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     In response to disruptive activities by agents of Cesar Chavez at harvest time in 1970, several Idaho commodity organizations formed Food Producers of Idaho under the leadership of Phil Batt of Wilder.

      The first mission of this new group was to seek the enactment of farm labor legislation to remove collective bargaining from the law of the jungle.  Such a law was passed by the Idaho Legislature in 1971 with a termination date of March 31, 1972.

      In the spring of 1972, Food Producers approached the Legislature with a law written by Boise attorney Richard Fields.  The 1972 version was patterned closely after national legislation.  The Legislature provides for secret elections where necessary and also defines fair and unfair labor practices for employers, workers and their unions.  A five-person labor board administers this law which has never been challenged in the courts.  Two board members were selected by Food Producers, two by the Migrant Council and the final selection by the Governor.

      From this small beginning, Food Producers of Idaho has grown into a strong alliance of over 40 Idaho agricultural organizations.  It has made significant contributions to the Idaho legislative scene.  It has always been a strong supporter of a comprehensive noxious weed control program.  In 1976, Food Producers was successful in getting the Legislature to adopt the federal penalties that were a part of the federal pesticide statutes.  This made it possible for the Director of Idaho Department of Agriculture to gain quick approval for certain agricultural chemicals on an emergency use basis.

      In 1975 Food Producers of Idaho inaugurated a program of bringing congressional legislative and committee assistants to Idaho to experience life on our farms and ranches as houseguests of their host families.  Since its inception, over 100 individuals have visited the Gem State under this program.  Our new friends have done great things for Idaho agriculture.  Food Producers of Idaho annually sponsors this Idaho Agricultural Fact-Finding Tour for congressional staff personnel and Federal agency employees who are given the opportunity to visit Idaho and learn first-hand about agriculture and natural resource issues.

     Food Producers of Idaho is involved in a number of special projects to promote and educate people about the agriculture industry.  In 1994 Food Producers created the first Agriculture Pavilion at the Western Idaho Fair in Boise.  The Pavilion gives fair visitors an up close look at the Idaho agriculture industry.  The Pavilion has also been displayed at the Eastern Idaho State Fair and the Twin Falls County Fair.

      Other projects of Food Producers include the Idaho Ag Summit, special events surrounding National Ag Day and Agriculture/Earth Day and the development of the Agriculture-Natural Resource Industry Political Action Committee (ANRI-PAC).  Another event is the Ag All-Star Recognition of legislators based on their voting record of agriculture issues.

      Food Producers of Idaho meets weekly during the Legislative Session (January–March) and throughout the remainder of the year on a monthly basis.  Special committees within Food Producers deal with issues such as labor, transportation, water and industry relations.  Membership in Food Producers is in three categories:  Voting, Non-Voting and Individual.

      Food Producers deals with key issues that face all of Idaho .  Strict guidelines determine whether Food Producers establish a position on an issue.  Food Producers is a unique organization.  We know of no other state that has such an agricultural organization.  It lets the world know that we in Idaho Agriculture are united.

For Additional Information
Rick Waitley, Executive Director
55 SW 5th Avenue, Suite 100
Meridian ID 83642

Ph: 208-888-0988
FX: 208-888-4586
Email - rick@amgidaho.com

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