Food production, processing and science serve as the economic foundation for southern Idaho’s robust economy. Southern Idaho’s six-county “Magic Valley” region including Jerome County, leads the state’s agribusiness industry by contributing over 54% of the state’s Ag receipts for 2013. With southern Idaho Ag production in 18 categories ranking in the top 4 in Idaho and in 28 categories in the top 13 nationally, this unique region boasts some impressive agribusiness stats.
Few if any other region in the country has this depth in agribusiness. These diverse food categories have generated a wide range of products and complementary support services that sustain and help grow this economic base.
Many crops are grown in Jerome County. By acreage, the major crops are alfalfa, corn for silage, and barley. By farm gate value the major crops are alfalfa, potatoes, and corn for silage. Alfalfa and corn for
silage in both lists indicate the necessity of high quality forages to support the region’s dairy cow herd. Other major crops include sugar beets, dry beans, winter and spring wheat, and corn for grain.
The annual precipitation is about nine inches per year. Moisture accumulation is rather evenly distributed over the late fall, winter and spring months with little precipitation falling in the summer. The summer evaporation rate is high and the humidity is low. Flooding is generally not a problem but on occasion high run-off may occur if the temperature warms and melts snow, or heavy rains fall, while the soil is frozen.
Sources: Southern Idaho Economic Development Website, University of Idaho, Jerome County Extension Situation Statement 2015