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Idaho agriculture supplies quality products for grocery retailers and consumers across the country.

Most likely, Idaho is a larger supplier to the retail industry than most people realize. Idaho is a diversified state producing over 1.62 different commodities and ranking in the top 10 in the nation for 26 different crops and livestock. In addition to having a strong fresh produce sector, Idaho is fortunate to have a strong manufacturing sector, Idaho food and beverage manufacturing includes companies headquartered in Idaho as well multinational corporations with processing facilities located in the state.

Idaho's most famous crop is potatoes and it produces nearly 30% of the potatoes harvested in the country with farm gate receipts topping $781 million in 2008. Idaho's fresh potatoes are known for their superior quality, high solids and strong promotional support from the Idaho Potato Commission, now celebrating their 70th anniversary promoting Idaho potatoes. In addition to superior fresh potatoes, the stale is supported by frozen and dehydrated potato processing, Idaho can meet the needs for french fries, hash browns, scalloped and mashed potatoes under a number of labels.

Also in the produce aisle is an array of tree fruits--apples, peaches, pears, pluots and cherries. Idaho's warm days and cool nights produce fruit with excellent flavor and color. These growing conditions are also perfect for an emerging table grape and wine grape sector. Idaho is also a supplier of sweet corn, green beans, winter squash and berries. To complement produce in the refrigerated case are Litehouse refrigerated salad dressings and dips--also Idaho products.

More than 25 % of the yellow onions in the U.S. are grown in the Idaho-Eastern Oregon area which includes Southwest Idaho and Malheur County, Oregon. Thirty-two packing sheds store, pack and market the onions along with several processors in the region which make whole peeled onions, individually quick frozen (IQF) dices and onion rings. One of the well-established brands is Wahoo! A new onion snack manufactured in Idaho can also be found in the grocery aisle under the Alexia label.

Over the last few years, Idaho agriculture has shifted from predominately crop production to livestock--milk and cattle--with livestock being Idaho's largest agricultural sector for five consecutive years. This shift has been led by dairy. Idaho is ranked as the third largest dairy state in the U.S. in terms of milk production and the third largest cheese producer. Idaho's dairy farm families have a proud heritage of providing healthy and wholesome dairy products enjoyed around the world. In addition to milk and cheese, Idaho supplies butter and ice cream for retail distribution.

Idaho's next largest livestock sector behind dairy are cattle and calves, sheep and lambs and hogs. A number of companies provide quality meal products including Agri-Beef, XL Four Star Beef, Independent Meat and Lava Lake and Livestock. One of the largest kobe beef producers in the U.S. is located in Idaho and markets premium meats under the Snake River Farms label.

As you go beyond the meat case to the grocery aisle, you will also find a cornucopia of processed foods. Wheat is Idaho's second largest revenue producer among crops. Wheat value-added products available to grocery stores include Casa Valdez tortillas, Rhoades frozen dough and bakeries, including Eddie's, Alpicella, Harvest Classic and Zeppole.

Idaho is the third largest sugarbeet producing state in the nation. Snake River Sugar Company, a grower-owned cooperative that controls Amalgamated Sugar Company and the While Satin label, processes sugarbeets at one of their three sugar processing facilities in Idaho.

The state is the 5th largest dry bean producer in the country. As such, canned dry beans are available from Idaho under a number of brands. Canned and frozen sweet corn are also distributed across the country.

One of the fastest growing agricultural sectors in Idaho is wine. A 2008 economic study by Boise State University identified the economic impact of Idaho grapes and wine at S73 million. In just seven years, the number of wineries has burgeoned from 11 to 39 with over 1,500 acres in vineyards producing many varieties of award winning wine.

In March 2007, Idaho received a well deserved American Viticulture Area (AVA) designation by the US Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau--the Snake River Valley AVA. Although those of us in Idaho knew how special the area was, the Snake River and Trade Bureau--the Snake River Valley AVA. Although those of us in Idaho knew how special the area was, the Snake River Valley is now officially recognized as a unique grape growing region capable of producing excellent wines.

In addition to major food processing, Idaho's abundant variety of agricultural products naturally creates an equally diverse specialty foods processing industry. Idaho has in excess of 100 small specialty food businesses producing everything from salsas, jams and jellies, sauces, apple cider, chocolates and baking mixes to honey, pickled vegetables, herb blends and much more.

And we can't forget Idaho's growing nursery industry. The nursery and greenhouse industry is Idaho's seventh largest crop generating over $88 million in sales in 2008. Idaho can supply floral departments with quality products from hanging baskets and bedding plants to poinsettias.

Idaho's rich agricultural production and food processing industry are supported by the Idaho State Department of Agriculture's Idaho Preferred program. Idaho Preferred is the Department's brand for products that are grown and processed in the state. For more information on suppliers of quality products from Idaho, don't hesitate to contact the Department at 208-332-8530.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Warm regards from the Gem State,

Celia Gould

Director

Idaho State Department of Agriculture

C.L. "BUTCH" OTTER

Governor

CELIA R. GOULD

Director
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Title Annotation:STATE OF IDAHO
Author:Otter, C.L. "Butch"; Gould, Celia R.
Publication:Grocery Headquarters
Date:Oct 1, 2009
Words:922
Previous Article:C.L. "Butch" Otter: governor.
Next Article:Choose Idaho: the Idaho Preferred program has helped to get the word out about the high-quality produce and other products coming from Idaho.
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