The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the value of Idaho's agricultural production was down six percent in 2016.
That's because Gem State farmers remain heavily reliant on international exports. That fact, combined by the strong dollar in 2016, made selling Idaho commodities more difficult on the world market. For example, the value of livestock production was down 10 percent over 2015 numbers.
But Chanel Tewalt with the Idaho Department of Agriculture points out that the decline in beef numbers was due in part to an unusually strong previous two years.
“It’s good to have a little bit of caution in interpreting 2016 as a strongly negative year," she says. "Really, you’re coming off of record breaking years.”
Tewalt says early numbers from 2017 show the export market looking a bit brighter for the Gem State as the dollar softens. She says processed frozen potatoes and dairy exports are positive areas right now, while low wheat prices continue to be a challenge.
Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill
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