Idaho) Boise Commercial Club (Boise.

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water of Southern Idaho will produce 80 to 125 bushels
of oats to the acre ; 50 to 100 bushels of wheat ; 400 to 600
bushels of potatoes; and other crops in proportion."

It is such facts as these that tell the story of this land
with an effectiveness that is far-reaching. We have only
to compare the above facts of production of the Idaho
farmer with the records made by those living in a less fa-
vored section in the Eastern States, for example to ap-
preciate fully what a handicap the Eastern farmer is under.
Yet the story of the West of Idaho is not half told by

Page 24



Boise City Hall

An enumeration of the ' ' other crops ' ' which, by ample demon-
stration are successfully grown on the irrigated soil of Southern
Idaho would include barley, rye and buckwheat ; alfalfa the sta-
ple crop clover, timothy and other grasses; nearly every fruit
known to horticulture, and embracing apples, pears, peaches,
cherries,, prunes, plums, Japanese plums, apricots, grapes, straw-
berries, currants and so-forth. -Semi-tropical crops, as pea-
nuts, sweet potatoes and tobacco, have done splendidly. All va-
rieties of melons, including the famed Rockyford cantaloupe, pro-
duce abundantly. Garden vegetables of every description are
prolifically raised. In fact, it is difficult to find anything that will
not grow and thrive under the conditions supplied in these irri-
gated tracts. Given a soil that is immeasurably rich in the ele-
ments essential to plant life, sunshine six days out of the seven,
water supplied in unstinted quantities at the time most needed,
and other climatic conditions most favorable, and there is no rea-
son why anything that grows at all should not grow here, and
grow to a degree of luxuriance unknown and unattainable in less
favored localities. And such are the conditions in the irrigated
region tributary to Boise.

Government Lands

ANDS may also be acquired directly from the
United States Government under the Desert
Land Act, or the Homestead Act. By the for-
mer act, desert land, not to exceed 640 acres,
may be acquired by paying 25 cents per acre
and expending annually $1.00 per acre on irri-
gation, etc., for not less than three years.
and actually cultivating one-eighth of the entire acreage, or
by expending $1.00 per acre annually for four consecutive
years. By the Homestead Law any citizen of the United States,
not owning over 160 acres of land, may acquire 160 acres of
public land by residing thereon and improving the land for not

Prunes Groum in Boise Valley. They are unexcelled shippers.

Page 26


less than five continuous years. If these holdings come
under the "Reclamation Law," the claimant must also
repay in annual installments the proportion of the cost of
constructing the irrigating works.

Land Values

! EN acres of irrigated land in Southern
Idaho, in the vicinity of Boise, will sup-
port a man and his family. That asser-
tion, under any but the most exception-
ally unfavorable circumstances, will hold
true ninety-nine times out of a hundred.
It does not mean, of course, that a man
with no equipment whatever, or with-
out the necessary industry, can occupy a ten-acre tract and
expect to derive a living therefrom. It does mean, how-
ever, that, with average health and energy, a team of
horses and the customary implements, any man can sup-
port himself and family from ten acres of irrigated land
and put by a little nest egg while he is doing it. It is
being done by hundreds of families within a ten-mile ra-
dius of Boise. It has been ascertained by experience that
a ten-acre orchard, if properly conducted, requires the en-
tire time of one man. and he cannot do justice to more land
without additional help. This statement, of course, applies
to the orchard that is conducted on a commercial basis.

The government statistician suggests 45 acres as the
average holding of irrigated lands. An 80-acre farm is
a fortune, and when a man's acres are counted in three
figures, he is considered "wealthy."

As to land values, a wide range is covered depending
as elsewhere upon location, degreo of improvement of land,

etc. In weighing these figures, the prospective settler
from the East or Middle West must keep in mind the
highly productive nature of the soil and impossibility of
crop failure.

Improved lands under irrigation can hardly be bought
for less than $50.00 per acre. The best lands devoted to
general farming on an "alfalfa basis" run from $75.00 to
$200.00 per acre. The higher figure is paid for farms a
fraction of which is in fruit. Orchard lands run from
$150.00 to $500.00 per acre.

On the other hand, unimproved land, but with facil-
ities for irrigation may be bought for $10.00 to $50.00 per
acre. Desert land, about to be reclaimed by the Payette-
Boise project can be had for $10.00 to $20.00 per acre, to
which the $30.00 (approximately) water right must be

The Region Tributary to Boise

far the intent has been to present the
general conditions in the great irrigated
tracts of Southern Idaho, all of which
looks to Boise as its natural center.
Hereafter the discussion will be limited
to the richest and most attractive por-
tion of this area if not of the entire
Northwest the Boise Valley, immedi-
ately and directly tributary to the city of Boise. The
Valley extends in an easterly-westerly direction for 50
miles, and running from 7 to 30 miles in width. Twenty-
live vciirs ;igo the weary homeseekers of an earlier day
found the valley a goodly land, inviting them to settle

The Nourse hog ranch near Boise.


Page 28


needed water, and the broad mesas were found to be no less
fertile than the highly prized bottoms.

The general statements regarding crops, etc., under the
section of "Irrigation" will hold true for the Boise Val-
ley, but true in their highest degree. This is a land of
intensive farming, where the orchard of apples and prunes
is bringing to its owner a princely income.

To approach the matter somewhat systematically, it
may be said that of the 125,000 acres under cultivation in

HI in


Y. M. C. A. Building, Boise.

the Boise Valley, three-sixths is in hay alfalfa, timothy
and clover two-sixths in grain largely wheat and oats
and the remainder, one-sixth, in fruit. In addition, a con-
siderable acreage of sugar beets is planted and other crops
are raised.

Grains and Grasses

HEAT of the first quality will run 40 to
60 bushels to the acre; oats, 80 to 120
bushels. The price, of course, varies
with the market. Alfalfa, the mainstay
of the irrigation farmer, will yield three
cuts a year, a total of 6 to 10 tons to the
acre. This is worth to him, if not fed,
from $4.00 to $8.00 per ton in the stack.
Timothy and clover, with two cuts a year, will yield 3 to
5 and 6 tons to the acre, and is worth from $7.00 to $10.00
per ton. In both cases excellent pasturage is afforded.


the Apple orchardist the Boise Valley
offers conditions surpassed by no other
region on earth. Neither Hood River
nor Rogue River nor Yakima nor any
of the far-famed and highly exploited
fruit-growing districts afford a more
ideal combination of soil, moisture, tem-
perature, altitude and climate. There
the "big red apple" attains its perfection in size, color,
conformation, flavor and keeping qualities The favorite

Peaches are a very profitable crop in the Boise Valley.

Page 30


varieties are the Rome Beauty, Jonathan, Winesap, Ar-
kansas Black, Delaware Red. A sight of a Boise Valley
orchard toward picking time, with the ground cultivated
and free from weeds, the trees clean and shapely, and
boughs bent to earth under a precious burden of rarest
fruit, showing no speck or stain, and tinted a deep crim-
son or a glowing yellow by the generous sun ; such a
sight is a revelation to the orchardist from New York or
Michigan, and cannot but fill him with amazement and

Trees reach full bearing capacity from five to seven
years after planting, and average from 8 to 10 boxes of
packed fruit to the tree. This fruit always commands the
highest market price, in competition with the products of
the world, and is shipped successfully and profitably to
England and Europe. The price ranges from $1.75 to
$3.00 and $3.50 a box. Ten acres of apple trees properly
cultivated, sprayed, picked and packed, should return
to their owner over $3.000.00 per year, year in and out.
The expense in time and money is very small, and the net
income but little below the gross.


N the production of prunes, next to
apples, in acreage in the Boise Valley,
the facts are still more wonderful. After
careful consideration and comparison, it
is stated and successfully maintained
that in the production of prunes, the
Boise Valley takes the palm from the
whole world. Not only are they superior
in size and quality, but it has been found by frequent proof

that the Boise prune will undergo the effects of packing
and long shipment and reach the market in better condi-
tion than the prune from any other region. In the past
year prunes brought to the seller $30.00 per ton, loose, net.
The favored varieties are Italian, Hungarian, Silver,
Golden, Petite. Fifty-two cars of French and Italian
prunes shipped from Boise in 1907 brought $42,000.00
f. o. b.

One orchardist a few miles from the city of Boise, with
40 acres of prunes, takes from them over $7,500.00 worth
of fruit every year.

Truth That is Stranger and Better-
Than Fiction

NOTHER statement, and one that is not
exceptional, but especially significant, is
that of a 10-acre plot set out to Italian
prunes, cherries and berries. The plot
contains a house, barn, the customary
outbuildings and vegetable garden. In
1905 it yielded 45,799 pounds of prunes,
for which the owner received $457.99 in
the orchard, and $1,112.00 for the cherries and berries. In
1906, 87,000 pounds of prunes were picked, which brought
1 cent a pound in the orchard $870.00 and the other
crops yielded about $800.00. In 1907 the prune crop grew
to 89,000 pounds, with the price at 1 1-2 cents a pound
$1,235.00 for the prunes, which, with the $1,400.00 which
came from the cherries and small fruit, aggregated the
very handsome sum of $2,635.00 gross returns from 10
acres for one year. In addition, the place supported

Slate Capitol building l be greeted , Btiise.

A group of hoims in Boise. Boise is knoivn as the City Beautiful.

.I not her Group of Boise Homes.

Page 34


chickens, a cow and horse. With the exception of extra
help needed during picking time, all the work was done
by the owner and his wife. Unfortunately, account was
not kept of the sums paid out in this manner, but they
were not large, and the net returns were not far from
$2,500.00. So much for an illustration drawn from life-
of the possibilities of a 10-acre fruit farm in the Boise

A Commonplace Story

lERE is another story, not so remarkable,
and not unusual in any way. In fact,
the deponent was not a scientific farmer,
not notably ambitious, and his land was
hardly the best. It is included simply to
show what an average man does on an
average farm in the Boise Valley. On
the 60 acres in question, the farmer had
a little prune orchard of 3 1-2 acres. Twenty-five acres
he sowed to oats, which went 90 bushels to the acre. The
remainder was put into alfalfa and diversified products,
with a little pasture. He fed 5 hogs. 30 goats, 3 cows and
4 horses. His prunes brought him $620.00, and the total
gross returns were $1,700.00 in cash. He had no regular
help, and a goodly part of the sum went into the bank.
That is a commonplace story, told by a commonplace
farmer to the writer as he was driving through the Valley;
but, commonplace as it is, it is significant to the highest

The "moral" of this story is that (.lie land and clim;ile
and water in the Boise Valley have joined forces, as it were,
to produce the most possible. How well they do is, of

course, in the final analysis a question of the personal equa-
tion. One may do better than another but the average
man will do better here than he can in loss favored regions.
This is the important fact.

In addition to the apples, prunes and cherries already
discussed, other fruits do equally well, but are not pro-
duced so extensively. Of the small fruits, strawberries
have proven a most profitable crop, and are extensively
cultivated. For the present season. 1908, the output is a
half-million boxes, which will net the grower 8 cents per
box. From 1 1-4 acres one man took two crops, the first
yielding 12,798 quarts, and the second, marketed as late
as November 17th, 2,280 quarts. The total gross income
was $1,196.75.

Some notion of the extent to which horticulture is
practiced in the Boise Valley may be gained from the
statement that in 1907 537 cars of fruit under ice were
shipped to Chicago and points East. Of these 40 cars
went to Europe. The value of the crop was $3,432,000.00.
This from a total acreage of 51,876 acres.

For the present season, 1908. 50 carloads of material
is needed for packing. This includes 500,000 prune crates,
300,000 apple boxes, 2,000,000 baskets, 5 cars of fruit pa-
per and 1 car of cement coat nails.

Of the other crops grown with notable success the po-
tato is worthy of mention. Five hundred bushels to the
acre is not by any means extraordinary. One farmer re-
ports for 1906, six acres planted, with a gross return of
$1,780.00. The Following yenr. from 15 acres $3,760.00
worth of potatoes were laki-n. In each yonr about $300.00
worlli w.'is saved for sood :md Immp use. Thorp are no
potato Inigs in Idaho.

The Soldiers' Home, Boise.

Page 36


Sugar Beets

crop lends itself to cultivation in irri-
gated districts more readily than the
sugar beet. By regulating the supply of
moisture, the irrigator can force the
beet to develop the highest possible per
cent of saccharine matter. Sugar beets
will yield 22 tons to the acre with 19.2
per cent of sugar. In the Boise Valley,
with an acreage of 26,019 to sugar beets, the total tonnage

Car barn and sub-station of the Boise and Interurban Ry. Co.

was 245,940, and the receipts to the farmer $908,500.00. At
Nampa, not far from Boise, a sugar-beet factory that cost
a million and a quarter of dollars has been built. Two
others are under erection, and the industry which has
given such flattering assurance of profit-making is but in
its infancy.

A Summary

i HIS much, then, for the products of the
soil in the Boise Valley. The most cur-
sory scanning cannot fail to impress the
reader with the wonderful productivity
of its soil, as demonstrated in the state-
ments for the various products. If he is
unfamiliar with conditions in irrigated
.districts, it is not unlikely that he is in-
credulous. It is, then, not out of place to repeat that the
Boise Valley offers conditions for agriculture that cannot
be duplicated in a non-irrigated country, and are equalled
by bat few of the most favored irrigated districts of Amer-
ica. The statements made are as near the exact truth as
can possibly be determined, and the illustrative cases cited
are in every case actual, bona fide experiences, reported
either by word of mouth or over the signature of the depo-
nent. The only reason the names are withheld is that it is
not the purpose of this booklet to advertise any private con-
cern or enterprise. Many of the letters, however, are in
the possession of the Boise Commercial Club, and the
names will gladly be furnished upon application. The Club
will also be glad to give any other information in detail
regarding points suggested to the reader by topics in this
booklet. It is impossible to cover every point of interest
to the homeseeker in a booklet of this character.


Page 37

Stock Raising

chapter on the Boise Valley is complete
without reference to the stock-raising
industry. The absence of severe weather
in the "Winter, the abundance of rich pas-
turage, that never dries up in the Sum-
mer, and is green nearly the whole 12
months, the quantity of succulent al-
falfa and timothy and clover, with the
scarcity of flies and other pests, all combine to produce
conditions in the Boise Valley eminently suited to the rais-
ing of stock to a most gratifying profit.

Of cattle, the favorite breeds are for beef, Grade Here-
fords, Short Horns, Polled Angus ; for milk, Short Horns,
Jersey, Holstein ; of these there were fed in the Boise
Valley in 1907 22,600. The cattle run on the public range
from April 1st until November 1st. They are then brought
in to the meadow pastures, where they graze until January
1st. Hay is fed until April. Improbable as it may seem
to the grazer in humid districts, the cattle are finished in
five months from the range on alfalfa and clover, without
grain. Hundreds of carloads of these same grass-fed
cattle have been shipped to Kansas City and Omaha and
topped the market, bringing better prices than the grain-
fed steers from the corn belt. The difference in the cost
of production is at once evident to the man with the
least experience in feeding cattle. Even were it necessary
to feed grain the Idaho stockman would have a great ad-
vantage. The public ranges are his ; his pasture never
fails; he does not have to feed for warmth and that is
important ; nor do his stock lose flesh from the attacks of
flies and insects.

Dairying is at once one of the most profitable and one
of the least developed industries in Southern Idaho. All
of the conditions recited heretofore as favorable for beef
cattle are especially adapted to the dairy cow a highly
developed and delicate member of the bovine family,
highly sensitive to environment as she is. In the Boise
Valley this "gentlewoman on hooves" finds conditions
exactly suited to her taste, and responds with an abundant
yield of milk, with the highest per cent of butter-fat. The
market for butter is the best in the world. Local con-

An up-to-date livery barn in Boise.

Irrigating ditches, Boise Valley.


Page 39

sumption is far in excess of the supply. Southern Idaho
produces only 2,000,000 pounds of butter annually, and
consumes 7,000,000 pounds, and butter will average 33 1-3
cents per pound, reaching 45 cents in the Winter months.
One acre in Idaho will support a cow the year round ; three
acres are required in Nebraska.


F great magnitude is the sheep-raising in-
dustry in Idaho, and the Boise country
has its full share. Exact figures are not
obtainable, but a conservative estimate
would be at 150,000 sheep for this dis-
trict. Between four and five million
pounds of wool are shipped from Boise
and neighboring points during a year.
As in the case of cattle, sheep feed on the public range,
and then finish on the rich valley pasturage. Southern
Idaho ships 25,000,000 pounds of wool every year.

The Boise Valley is a center for the production of fine
horses. Over 10,000 head are owned in the district, and
many carloads of French and Belgian stallions have been
imported, insuring the breeding of the finest grade of draft

Many a farmer has become rich raising hogs, and the
Boise farmer is no exception. Hogs simply revel in the
rank growth of clover, and are fattened and finished with-
out grain or meal. On one farm a herd of 800 hogs was
seen, many ready for the butcher, not one of which had
ever seen a kernel of corn. The profit of raising swine
under such conditions is manifest.

All members of the feathered tribe do well in the Boise
Valley, and the market for fowl and eggs is second to
none. Bees find the food they like in the blossoming fields
of clover and alfalfa, and fill the hive with a superior white


ITHIN the rock-ribbed treasure chests of
Idaho, Nature has hoarded untold min-
eral wealth. Its discovery many years
ago first attracted to the state the atten-
tion of the world, won her a star in the
proud galaxy of the Nation, and still
ranks an important factor in her wealth
and prosperity. From the mineral veins
that ramify throughout the state in every direction have
been taken hundred of millions of dollars in gold, silver,
lead and copper, and they still yield royal revenues to the
pick and drill of the miner. The search of the prospector
is crowned with richest rewards. Nearly every stream
shows placer gold in commercial quantities. It is said that
the "gravel bars of the Snake River contain gold suffi-
cient to retire the National debt and make every citizen
of the state of Idaho a millionaire." The ore bodies of
this great mineral region seem practically inexhaustible,
and new disclosures are constantly being made that add
their quota to the mineral wealth of Idaho. In one year
the total value of mineral products was $21,056,076. Last
year the various mines returned in dividends (estimated)
$6,500,000. Lead was produced to a total of 225 million
pounds; silver to exceed 8 million ounces; copper. 11

Page 40


million pounds; zinc, nearly 5 million pounds; gold, to
the value of one and one-half millions of dollars. The
Boise Basin alone has produced $200,000,000.00 in placer
gold. A mineralized belt of untold wealth, several hun-
dred miles in length, extends within six miles of Boise.
In fact, the city is surrounded by valuable mining ter-
ritories. Near at hand are extensive tracts of gravel beds,
which by actual test, have shown big values in gold, and
which are well adapted to dredging, and which will yield
enormous profits when subjected to this method. In ad-
dition to the auriferous veins and dykes that seam the
Boise Basin, there is one lode deposit which yielded two
million dollars in bullion when worked to the shallow
depth of 400 feet.

Practically within the environs of the city there are
promising deposits that have been subjected to profitable
operation. At the Big Giant Mine several thousand feet
of development have produced good returns. Two thou-
sand feet of development in the Ironsides Mine have
yielded ore ranging from $30.00 to $70.00 per ton. The
"Twentieth Century," the Picket Pin, the Celtic and other
projects have demonstrated the profitable nature of their
properties. The Pearl district is noteworthy for some fine
deposits, extensively developed. The many mines of Owy-
hee County, 60 miles to the south, are famous for their
permanency and their rich deposits. For 40 years they
have averaged $1.000,000.00 per year. In the "Seven
Devils" region, 100 miles to the north, valuable prospects
have been made, that, with the accessibility that will fol-
low railroad facilities now under construction, will yield
richly. These are but a few of the many that might be
mentioned to illustrate the "unsunned treasures" of
Southern Idaho.

Although Boise is hardly a "mining town," yet the
city profits immensely from the production of mineral
wealth of the state. As the financial and distributing
point, much of the business of the mines is done there,
contributing generously to the prosperity of the city. A
great part of the supplies for the mining camps are shipped
from Boise, and large wagon trains may be seen emerging
from the city, freighted with machinery, tools, powder,
foodstuffs and general supplies for the isolated camps and
minor distributing points. The United States Assay Office,
located at Boise, received in 1907 1,576 deposits of gold
bullion. The deposits vary from $1,000,000.00 to $2,000,-
000.00 annually.

As to the acquisition of mineral lands, they are open
to entry; first, as a quartz claim, 1,500 feet in length and
600 feet in width ; or a placer claim of 20 acres. The an-
nual expenditure of $100.00 in improvements is required.


DAHO possesses 20,000,000 acres of tim-
ber lands, estimated in value at $1,125,-
000,000.00. Some of the finest bodies of
fir, pine, white and yellow hemlock and
cedar in the world are standing within
her boundaries. An authority on timber
has estimated the standing timber at
57,500,000,000 feet. This includes the
government reserves. Scattered throughout the state are
.'U>0 sawmills ono said to lie Ilio largest in tin- world en-
gaged in reducing the great logs to lumber. Under the
section on the City of Boise is found a statement of the
mills operating near the city.

Machinery leaving Boise for the Mines.

Page 42


Water Power

statement of the potential resources of

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Online LibraryIdaho) Boise Commercial Club (BoiseBoise, Idaho → online text (page 2 of 4)