

Increasingly, though, farmers and ranchers in Idaho’s most northern county are thinking of ways to educate the newcomers flocking to the area about agriculture.

“There are a lot of new people here who know nothing about agriculture and so far we haven’t done much to reach them, but we know we need to do something to educate these people about agriculture, too,” says Elizabeth Wood, who owns and operates a cattle operation near Naples and is a member of the BCFB board of directors.

Though the growth occurring in the county hasn’t reached the almost out-of-control levels seen in some other parts of the state, Boundary County is starting to experience accelerated growth, says Tom Daniel, who farms hay and wheat in Bonners Ferry.

“We’re seeing what for us is a large influx of people into the county and they’re coming from all over,” says Daniel, a member of Idaho Farm Bureau Federation’s board of directors.

“The price of property has skyrocketed as a result,” he adds. “That makes it hard to buy a piece of land to farm on because the value is way up.”

Daniel says the growth hasn’t caused major issues for the county’s agricultural industry yet, as it has in the Treasure Valley of southwestern Idaho, but it’s starting to get to that point.

“It’s definitely on our doorstep, coming,” he says.

Like most of northern Idaho, Bonners Ferry, the county’s largest city, has been discovered and people are moving into the area in droves, says Bob Smathers, IFBF’s regional field manager in North Idaho.

“Like Kootenai County to the south, land here is being gobbled up and developed,” he says. “This usually does not bode well for agriculture, but fortunately the pace of growth in Boundary County is not as crazy as in other areas in northern Idaho; but it is happening.”

As of right now, the Boundary County Farm Bureau’s big focus is on helping youth, Wood says.

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