- - WHAT IS THAT STENCH? IDAHO'S HOT POTATO!
- The great State of Idaho has almost three times as
many agricultural animals as it does people. According
to the 2002 World Almanac, Idaho is home to 1,293,000
human residents, 2 million dairy cows and cattle
275,000 sheep, 24,000 hogs, and 1.2 million chickens.
Humans use toilets, and their waste is treated. The
animals pollute their environment, and Idaho's House
Agricultural committee is considering legislation to
deal with Idaho's notorious odors.
The state song of Idaho is "Here we have Idaho."
They must sing that song in neighboring territories, for
the stench of animals leaves a perpetual smell that offends
bordering areas of Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Oregon,
Washington, and British Columbia.
Idaho's stinky state motto is: Esto Perpetua
(It is perpetual).
America's "gem state" is no diamond in the
rough. The gem in question smells worse than
sulfur. Yellow rose of Texas? Nope. Yellow
urea and nitrates of Idaho.
On Tuesday (February 26, 2002), Idaho's House
Agricultural Affairs Committee produced a tie
vote on proposed tightening of odor legislation.
The heated hearing on the bill lasted more
than five hours. In other words, half of Idaho's
elected representives like that smell just fine.
What is stinky to some state representatives must
be perfume to others, particularly those with
interests in the agricultural sector.
Try to define the word "odor," as these men and
women are doing. A rose by any other name will
still produce lovely bouquets, while cow
manure results in the same rottenness in both
Denmark and Idaho.
The proposed bill establishes fines of $1 per day
per "animal unit." Lobbyists are making it difficult
for committee members. This fight is splitting the
legislature in half, but the most poignant comment
was made by Representative Gary Young, R-Moscow.
"But I have driven through the Twin Falls area in
the summer and in the winter, and I would not want
to live there. The industry has either got to do
something about this problem, or the (agriculture)
department has to. I tell you something has got to
I have a suggestion for these men and women
of political wisdom.
When I think of Idaho, I apply my vision of "Esto Perpetua"
to those wonderful Idaho potatoes. These veggies do not
stink. That is, until they exit from the multi-chambered
stomachs of Idaho bovines. So, grow potatoes. Grow
veggies. Retire those agricultural units, and retire
Until that bill is passed, I offer my advice to you all.
When taking that Olympic drive from Salt Lake City to the
Oregon border through Boise on route 84, keep your
windows closed and burn incense. This way, you will not
be incensed by Idahoâs perpetual animal smell.