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Ranching in the Kootenai River Valley is much different than in S. Idaho; plus, all about cattle brands

Bonner's Ferry, ID

The Kootenai River Valley, near Bonner's Ferry, Idaho, is a great place to raise cattle and crops because the climate is cool and moist. Average rainfall is 22 inches per year.

Local rancher Merle Olsen , who also serves on the Idaho State Brand Board and is a board member of the Idaho Cattle Association, doesn't worry about running out of water. Flooding is a much bigger concern.

"In this whole Kootenai River Valley, we have 35,000 acres of cropland. The valley is broken up into 15 different districts," Olsen explains, looking out at this year's crops and cattle pasture. "It was diked in the 1940s, and as the areas were diked, each district was given a number. This one is District 3."

Each water district has large-horsepower pumps that draw water out of the fields and sends it to the river. None of the fields need to be irrigated.

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