Dec. 29, 2015

NNU’s IdaBOT Could Change Local Farming

Researchers at Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa are developing a robot that could tackle time-intensive farm tasks all on its own.

Using radio frequency identification, the IdaBOT would move through a vineyard and orchard on its own and target specific trees or vines to precisely complete those tasks.

“Our goal is to try and reduce the costs for the orchard owners or the vineyard owners by building something that can take the pressure off some of their workers,” said Josh Griffin, an assistant professor of engineering at NNU.

Griffin and fellow engineering professor Duke Bulanon received more than $80,000 from the Idaho State Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Grant Program to make the project happen. They plan to use the funding to hire two students and develop the IdaBOT over the next two years.

Mar. 14, 2016

Crop Diversity Increases in Canyon County

A turnip seed field south of Lake Lowell is next to a mint field, which is not far from a potato field — and a recently planted field of sorghum and millet.

Farmers in Canyon County grow a lot of crops besides just potatoes.

From 2007 to 2014, the number of crops grown in Canyon County went up 43 percent, according to the CropScape map produced by the National Agriculture Statistics Service. With more than 40 different kinds of crops grown, Canyon County leads the state in crop diversity.