On July 7- 8, Progressive Dairyman founder Leon Leavitt and wife, Jane, traveled to Salmon, Idaho, to participate in an annual rafting trip hosted by Rocky Mountain Pharmaceuticals and Novartis Animal Health. Jami Gaver, owner of Rocky Mountain Pharmaceutical, partners up with Novartis Animal Health every year to offer this rafting trip to dairy producers in the Magic Valley and Treasure Valley of southern Idaho. This year, 32 producers and guests made the drive to Salmon to take part in the trip.

“The trip is basically open to all of our customers,” Gaver says. “The whole purpose of the trip is to serve as an appreciation from Rocky Mountain Pharmaceutical and Novartis for their patronage.”

( or scroll down to view a photo slideshow of the rafting trip.)

Gaver explains that they have hosted the rafting trip for five years now. “Every year it seems to get a little bit bigger,” Gaver adds. “This year the water was actually a little higher than in the past, so it was pretty fun.”

On Thursday evening, the group of producers gathered at Jami Gaver’s cabin in Salmon. Novartis representative Carl Billhimer and Novartis veterinarian H. Nielsen prepared a steak meal for everyone. Following dinner, the groups gathered and participated in a roundtable discussion about modified live vaccines and other vaccines.

The group also discussed current problems in the industry and the problems that these dairy producers had on their farms and the best ways to manage them.


On Friday morning, the group gathered for breakfast and to discuss the plans for the day. At around 9 am, they drove nearly 20 miles away from Salmon to the place where the group would launch into the river.

Refreshments were provided during a stop close to Shoup, Idaho. During the break, producers and guests were also treated to a gold mine tour, where they learned about the history of gold mining in that part of Idaho.

“The gold mining explanation, panning, history and demonstration were very interesting,” Leon Leavitt says.

The group continued its trek down the river until they reached the place where lunch would be served. Rawhide Outfitters provided a tri-tip lunch followed by several choices of desserts and ice cream. Rawhide Outfitters was contracted to provide the transportation, guided raft trip, refreshments and lunch for all of the attendees.

“The group launched on four rafts,” Leavitt says. “We saw beautiful scenery and experienced a few good rapids.”

Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, bald eagles and high, jagged mountain peaks were among other points of interest on the scenic float.

“We had good food and relaxing company with afew water fights interspersed to lighten things up,” Leavitt says.

The trip concluded on Friday evening. After spending the day out on the rafts, the group was invited to a local restaurant for dinner. PD