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High demand puts Wisconsin spuds in a good spot

Wisconsin spuds had a shaky start to the COVID-19 pandemic, but high consumer demand has put potatoes in a good spot, says the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association. “The retail demand increased tremendously with the advent of COVID,” Executive Director Tamas Houlihan said. “Grocery store sales were through the roof, people were stocking up, and they weren’t buying the usual 5 and 10 pound bags. They were buying as much as they could.”

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PVMI: Working to develop the ‘perfect’ russet potato

Always working to develop the “perfect” russet, the Potato Variety Management Institute’s main mission is to promote new varieties of potatoes in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and beyond. PVMI Executive Director Jeanne Debons says it’s what they coordinate from their operation based in Bend, Oregon

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INTERPOM 2020: A change in event days announced

INTERPOM 2020, Europe’s most specialised indoor trade show for the entire potato industry. The 20th edition of INTERPOM will therefore go ahead, but opening days will be changed and the event will comply with the COVID-19 health and safety measures,” the organizers of the event say. So, we will now be happy to welcome you and yours on Monday 23, Tuesday 24 and Wednesday 25 November 2020 at Kortrijk Xpo.”

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McCain Foods delays US potato plant project

According to a report by Pan Demetrakakes, Senior Editor at Food Processing, McCain Foods is delaying the expansion of its potato processing facility in Othello, Wash., due to the coronavirus pandemic. Demetrakakes says the project at the facility, about 100 miles southwest of Spokane, would have added another 170,000 square feet to the plant for a new processing line for battered and conventional French fries.

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US potato market shows clear pandemic effect

It was common for a fruit or vegetable to be having a good winter in terms of volume, pricing and demand, and then in mid-March, when lockdowns began, the item would see a sudden demand surge then crash. Greg Johnson, Director of Media Development for Blue Book Services reports. Johnson writes that no produce item shows this pandemic effect as clearly as potatoes, whose average F.O.B. price has been about half of what it was in early March, as demand has been significantly damaged by restaurant, school and institution closures.

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Belgium : Flemish potato growers foresee 10 mil Euro as support to cover part of their income losses for ‘free (non contracted) potatoes’

Today the Flemish Minister for agriculture, Mrs. Hilde Crevits, and the Flemish government have decided to foresee € 10 million from the Flemish corona emergency fund to support potato farmers who have suffered important income losses with their “free potatoes” (potatoes which have not been contracted). Farmers with contracts have received confirmation that the processing industry will respect and execute contracts (or agree on an alternative solution).

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Flexible drift retardant designed for use with potato blight fungicides said to reduce drift and maximise coverage

A flexible drift retardant, specifically designed for use with blight fungicides, could play an important role in keeping potatoes disease free this spring, according to adjuvant and biostimulant experts, Interagro. Developed to help tackle the practical problems growers face, Crusade – from Interagro – is a flexible drift retardant specifically designed for use with all potato blight fungicides.

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AHDB potato marketing campaign: Bud is back and taking to the small screen!

Hot potato Bud the Spud will make his British television debut this summer as part of a £100,000 marketing push. AHDB says in a news release that it has refreshed the successful More Than a Bit on the Side campaign to support retail sales of potatoes in the wake of COVID-19. The tongue-in-cheek campaign, which features saucy character Bud alongside a range of suggestive slogans, aims to inspire home cooks to add an extra potato meal to their weekly repertoire.

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Yara takes action to avert hunger crisis in the wake of Covid 19

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of people facing acute hunger could double. Supported by the United Nations, the Norwegian government and African institutions, Yara is taking action and committing $25 million to provide food for more than one million people in Southern and Eastern Africa. Yara is launching Action Africa: Thriving Farms, Thriving Future – an initiative with the goal to mobilize support for 250,000 smallholder farmers in seven African countries to secure food production and improved food security. The initiative includes advocacy and partnerships, farmer connectivity and digital solutions, and operational support including 40,000 metric tons of high quality fertilizers

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‘So, God made a farmer’

Dear Readers, most of us, whoever we are, and wherever we are located in the world, live no doubt in tumultuous and unprecedented times in the current day and age. And so do thousands upon thousands of farmers around the world. As an ex farmer, I feel dearly for them. As a humble ode to our farmers,, I decided to share with you here a poem that some of you might be familiar with. It is titled “So, God Made a Farmer”.

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On June 2, Washington State potato growers will reach mission to get 1 million pounds of potatoes to those in need

The Washington State Commission says on its Facebook channel that it is excited to announce that the Washington State potato growers will reach their mission to get 1 million pounds of potatoes that were scheduled to be processed to those in need on June 2 at 11am. The Washington State Potato Commission thank all those who have helped out along this journey to 1 MILLION POUNDS. The volunteers, those who donated there space, their time, the donations to the GoFundMe account, the food banks that made the trips to pick up pallets of potatoes.

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On-farm trials: Can brackish water be used for drip irrigating a potato crop?

New trials run by Innovative Farmers Field lab in the UK and funded by AHDB will research the possibility of using brackish water for potato irrigation, in particular drip irrigation. Grower members of Nene Potato Ltd planned a trial on use of slightly saline water with those able to offer technical support. The two aspects being investigated are effect of salinity and benefit of application by drip when using brackish water.

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More than 80% of the intended potato area planted in the Moscow region

Potato System in Russia cites data released by the press service of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food of the Moscow Region, saying that potato producers in the Moscow region have planted potatoes on an area of ??11,200 hectares, which is more than 80% of the intended area to be planted this year. According to Andrei Razin, Minister of Agriculture and Food of the Moscow Region, more than 14,000 hectares will be planted with potatoes this year in the Moscow Region.

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International Potato Europe 2020 event officially cancelled

In a press release issued today, the organizing committee of the Potato Europe 2020 event announced that the event was regretfully cancelled due to concerns regarding the health safety of participants. The event was scheduled to take place on 2 and 3 September 2020 at Villers-Saint-Christophe in France. The next Potato Europe event is scheduled to take place in the Netherlands in September 2021.

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Norfolk farmer chooses ‘Tong Caretaker’ to take care of valuable potato crop

When second generation farmer Wayne Garrett, of Norfolk-based RG Produce, needed to upgrade his potato handling operations to meet ongoing market demands, he turned to Tong Engineering in order achieve increased capacity and unparalleled cleaning with the company’s flagship Caretaker mobile grader. The Caretaker is set-up to feed the company’s existing bagging line or their new Tong EasyFill Box Filler with trademark doorstop belt.

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Protect potato potential with amino acid based biostimulant, says adjuvant specialist company

Keeping potato crops stress-free is vital to protect yield and quality potential, and an amino acid based biostimulant could give crops an essential boost over the coming months, according to UK-based adjuvant technology company, Interagro. But in a year where mother nature just keeps on giving, keeping crops in optimum condition is a challenge that is quickly becoming a nightmare for most potato growers and their agronomists.

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Unique robot helps HZPC in the fight against diseases

HZPC is employing the services of a specialised robot in its fight against potato diseases and viruses within its breeding programme. In combination with marker technology, this supports the quicker development of resistant potato varieties so that lower levels of pesticides are required and crop losses are kept to a minimum. According to the Dutch potato company, disease resistant varieties are an important step towards worldwide food security and sustainable potato growing.

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Australia: Thomas Foods sells to Mitolo as meat and potatoes go separate ways

Mitolo Family Farms will strengthen its grip on Australia’s potato industry following an agreement to purchase Thomas Foods International’s fresh potato business, The deal announced between the two South Australian family-owned companies came about after Mitolo Family Farms Managing Director Frank Mitolo approached TFI CEO Darren Thomas about selling the potato business several months ago.

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Entrapment: US potato processing industry ambushed by pandemic

According to a report published earlier this week by the Washington Ag Network, the National Potato Council and state grower organizations wrote Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue last week to talk about potatoes that have nowhere to go for processing. According to the Council, more than 1.5 billion pounds of fresh potatoes for processing and potato products are trapped in the supply chain with no likely customers.

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Grief for a world killed by COVID

“If nothing else, sheltering in place gives me a lot of time to think. As I maneuver through these unprecedented times, I have been filled with an abundance of contradictory information about our new invisible enemy,” writes Nolan Ahn in a touching piece published in The Garden Island. “My Zoom friends tell me to focus on being grateful, rather than denying or being angry over my loss. While I appreciate their concern and love for me, I’m not there yet. Perhaps one day, I will find meaning in the loss. But for today, I grieve.”

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Canada: Alberta’s potato farmers facing mental, financial stress from production cuts

As Alberta’s potato industry in Canada reels from the devastation of COVID-19, one industry spokesperson says he is worried the mental health and wellness of farmers could be at stake. Terence Hochstein, executive director for the Potato Growers of Alberta (PGA), said recent blows to potato farms have stoked his concerns for farm families. Hochstein said the industry is sitting on some 100,000 tons of potatoes right now that need to be processed by September.

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The popular ‘New Zealand’ foods made overseas, including Wattie’s potato Pom Poms

Think your favourite food is made or grown in New Zealand? Brace yourself for some bad news. In the aftermath of the coronavirus lockdown, many Kiwis are making a conscious effort to support local businesses and brands. News that Wattie’s Potato Pom poms are made in Belgium, its apricots are sourced from South Africa, and its asparagus from Peru may be hard to swallow.

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Europatat members and the fight against coronavirus

Secretariat of Europatat: Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, European potato traders have been working around the clock not only to keep the potato supply chain running but also to help combat Covid-19. In this article you can take a look at those Europatat’s members actions that have been carried out all around Europe in the past weeks. We would like to extend a particularly warm thank you to all of you. You are our #foodheroes!

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Zimbabwe’s potato farmers frustrated by banks’ reluctance to support value added ventures, processing plants

Zimbabwe’s potato producers say efforts to add value to their produce are being frustrated by financial institutions’ reluctance to fund greenfield projects and they have appealed for government intervention to help them set up processing plants. Ronald Museka, the Potato Industry of Zimbabwe chairman, said local financial institutions were only eager to fund the growing of potatoes, but farmers wanted to ramp up value addition and explore export markets.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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