Thursday, February 26, 2015

Keeping our Ag Economy Moving

Idaho's agricultural exports have more than doubled in the last seven years, according to data released by the Idaho Department of Agriculture in late January. Clearly, at least in the agricultural sector, we are emerging from the Great Recession.

This is great news, but not news that can simply be acknowledged and forgotten. Success doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It must be nurtured. COMPASS is committed to doing its part to support our agricultural economy so that it can continue to grow and thrive.

In fact, support of agriculture – specifically goals to preserve agricultural land and protect and enhance transportation routes for agriculture -- is explicitly addressed in Communities in Motion 2040, the regional long-range transportation plan for Ada and Canyon Counties.

To that end, COMPASS has begun work on a farm freight study to ensure the transportation routes and needs of farm freight in Ada and Canyon Counties are being addressed in transportation planning. We are seeking to gain a more complete understanding of the routes used to move agricultural freight, the volume being moved, and the equipment used to move it. This information will then feed into Communities in Motion 2040 2.0 for documenting maintenance needs, choke points, and other issues along those routes.

Identifying key routes is a first step in ensuring they are maintained and improved so they can continue to serve the agricultural community. COMPASS will also use the study results to be proactive in developing projects that help make freight movement safer, faster, easier, and more efficient for all roadway users.

COMPASS began the study last summer by working with major regional processors to map their freight routes and volumes, and has now expanded its efforts to reach out to all local growers, producers, processors, and drivers to help gather more complete information on farm freight routes. Anyone involved in transporting agricultural freight in Ada or Canyon Counties is encouraged to take an online survey before March 10, 2015, to help COMPASS ensure your routes are included when we consider road maintenance and improvement projects.

If you have questions on the study, or would like to participate in the survey, but missed the survey window, contact COMPASS at or 208/475-2231 for assistance. Study results and report will be available this fall on the COMPASS web site.

Let’s keep our agricultural economy moving.

Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho

COMPASS is the designated Metropolitan Planning Organization responsible for transportation planning in Ada and Canyon Counties. The COMPASS Board comprises 39 members representing the cities, counties, highway districts, educational institutions, state agencies, and other entities within the two counties. COMPASS plays an important role in making decisions about future long-range transportation needs in the Treasure Valley, taking into consideration environmental and economic factors that affect the quality of life.