March 29, 2019
Contact: Sean Ellis, (208) 220-5428
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Air Force training could jam GPS devices in Bruneau area
BOISE – Idaho Farm Bureau Federation is encouraging farmers and others to show patience during a U.S. military training exercise that will be conducted April 1-5 southeast of Mountain Home Air Force base.
The exercise will occur near Bruneau and Air Force officials told Idaho Farm Bureau that devices such as tractors that rely on the use of the Global Positioning System may malfunction.
Planting season is underway in many parts of Idaho and Air Force officials said they reached out to the state’s agricultural industry as a courtesy to inform farmers about the possible temporary disruption to agriculture equipment.
“We want to be sure we inform those who may have agricultural equipment or other devices that may be impacted ahead of time,” Capt. Margaret Kealy-Machella, a spokeswoman for Mountain Home Air Force Base, told IFBF in a statement.
“We thank you for your patience and understanding as we undertake one of our largest training events of the year, with over 12 participating units, including our international partners,” she said.
Kealy-Machella said the training exercise will ensure “that we strengthen our interoperability, (which is) key in preparing for real-world combat that we may undertake with our partners and allies.”
She told IFBF the Air Force wanted to make sure farmers in the area knew about the exercise ahead of time so they didn’t end up losing money or wasting their time.
“Our partnerships off the base are important to us,” she said.
According to Kealy-Machella, the Air Force anticipates that devices in the area that rely on GPS may malfunction at points between 9:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 3:45-7 p.m. April 1-4 and between 9:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m. April 5.
Bruneau is in Owyhee County. According to the most recent Census of Agriculture data, there are about 578 farms and 749,000 acres of farm land in the county.
Mountain Home AFB, which has more than 4,800 military, civilian employees and families, is home to three fighter squadrons and 62 F-15 fighter jets.