One of the biggest economic stories in Idaho over the last couple of decades has been the tremendous - you might say wild - growth in dairies, especially megadairies, mostly in the Magic Valley but partly also in southwest Idaho as well. These factory operations have become a key part of the state's economy, even as they present a series of environmental and other issues faster than those issues can be dealt with. Abruptly, dairies became the biggest, most important sector of the Idaho farm economy, accounting for about a third of money produced.
The overall troubled economy, though, has put a pause in the dairy growth, and even in places reversed it.
A new Associated Press piece cites massive cutbacks in some dairy operations, and says one industry figure reports "The dairy drop has cost the state's economy roughly $200 million in taxes and lost revenue since the beginning of the year."
While much of the economy drawdown attention has focused on construction and tech, other sectors are scaling down too, and some of them - like dairy - have about as much impact on the state.