North America

New ACC Canada Gold-Dorée ‘could soon outstrip Yukon Gold’

There’s a new potato in town and its name is AAC Canada Gold-Dorée. The new spud is yellow-skinned, pleasantly round, and, some say, even tastier than Yukon Gold. AAC Canada Gold-Dorée may just be setting the new gold standard for the fresh potato market in the country, reports Emily Leeson in Farm Focus. She writes that the new variety is licensed by New Brunswick-based and family-owned Canadian Eastern Growers Inc., which acquired the North American rights for 20 years back in 2017.

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‘Another unpredictable year for potatoes’

Potato acreage will be lower this year but by how much? Tom Karst, Editor-in-Chief of The Packer asks this question in an article published earlier today. He says an acreage estimate from the subscription-based North American Potato Market News indicates a fairly significant cut in potato acreage, according to a report in Spudman. According to Mr Karst, it sounds like the early scuttlebutt is that the processors may have underestimated the rebound associated with French fry demand, which is coming back faster than the processors anticipated. That could set up a competition for potatoes between processors and fresh potato shippers later in the year.

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‘Get the skinny on it’: Proposed class action over TGI Friday’s ‘potato skins’ snack comes to close

Before a federal judge could decide whether it was fraud to call a snack “potato skins,” the remaining sides in a proposed class action lawsuit have settled. Troncoso’s lawsuit said the snack contained no potato skins, only potato flakes. She said because of the packaging and because TGI Friday’s sells a potato skin appetizer at its restaurants, she was led to believe the snacks would contain real potato skins.

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NPC targets Belgium and The Netherlands in its support for US tariff action against EU frozen fry imports

In late July, the National Potato Council (NPC) in the US sent a letter to the General Counsel at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), saying it “strongly supports USTR tariff action against EU frozen fries.” In the letter, NPC says in order to ensure the action is an appropriate enforcement mechanism, it is critically important that such action be broadened to include frozen fries from Belgium and the Netherlands, in addition to those countries already outlined.

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Eye on Potatoes podcast: NPC’s Federal Agency Farm Tour goes virtual

In the latest edition of Eye on Potatoes: More than 160 participants from EPA, USDA, and throughout the potato industry joined NPC’s virtual Agency Tour in July, gaining a better understanding of the pest challenges faced by potato growers across the nation in growing and delivering potatoes to market. NPC COO Mike Wenkel calls in to discuss the importance of the annual tour. Jim Ehrlich, Executive Director of the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee also joins the podcast to talk about potato production and crop protection tools utilized in the San Luis Valley.

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Crops, farmers on Canada’s Prince Edward Island struggling with dry fields

Farmers on Prince Edward Island are struggling in what they say is a very dry growing season, according to a report by the CBC. The Island has had a lot of hot, dry days and not much rain — in some cases, just 20 per cent of what’s normal. CBC meteorologist Jay Scotland says spring and summer have been very dry, especially in western P.E.I. The potato crop is struggling in some parts of the Island, as rainfall throughout the summer has been spotty.

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Video: Idaho potato growers reflect on the impact of COVID

Idaho’s potato season was promising at the beginning of the year. The Idaho Farm Bureau shows how the coronavirus pandemic changed everything. In a video interview with RFDTV, Randy Hardy with Hardy Farms says: “It was fantastic, clear up until the virus hit. I was telling people I farmed for 48 years waiting for a year like this because it was the perfect storm. …When the country shut down and COVID protocols were set in place, the market and consumer demand shifted….” Grower Merrill Hanny of Hanny Farms in Shelley is also interviewed.

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Spud Scoop: No late blight reported, PVY Risk Index values less than half of last year

The latest Spud Scoop newsletter was published yesterday. Spud Scoop is a growing season publication compiled by specialists at NDSU Extension and University of Minnesota, combining information for potato growers. Potato Extension Agronomist Dr Andy Robinson writes that no late blight has been reported in potato fields, however weather conditions are favorable for late blight. Early blight is becoming more prevalent. Aphid numbers have doubled over last week, causing the PVY Vector Risk Index to more than double this week. The good news is PVY Risk Index values are less than half what they were at this time last year.

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The technology behind a new agricultural revolution

By 2050, Earth is projected to be home to ten billion people. To feed them, we will need to increase crop production by at least 60 percent, writes Matt Harman in this blog article published by ESRI. Yet climate change, water scarcity, and soil erosion will force us to rethink how we grow crops. And rampant urbanization, with so many people living far away from agricultural areas, will force us to find more efficient ways to distribute food. The third green revolution builds on established precision agriculture practices, while creating a larger picture of the agricultural landscape farmers are operating within.

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Market upturn in Canada means Cavendish deal now off the table

An agreement reached earlier this spring that would have seen Cavendish Farms receive $4.7 million from Prince Edward Island taxpayers to help store and transport processing potatoes will not be activated due to an uptake in restaurant sales. When the PEI deal was finalized in March, there were approximately 100 million pounds of processing potatoes in storage. Figures released by United Potato Growers of Canada in mid-July showed that figure had been reduced to 3,725 hundredweight (417,000 pounds).

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Idaho Farm Bureau Federation: Revisions to farm relief program could help some potato growers

The recent revisions that USDA made to its coronavirus farm relief program are expected to provide some relief to potato farmers who have been financially impacted by COVID-19. Sean Ellis reports for the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation. The federal CFAP program, which was announced April 17, will provide $16 billion in direct payments to farmers and ranchers impacted by COVID. The initial parameters of the program meant Idaho spud farmers, as well as most wheat and barley growers, would have received little if any of the funds.

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Idaho potato group cancels Sun Valley convention

The Idaho Grower Shipper Association has cancelled its 92nd annual convention due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chris Koger reports for The Packer. The event was scheduled for Sept. 2-4 in Sun Valley, Idaho. It’s just the second time the annual potato convention has been cancelled; the 1945 convention was cancelled because of “war conditions,” according to an Aug. 3 statement from the Idaho Grower Shippers Association’s executive committee.

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McCain supports Ronald McDonald House Charities Atlantic to help families with sick children

In a Twitter tweet today, the Ronald McDonald House Charities says: “We are truly grateful for the support of McCain, an @RMHCCanada National Partner, and an incredible supporter of our mission to help keep families with a sick or injured child together and near the medical care their child needs. When families learn their child is sick and must be hospitalized, life as they know it changes overnight. Families embark on what is an often unexpected and difficult journey full of uncertainty, worry, fear and hope RMHC says on its website.

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Oregon potato processor rebounds from COVID-19

A local potato processing plant that reported several COVID-19 cases to Oregon Health Authority is back in full operation, with all employees recovered and back on the job. Wong Potatoes reported five cases among employees of the business on April 20, one of the first locations in the state to have multiple cases. Owner Dan Chin temporarily closed the operation, which employs 40 people, to contain the spread of the virus. But now three months later, the plant is currently open and operating, despite a difficult water year.

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Signs of some recovery in global restaurant fry demand

Major potato processor Lamb Weston and global quick service restaurant chain McDonald’s saw sales fall significantly in the three months to the end of June, but it could have been much worse. There are also some signs of a recovery in restaurant fry sales, although fears over coronavirus remain, according to Cedric Porter, editor of weekly market briefing World Potato Markets. Lamb Weston’s sales were 16% lower in the quarter than the same period last year, with demand from foodservice distributors and smaller restaurant the most affected.

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Sending surplus crops to food banks helping Washington farmers, hungry families

George Ahearn had heard about farmers in Eastern Washington who were giving away potatoes and onions and wanted to know if someone had a truck he could borrow to haul the discarded crops to Western Washington food banks. The response was immediate and dramatic. A convoy of four trucks, including two with trailers, made the trip east, helping provide quite a bounty for local food banks.

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Only in wonderful Canada: Spuds for charity

On a sweltering Friday morning in Brandon, a town in Canada’s Manitoba province, there were two kinds of fries in the Keystone Centre parking lot: the french fries being handed out, and the volunteers handing them out. With a surplus of potatoes caused by a drop in demand due to COVID-19, McCain Foods partnered with Enns Brothers to clear out their backlog and raise some funds for STARS and Ronald McDonald House, which are splitting the proceeds 50-50. [STARS: Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service Foundation]

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This week’s issue of Spud Scoop published

This week’s issue of Spud Scoop was published earlier today. Spud Scoop is a growing season newsletter compiled by specialists at NDSU Extension and University of Minnesota, combining information for potato growers. In the introduction, Dr Andy Robinson, Extension Potato Agronomist at NSDU and the University of Minnesota, says it’s been a week of warming temperatures and more rainfall in many areas. In general, the potato crop seems to be progressing well.

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Latest Canadian potato crop progress report released

The United Potato Growers (UPGC) Board met this week to discuss crop growing conditions, markets, and analysis of the recent potato acreage from Statistics Canada. In a report issued today, UPGC General Manager, Kevin MacIsaac provides a snapshot of crop progress across the country.

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Automation made easy: Greentronic’s RiteWeight product now comes with enhanced features

Can you use an easy and accurate method for tracking loads and weights by date, field, variety, temperature, and cellar? According to Bill Menkveld at Ontario, Canada-based Greentronics, the company offers a solution. Greentronics recently added several new features to its well-known RiteWeight in-line conveyor scale product. These enhanced features were developed to assist potato growers with an easy process to automate their harvest and storage data recording.

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Idahoan Foods donates $37,000 in masks and potatoes

Idahoan Foods donated 10,000 masks to the Idaho Falls community on Thursday. Teaming up with the city of Idaho Falls, the packaged potato company set up a drive-by giveaway. Residents could pull up to the Idahoan Foods headquarters at Snake River Landing to receive free face masks for everyone in the car. The company also donated packages of its “Buttery Homestyle Mashed Potatoes” product that people could pick up along with their masks.

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Bayer launches carbon capture program for U.S. and Brazil farmers

Bayer AG launched a pilot program in the United States and Brazil on Tuesday that will pay farmers for capturing carbon in cropland soils, making it the latest agriculture company to capitalize on environmental initiatives. The company seeks to enroll about 1,200 row crop farmers in its Bayer Carbon Initiative in the first season, scale up in upcoming seasons, and ultimately expand to other countries, company executives said.

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‘Stop cutting out white potatoes – they’re as healthy as sweet ones’, dietitians say

When trying to improve one’s diet, many people think they need to cut out potatoes. White potatoes, some of us have been led to believe, are fattening carb-bombs that should be shunned at all costs, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. Well, not quite. Not at all, in fact. Three dietitians explained to Insider how the nutritional profiles of sweet and white potatoes are very similar, and they’re calling for people to stop demonizing the latter.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor/Publisher of Potato News Today


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