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The Idaho Legislature created the Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) in 1919 to assist and regulate the state's fast-growing agricultural industry. The primary purposes for establishment were to protect Idaho's crops and livestock from the introduction and spread of pests and transmittable diseases, to help provide the industry with a system for the orderly marketing of agricultural commodities, and to protect consumers from contaminated products or fraudulent marketing practices. These purposes still drive the department today.
The department derives its statutory authority from multiple sections of the Idaho Code. Section 22-101 creates the Department of Agriculture and the position of director. Section 22-102 provides that the director “shall organize the department into such divisions and other administrative sub-units as may be necessary in order to efficiently administer the department,” and section 22-103 lists specific directorial duties.
In addition to the five divisions which primarily make up the ISDA, four commodity commissions - the Idaho Honey Advertising Commission, Idaho Hop Commission, Idaho Mint Commission and Idaho Sheep Commission - are also technically housed within the ISDA, although each entity maintains its autonomy. The department works closely with all other agriculture commodity commissions. The Idaho Food Quality Assurance Laboratory was assigned by the Idaho Legislature to the Department of Agriculture on July 1, 2005, and the department works cooperatively with the Idaho Food Quality Assurance Institute to administrator the day-to-day operations of the laboratory.
The Idaho State Department of Agriculture has a current budget of approximately $34.5 million. For FY2013, the state general fund accounts for 20.6 percent of the budget. The remainder of the department’s funding comes from various types of fees assessed directly to the segment of industry being regulated or receiving services. Federal sources also assist the department with the funding of certain programs. The department is currently staffed with approximately 325 full-time employees. The Bureau of Shipping Point Inspection and other units of the department also hire hundreds of seasonal employees each year.
Seasonal field inspection activities hit their pre-harvest peak in July. Fields were inspected as part of the phytosanitary certification process for commodity export, including bean fields that were inspected under the Bean Rule. Over 56,000 acres were inspected during the season, including early season crops that received two inspections and beans that received windrow inspections during harvest. Idaho seed products are exported to every continent on the globe, with the exception of Antarctica.
On the international front, Idaho agriculture exports were up 27 percent shattering the previous record set in 2008. Canada, Mexico and China lead the way for Idaho’s top export destinations with dairy and livestock being the top cash receipt export commodities. Idaho also saw many niche markets grow in 2011. Farmers markets across the state more than doubled over the past few years bringing the number of markets to 55. The ISDA also experienced a growing demand for organic certification.
Idaho agriculture has been the engine of our state’s economy and the department embraces each new opportunity and stands ready to provide leadership.
A Mission, A Vision, A Philosophy
The Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) has adopted the following mission, vision and philosophy to help direct the agency’s regulatory, promotional, and policy-making activities toward a common goal:
Serving consumers and agriculture by safeguarding the public, plants, animals and environment through promotion, education and regulation.
The Idaho State Department of Agriculture has an ever-important place in one of the state’s largest industry sectors. We recognize that Idaho’s economic well-being is forever tied to the health of its farming and ranching. We also recognize that new opportunities exist that will redefine the future of agriculture in Idaho. As agriculture changes, ensuring efficient and superior service delivery will continue to be the department’s foremost priority. The pledge has been made to optimize the value of principles our farmers and ranchers have framed over the past century.
The director believes that fostering a cooperative atmosphere within the agency and with other state agencies creates the opportunity for increased internal efficiency, as well as, prompt and complete customer-driven service delivery. She will continue to encourage personal and professional development through education and training, and motivate employees by providing meaningful work-related challenges. In addition, her availability to the public and agency employees reinforces her commitment to the success of the industry.
ISDA Goals and Objectives
The Idaho State Department of Agriculture strives to be the model for government agencies, providing a careful balance of education, regulation and promotion of the agriculture industry in the state. ISDA will: