Several dairy producers from the Magic Valley area of Idaho attended the annual rafting trip July 8-10 in Salmon, Idaho. Jami Gaver, owner of Rocky Mountain Pharmaceuticals, hosted the event at his home in Salmon. Carl Billhimer, a sales representative for Novartis Animal Health, sponsored the event on behalf of the company.

Guests met at a local restaurant on Thursday evening where they were treated to a prime rib dinner. Billhimer, who represents areas in Idaho, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming, gave a presentation about Novartis Animal Health . Billhimer based his presentation on Novartis’s “Healthy Heifer” program, speaking about the fetus-to-freshening vaccination program they set up for dairy heifers.

(Be sure to view the to see more photos from the adventure.)

On Friday morning, the group gathered for breakfast and then departed to the Salmon River Valley for a day of rafting. This year the rafting groups launched out at Cover Creek, a spot higher up the river than usual, near Indianola. Usually the rafts float down a 13-mile section of the river, but because the water level was higher this year, the rafting started several miles earlier. Some of the rapids the groups experienced were Pine Creek, the Upper and Lower Dutch Oven, Sheep Eater and the Mudslide rapids.

The rapids the dairyman floated through ranged from class I to class III rapids. Some dairymen took the opportunity to determine how far they could push their risk threshold by “riding the bull.” This term refers to when a person sits on the very front edge of the raft as it goes through rapids, holding on only by a rope at the front edge of the raft. Some dairymen enjoyed riding the bull more than others, but by the end of the trip everyone ended up getting soaked.



Throughout the more calm sections of the river, the dairymen were able to observe the mountainous landscape and the surroundings of the Salmon River Valley. As the dairymen floated around one bend in the river, they saw two bald eagles, one perched on a pine tree branch and the other on a root. Bald eagles have formed a habitat in that portion of the river, as seen in their nests that towered on the treetops.

Scattered across other portions of the riverbank were small solar-powered houses. The dairymen stopped for refreshments near Shoup and later at “The Outpost,” a location next to the river for lunch. That evening, after a couple of hours to rest from rafting, the dairy producers and guests were invited to Gaver’s house for a barbecue to conclude the trip.

Rawhide Outfitters , a family-owned and operated outfitting service, was hired this year to lead the rafting adventure. The dairymen were provided with transportation throughout the day as well as snacks, drinks, a gold-mining tour as well as a barbecue lunch.

Every year, Gaver invites dairy producers from the area to these trips, so that they can spend some time away from the farm and have fun. He says these trips have increased in attendance each year. During the fall, Gaver invites dairy producers on a fishing trip in the Salmon area. Rocky Mountain Pharmaceuticals has been hosting these trips since the fall of 2007, when the first fishing trip took place. PD