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Air Force training could jam GPS devices in Mountain Home area

By: Sean Ellis - Idaho Farm Bureau Federation
Published in Press Release on  January 25, 2021

Air Force training could impact GPS devices in Mountain Home area

MOUNTAIN HOME – Mountain Home Air Force Base officials are again reaching out to the state’s agricultural community to let farmers, ranchers and others know that GPS devices may be impacted during upcoming military training exercises in the Bruneau area.

The training will take place between Feb. 1-24 around the general Bruneau and base area, as well as the area surrounding the Sayler Creek and Juniper Butte Military ranges.

Air Force officials reached out to Idaho Farm Bureau Federation to help spread the word to farmers and ranchers that tractors and other devices that rely on the use of the Global Positioning System may malfunction during the exercises.

“We anticipate that at points between 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on certain dates during this time period, devices in that area that rely on GPS may malfunction,” a Mountain Home AFB news release states. “Those who have agricultural equipment or other devices may be impacted during this time….”

2nd Lt. Hank Fitzgerald, a spokesman for Mountain Home AFB, told IFBF that the Air Force understands how important agriculture is to the state and wanted to do everything possible to minimize any potential impacts on farmers and ranchers.

“I come from a family of farmers and ranchers, so I know the impact a GPS interruption can have on agricultural enterprise,” he said. “It is very important to our leadership that we be good neighbors and get the word out about the impacts of this critical training as soon as possible, in order to minimize any issues it might cause for our great community.”

Representatives from IFBF and Mountain Home AFB are working together to spread the word about the exercises and the impact they could have on GPS devices.

This is the third time in the past two years that Air Force officials have reached out to Farm Bureau to let the organization know about the exercises.

IFBF President Bryan Searle, a farmer from Shelley, said Farm Bureau appreciates the fact that Air Force officials are doing what they can to minimize the impact these ongoing training exercises could have on the state’s ranchers and farmers.

“That the U.S. Air Force views it as important to try to protect farmers and ranchers from any possible impacts of these training exercises speaks volumes about the men and women of the Air Force whose mission is to protect and serve this great nation,” he said “We are more than happy to work with Mountain Home AFB to get the word out about these exercises.”

Bruneau is in Elmore County. According to the most recent Census of Agriculture data, there are about 578 farms and 749,000 acres of farmland in the county.

“We thank you for your patience and understanding as we undertake a critical training mission to ensure our readiness and national defense,” the Mountain Home AFB news release states. “This training ensures that we are prepared for real-world combat and remain lethal and agile.”

Mountain Home AFB has more than 4,800 military, civilian employees and families and is home to three fighter squadrons and 62 F-15 fighter jets.

For more information about the exercises, contact the Mountain Home AFB public affairs office at (208) 828-6800 or by email at 366FW.PA.Public.Affairs@us.af.mil

 

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