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NAPSO kicks off with inaugural virtual meeting, paving the way for advanced potato storage solutions

In a historic move towards advancing potato storage practices, the North America Potato Storage Organization (NAPSO) hosted its first virtual meeting on June 17, 2024. This milestone event brought together key industry professionals, researchers, and agronomists dedicated to enhancing the efficiency and sustainability of potato storage across North America and beyond.

Foundational Discussions and Key Objectives

The meeting, facilitated by Communications Coordinator Emily Merk, one of the organization’s founders, began with an overview of NAPSO’s mission and purpose. Merk, alongside other founding members Addie Waxman, Bill Orr and Lukie Pieterse, emphasized the critical need to focus on potato storage as an integral part of the potato lifecycle.

“Storage is just as crucial as the growing season,” stated Orr. “Our mission is to empower potato storage professionals through best management practices, education, innovation, and community building.”

Mission and Purpose

NAPSO’s mission is to develop and disseminate sustainable storage solutions that enhance potato quality, reduce waste, optimize energy usage, and increase profitability.

The organization aims to bridge the gap between traditional practices and modern technology, offering tools and knowledge to optimize storage processes. This initiative is poised to play a significant role in food security and sustainability, not just in North America but globally.

“Our mission is to empower potato storage professionals through the best management practices, education, innovation and community building,” said Orr.

“We’re committed to developing and disseminating state of the art sustainable storage solutions that maintain potato quality, reduce waste, optimize energy usage and increase profitability for the growers and businesses alike by fostering a collaborative environment and focusing on continuous improvement, we strive to be leaders in the potato storage industry, contributing to the food security and sustainability in North America playing globally.”

Not a sales program

“So, understanding our purpose, NAPSO intend to provide cutting edge, sustainable and scientifically backed potato storage solutions,” said Waxman. “And we want those solutions to potato farmers, agronomists, and industry consultants working in North America and soon around the world.”

Waxman affirmed that NAPSO is not going to be as sales program.

“Instead, we will have panels and conferences moving into trade shows. And so, for instance, having a panel on preharvest chemistries for storages, and have representatives from 3/4 companies that possibly sell those chemistries and then have an organized, open panel discussion with Q&A. That is how we hope to get the information to our listeners.”

Structural Vision and Community Involvement

The meeting also outlined the organizational structure and future goals of NAPSO. A Central Committee composed of nine dedicated industry professionals will spearhead the planning and execution of NAPSO’s first full conference in 2025. The committee will focus on selecting optimal locations, timing, and content for the conference, ensuring it meets the needs of growers and the industry at large.

Feedback and community involvement were highlighted as crucial components of NAPSO’s development. Merk and her founding colleagues invited attendees to share their insights and suggestions to shape the organization’s future.

“We want this organization to be as beneficial to our industry as possible,” Merk affirmed. “Your feedback is invaluable to the success of our organization.”

Engagement and Future Steps

Participants actively engaged in discussions during the meeting, raising pertinent questions and offering constructive feedback. Topics ranged from the inclusion of European perspectives in storage practices to the potential for academic involvement in NAPSO’s initiatives. Attendees expressed excitement about the organization’s potential to drive innovation and collaboration within the industry.

The founders also addressed logistical aspects, such as the need for an antitrust statement to ensure compliance with competitive laws and the importance of maintaining a respectful and open dialogue among members.

Plans for future virtual and in-person meetings, including a potential gathering at the Potato Association of America’s (PAA) upcoming event in July, were also discussed.

Groundwork Laid

“I just wanted to state that I’m excited for the groundwork is being laid,” commented one of the participants during the meeting.

“I think there’s a huge opportunity here to advance the wealth of North American potato storage. Altogether, it’s been needed for a long, long time. And yeah, I’m excited that the industry’s coming together to to hopefully come up with some common solutions and understanding so that hopefully we can get growers and potato processors alike educated on on better practices for maintaining quality of potato and storage.”

Call to Action

The inaugural meeting of NAPSO marked the beginning of a collaborative effort to advance potato storage. With a clear mission, a strategic vision, and a commitment to community input, NAPSO is poised to become a leading force in the storage industry. As the organization moves forward, the involvement and support of industry professionals will be crucial in achieving its goals.

For more information or to express interest in joining NAPSO and any of it’s committees, please feel free to contact Communications Coordinator Emily Merk on contact@napso.info.

Stay tuned for updates on upcoming meetings and initiatives as NAPSO continues to lay the groundwork for a sustainable and innovative future in potato storage. Feel free to sign up to our mailing list – you fill find a sign up form in the right hand column of www.napso.info

Source: North America Potato Storage Organization (NAPSO)
Image: Credit Bill Orr/14Group

Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse


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