Idaho Overrun by Large Creeping Creatures
First, cow is a generic term. Outsiders mean to say cattle. Second, cows are girls and bulls are boys (none apparently have identity issues). Third, there is a difference between beef cattle and dairy cattle. But I think we all understand the generic use of cow. It simplifies discussion.
Animal Health Digest explains Idaho is one of nine states in the country where cattle outnumber people. Drive across the Snake River Plain and you can see clear evidence. There are even areas in the panhandle with heavy concentrations of beef and dairy farms.
A friend of mine inherited a family dairy farm back east. It was considered large by local standards at 400 acres, however. Corporate farming has reached into rural America and the family farms have mostly been consolidated into much larger entities.
I had a conversation with a rancher south of Twin Falls. About ten years ago we met along a back road, where I was taking some pictures of the scenery. His family had more than 3,200 acres. As he explained it, my friend back east had better soil. More space is required here for grazing.
The thing is, there isn’t a shortage of land here. Or we should say there isn’t yet a shortage. Every time I spy a new housing development, I realize there’s going to be a pinch somewhere along the farming system.
The big battle of the future is between lobbyists. Builders versus agribusiness. In 25 years, cattle may be number two in Idaho. If interest rates drop, maybe sooner.