Air Force training may impact GPS devices in Mountain Home next week

Posted at 9:51 PM, Jan 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-26 08:39:09-05

MOUNTAIN HOME, Idaho — Idaho’s Farm Bureau Federation reports that in 2017, there were 578 farmers and 749,000 acres of farmland in Elmore County.

In an attempt to be good neighbors and stewards, Mountain Home Air Force Base let farmers, ranchers, and community members in the county know their GPS signals may be unreliable as early as Monday due to military training.

Major Daniel Benfield says the nearly month-long training is to conduct GPS unreliable testing on Mountain Home's Range Complex.

"The testing is going to specifically allow our aircrew to train in a specific combat realistic environment," said Maj. Benfield.

While the training is vital for airmen, it’s affecting an essential piece of equipment for Idaho’s agriculture industry, even in winter. Sean Ellis with Idaho Farm Bureau Federation tells Idaho News 6 there is the potential that, depending on the weather, farmers will need to use their GPS-operated tractors to begin planting season. With GPS signals malfunctioning, this could delay operations.

Air Force officials say their priority is to mitigate impacts. One of the ways they plan on doing so is by turning on this GPS testing event when the aircrew must train within that environment.

Similar training was accomplished last fall. Major Benfield says there were no complaints.

With the Air Force working alongside the Farm Bureau, farmers, ranchers, and community members have time to plan around any obstacles.