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Legislators Visit Gem County Farms

Some state legislators got to do a ride along in combines during wheat harvest when they visited farms in Gem County this past July.

“We try to take them from the more city districts of people that have maybe never rode in a tractor, never been in a combine, don’t have any knowledge of farming,” said Clint Rorhrbacher, President of the Gem County Farm Bureau.

“And then we try to bring them out and we’ll feed them dinner and talk to them, and everybody meet and greet them. And then one year we did a tour of the dam with them, we try to show them our irrigation systems, how important water is to us in this valley. And then we kind of give them a treat and take them out while we’re harvesting grain, and we’ll line up a bunch of combines and give them rides in combines and very rarely do you ever get anybody that’s ever been in one.”

For several years now, the Gem County Farm Bureau has invited state legislators out for a visit to their farms. What’s the purpose?

“Mostly just to give them a chance to kind of see what we’re doing, because then when they hear something farming or they hear something about water, they’ll have something they can relate too. Be like hey this guy in Gem county told me this, and they might even reach back out to you,” said Rohrbacher.

“We usually try to pick the ones that have never had a chance to see anything like that.” “I think it’s just more of a personal thing. It gives them something they can relate to. It ain’t something they’ve seen on TV or nothing like that.” “It’s something they can personally reflect on – You know, hey I went up and toured a dam and it is important and the power is important.”

“These guys that have never been out in the country and they live in the city, it just kind of gives them a firsthand thing. You know, hey I combined wheat in Emmett, Idaho. And sometimes the ladies will make them bread and stuff from wheat grown here in Gem county and they’ll take a loaf home with them. Just something they’ll always remember.”

Something that they’ll remember when they head back to the Idaho Statehouse for the start of the 2022 legislative session that begins in just a few weeks.

They’re always, always in awe about what we showed them and stuff like that. In fact, this year we had a couple of the ladies asked if they could ride again. They’d stay a little longer and they went and rode a couple more rounds with us in the combines just because they enjoyed it so much,” said Rohrbacher.

For the Voice of Idaho Agriculture, I’m Paul Boehlke.