Snake and on nearly all the important branches of the North Fork, and whose field is 200,000—250,000 acres, almost entirely Federal property, in the W. end of Fremont county between Mud Lake and the lower end of Big Lost river. A further step in irrigation is the utilization of underground waters: in the Big Camas Prairie region, Blaine county, water 10 ft. below the surface is tapped and pumped by electricity generated from the only surface water of the region, Camas Creek. In 1899 the value of the crops and other agricultural products of the irrigated region amounted to more than seven-tenths of the total for the state. In 1907, according to the Report of the state commissioner of immigration, 1,559,915 irrigated acres were under cultivation, and 3,266,386 acres were “covered” by canals 3789 m. long and costing $11,257,023.
Up to 1900 the most prosperous period (absolutely) in the agricultural development of the state was the last decade of the 19th century; the relative increase, however, was greater between 1880 and 1890. The number of farms increased from 1885 in 1880 to 6603 in 1890 and to 17,471 in 1900; the farm acreage from 327,798 in 1880 to 1,302,256 in 1890 and to 3,204,903 acres in 1900; the irrigated area (exclusive of farms on Indian reservations) from 217,005 acres in 1889 to 602,568 acres in 1899; the value of products increased from $1,515,314 in 1879 to $3,848,930 in 1889, and to $18,051,625 in 1899; the value of farm land with improvements (including buildings) from $2,832,890 in 1880 to $17,431,580 in 1890 and $42,318,183 in 1900; the value of implements and machinery from $363,930 in 1880 to $1,172,460 in 1890 and to $3,295,045 in 1900; and that of live-stock from $4,023,800 in 1880 to $7,253,490 in 1890 and to $21,657,974 in 1900. In 1900 the average size of farms was 183.4 acres. Cultivation by owners is the prevailing form of tenure, 91.3% of the farms being so operated in 1900 (2.3% by cash tenants and 6.4% by share tenants). As illustrative of agricultural conditions the contrast of the products of farms operated by Indians, Chinese and whites is of considerable interest, the value of products (not fed to live-stock) per acre of the 563 Indian farms being in 1899 $1.40, that of the 16,876 white farms $4.67, and that of the 23 Chinese farms intensively cultivated and devoted to market vegetables $69.83.
The income from agriculture in 1899 was almost equally divided between crops ($8,951,440) and animal products ($8,784,364)—in that year forest products were valued at $315,821. Of the crops, hay and forage were the most valuable ($4,238,993), yielding 47.4% of the total value of crops, an increase of more than 200% over that of 1889, and in 1907, according to the Year-book of the Department of Agriculture, the crop was valued at $8,585,000. Wheat, which in 1899 ranked second ($2,131,953), showed an increase of more than 400% in the decade, and the farm value of the crop of 1907, according to the Year-book of the United States Department of Agriculture, was $5,788,000; the value of the barley crop in 1899 ($312,730) also increased more than 400% over that of 1889, and in 1907 the farm value of the product, according to the same authority, was $1,265,000; the value of the oat crop in 1899 ($702,955) showed an increase of more than 300% in the decade, and the value of the product in 1907, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, was $2,397,000.
More than one-half of the cereal crop in 1905 was produced in the prairie and plateau region of Nez Perce and Latah counties. The production of orchard fruits (apples, cherries, peaches, pears, plums and prunes) increased greatly from 1889 to 1899; the six counties of Ada, Canyon (probably the leading fruit county of the state), Latah (famous for apples), Washington, Owyhee and Nez Perce had in 1900 89% of the plum and prune trees, 85% of all pear trees, 78% of all cherry trees, and 74% of all apple trees in the state, and in 1906 it was estimated by the State Commissioner of Immigration that there were nearly 48,000 acres of land devoted to orchard fruits in Idaho. Viticulture is of importance, particularly in the Lewiston valley. In 1906, 234,000 tons of sugar beets were raised, and fields in the Boisé valley raised 30 tons per acre.
Of the animal products in 1899, the most valuable was live-stock sold during the year ($3,909,454); the stock-raising industry was carried on most extensively in the S.E. part of the state. Wool ranked second in value ($2,210,790), and according to the estimate of the National Association of Wool Manufactures for 1907, Idaho ranked fourth among the wool-producing states in number of sheep (2,500,000), third in wool, washed and unwashed (17,250,000 ℔), and fourth in scoured wool (5,692,500 ℔). In January 1908, according to the Year-book of the Department of Agriculture, the number and farm values of live-stock were: milch cows, 69,000, valued at $2,208,000, and other neat cattle, 344,000, valued at $5,848,000; horses, 150,000, $11,250,000; sheep, 3,575,000, $12,691,000; and swine, 130,000, $910,000. According to state reports for 1906, most of the neat cattle were then on ranges in Lemhi, Idaho, Washington, Cassia and Owyhee counties; Nez Perce, Canyon, Fremont, Idaho, and Washington counties had the largest number of horses; Owyhee, Blaine and Canyon counties had the largest numbers of sheep, and Idaho and Nez Perce counties were the principal swine-raising regions. The pasture lands of the state have been greatly decreased by the increase of forest reserves, especially by the large reservations made in 1906–1907.
Mining.—The mineral resource of Idaho are second only to the agricultural; indeed it was primarily the discovery of the immense value of the deposits of gold and silver about 1860 that led to the settlement of Idaho Territory. In Idaho, as elsewhere, the first form of mining was a very lucrative working of placer deposits; this gave way to vein mining and a greatly reduced production of gold and silver after 1878, on account of the exhaustion of the placers. Then came an adjustment to new conditions and a gradual increase of the product. The total mineral product in 1906, according to the State Mine Inspector, was valued at $24,138,317. The total gold production of Idaho from 1860 to 1906 has been estimated at $250,000,000, of which a large part was produced in the Idaho Basin, the region lying between the N. fork of the Boisé and the S. fork of the Payette rivers. In 1901–1902 rich gold deposits were discovered in the Thunder Mountain district in Idaho county. The counties with the largest production of gold in 1907 (state report) were Owyhee ($362,742), Boisé ($282,444), Custer ($210,900) and Idaho; the total for the state was $1,075,618 in 1905; in 1906 it was $1,149,100; and in 1907, according to state reports, $1,373,031. The total of the state for silver in 1905 was $5,242,172; in 1906 it was $6,042,606; in 1907, according to state reports, it was $5,546,554. The richest deposits of silver are those of Wood river and of the Cœur d’Alene district in Shoshone county (opened up in 1886); the county’s product in 1906 was valued at $5,322,706, an increase of $917,743 over the preceding year; in 1907 it was $4,780,093, according to state reports. The production of the next richest county, Owyhee, in 1907, was less than one tenth that of Shoshone county, which yields, besides, about one half of the lead mined in the United States, its product of lead being valued at $9,851,076 in 1904, at $14,365,265 in 1906, and at $12,232,233 (state report) in 1907. Idaho was the first of the states in its output of lead from 1896, when it first passed Colorado in rank, to 1906, excepting the year 1899, when Colorado again was first; the value of the lead mined in 1906 was $14,535,823, and of that mined in 1907 (state report), $12,470,375. High grade copper ores have been produced in the Seven Devils and Washington districts of Washington county; there are deposits, little developed up to 1906, in Lemhi county (which was almost inaccessible by railway) and in Bannock county; the copper mined in 1905 was valued at $1,134,846, and in 1907, according to state reports, at $2,241,177, of which about two-thirds was the output of the Cœur d’Alene district in Shoshone county. Zinc occurs in the Cœur d’Alene district, at Hailey, Blaine county and elsewhere; according to the state reports, the state’s output in 1906 was valued at $91,426 and in 1907 at $534,087. Other minerals of economic value are sandstone, quarried at Boisé, Ada county, at Preston, Oneida county, and at Goshen, Prospect and Idaho Falls, Bingham county, valued at $22,265 in 1905, and at $11,969 in 1906; limestone, valued at $14,105 in 1905 and at $12,600 in 1906, used entirely for the local manufacture of lime, part of which was used in the manufacture of sugar; and coal, in the Horseshoe Bend and Jerusalem districts in Boisé county, in Lemhi county near Salmon City, and in E. Bingham and Fremont counties, with an output in 1906 of 5365 tons, valued at $18,538 as compared with 20 and 10 tons respectively in 1899 and 1900. Minerals developed slightly, or not at all, are granite, valued at $1500 in 1905; surface salt, in the arid and semi-arid regions; nickel and cobalt, in Lemhi county; tungsten, near Murray, Shoshone county; monazite and zircon, in certain sands; and some pumice.
Manufactures.—The manufactures of Idaho in 1900 were relatively unimportant, the value of all products of establishments under the “factory system” being $3,001,442; in 1905 the value of such manufactured products had increased 192.2%, to $8,768,743. The manufacturing establishments were limited to the supply of local demands. The principal industries were devoted to lumber and timber products, valued at $908,670 in 1900, and in 1905 at $2,834,506, 211.9% more. In 1906 the Weyerhauser Syndicate built at Potlatch, a town built by the syndicate in Latah county, a lumber mill, supposed to be the largest in the United States, with a daily capacity of 750,000 ft. In Bonner county there are great mills at Sand Point and at Bonner’s Ferry. In these and the other 93 saw-mills in the state in 1905 steam generated by the waste wood was the common power. The raw material for these products was secured from the 35,000 sq. m. of timber land in the state (6164 sq. m. having been reserved up to 1905, and 31,775.7 sq. m. up to April 1907 by the United States government); four-fifths of the cut in 1900 was yellow pine. Flour and grist mill products ranked second among the manufactures, being valued at $1,584,473 in 1905, an increase of nearly 116% over the product in 1900; and steam-car construction and repairs ranked third, with a value of $913,670 in 1905 and $523,631 in 1900. In 1903–1904 the cultivation of sugar beets and the manufacture of beet sugar were undertaken, and manufacturing establishments for that purpose were installed at Idaho Falls and Blackfoot (Bingham county), at Sugar, or Sugar City (Fremont county), a place built up about the sugar refineries, and at Nampa, Canyon county. In 1906 between 57,000,000 and 64,000,000 ℔ of beet sugar were refined in the state. Brick-making was of little more than local importance in 1906, the largest kilns being at Boisé, Sand Point and Cœur d’Alene City. Lime is made at Orofino, Shoshone county, and at Hope, Bonner county.
Communications.—The total railway mileage in January 1909 was 2,022.04 m., an increase from 206 m. in 1880 and 946 m. in 1890.The Great Northern, the Northern Pacific, and the Oregon Railway