News December 2021

UK farm business outlook 2022

Potatoes and sugar beet share some agronomic challenges but the structural ones differ. As Robert Harris reports for Farmers Weekly, the balance of margins in the potato sector needs addressing, while a whole-rotation costings approach to the beet crop could help grower decision-making. Many growers will be nursing financial damage or losses from the past two years of potato production.[Read More…]

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Fries in short supply due to Canada’s climate woes

A mix of drought in Canada’s prairies and flooding on its Pacific coast have brought about crop production and shipping woes now leading to international shortages of fries and mustard. In Japan, for example, McDonald’s has been forced to ration fries as the British Columbia floods squeezed potato imports, while mustard producers in France are forecasting steep price increases because the drought in another part of Canada – the world’s biggest producer of mustard grains – cut supplies.

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Borderlands: US potato farmers preparing for Mexico opening

After nearly 25 years of export bans, U.S. potato farmers could begin to distribute and sell more fresh potatoes across all of Mexico by early 2022. American potato farmers and exporters currently are barred from selling fresh potatoes in Mexico due to restrictions by the Mexican government, namely that U.S. growers can only sell them within about a 16-mile zone across the Mexican border.

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Trade ban clouds solid potato year for Canadian farmers

It was a good year for Canada’s potato farmers in 2021 with seeded and harvested acres and yields reaching levels not seen for more than a decade, according to Statistics Canada estimates. However, significant challenges remain with Prince Edward Island, the nation’s largest producer, dealing with an export ban while a tough weather year in the west might mean production will fall short of being able to meet an increase in processing capacity.

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Potato wart situation was ‘mismanaged,’ says Prince Edward Island farmer

A potato farmer on Prince Edward Island’s North Shore in Canada is wondering how the situation with potato wart got to the point where the U.S. border is closed to fresh potatoes from the Island. Klaas Nieuwhof told CBC’s Island Morning he was packing potatoes when he got a phone call and learned the border was closing.

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Ukraine negotiating potato exports to the EU

The State Service of Ukraine on Food Safety and Consumer Protection addressed the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety with a proposal to consider the possibility of launching Ukrainian potato exports to the European Union. Ukraine and its European colleagues are currently discussing the need to appoint in 2022 inspections by European experts to launch Ukrainian potato exports to the EU.

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McDonald’s Japan cuts down on fries servings owing to potato scarcity from Canada

McDonald’s Japan will only serve small-sized fries for a week starting Friday, as a result of delays in potato shipments from Canada. “Due to flooding near the Port of Vancouver and the global supply chain crunch caused by the coronavirus pandemic, there are delays in the supply of potatoes,” the company announced on Tuesday. Potatoes used to make french fries are usually imported from North America, McDonald’s Japan said.

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Calbee releases potato-growing kits in Japan

The potato chip company Calbee Inc. and a horticultural soil company jointly started selling seed potatoes and growing kits in southwest Japan’s Kyushu region on Dec. 15. Calbee Potato Inc., headquartered in the Hokkaido city of Obihiro, and Tokyo-based Protoleaf Inc. are selling seed potatoes of the “Poroshiri” variety and “Potato Bag” soil, which they jointly developed, to grow potatoes in a bag.

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Haith aiming to help food producers do more with less at Potato Expo 2022

The UK’s leading manufacturer of vegetable handling equipment is heading to Potato Expo next month to help US food producers achieve more with less. Haith Group, which has been designing and supplying innovative solutions for farmers, packers and food manufacturers for 75 years, will be promoting its Pro-Line solution in Anaheim, California, on 5th and 6th January during the Potato Expo 2022 event.

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Chairman of the PEI Potato Board on potato trade ban: ‘This is heartbreaking…’

A convoy of almost 40 trucks, including 16 potato trucks carrying half a million pounds of fresh potatoes, made its way through the streets of Prince Edward Island’s Charlottetown yesterday along with series of heartfelt messages directed at the federal government. “The last four weeks have been horrible for Island farmers, but we’re not giving up,” said John Visser, Prince Edward Island farmer and Chairman of the PEI Potato Board in a press release.

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Potatoes USA: 2021 foodservice potato menu trends

Potatoes USA has issued a comprehensive research report depicting the potato category’s penetration on menus across different segments, dayparts, cuisines, and much more. According to the report, potatoes have a presence on 82.9% of restaurant menus in the U.S., and fast-casual restaurants are projected to experience the most growth of potatoes, 5%, over the next four years.

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Canadian govt announces $28 million to help P.E.I. potato growers cope with export ban

Today, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (AAFC) Marie-Claude Bibeau announced $28 million in funding to support Prince Edward Island (PEI) potato farmers affected by trade disruptions. The Government of Canada says in a press release it is taking a Team Canada approach and working collaboratively with the Province of PEI and industry to support potato growers and resume full market access for PEI fresh potatoes.

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North Dakota potato operation bets on cutting-edge sorting technology

A fourth-generation potato farming and marketing family in North Dakota is leaping into a new era of electronic potato grading. The Hall family partnership of Hoople in northeast North Dakota put in place a multi-million-dollar optical grading system that uses cameras to evaluate potatoes individually and sort them into lanes. The Halls’ Spectrim can sort up to 1,700 potatoes a minute or around 120,000 per hour.

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New storage advisory service launched by former head of Sutton Bridge research facility

After the closure of the world-renowned Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research facility last week, following the loss of the potato levy ballot in March and subsequent announcement of AHDB Potatoes’ demise in September, former head of site Adrian Cunnington has moved swiftly to plug the advisory gap for the potato storage industry. Adrian has set up Potato Storage Insight Ltd (PSI), an independent advisory and support service for the potato storage sector.

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CFIA: Potato wart investigation could take until 2023

An official from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency says the investigation into the discovery of potato wart in two P.E.I. fields could take until 2023 to complete. As Nancy Russell reports for CBC News, a group from CFIA made a presentation Friday afternoon to members of the legislature’s standing committee on natural resources. Committee chair Cory Deagle was so taken aback by the mention of 2023 he asked the presenter to repeat what he had just said.

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The Brazilian conservation farmer who ‘kidnaps’ carbon: ‘This makes me a better farmer’

“As a conservation farmer, the practices we use on our farm are allowing us to ‘kidnap carbon’ from the atmosphere and store it in our soil. This makes me a better farmer. The practice of carbon farming supports my efforts to grow more food and help the environment at the same time,” writes Andre-Figueiredo Dobashi in this article published by Global Farmer Network. The article is titled “I’m a conservation farmer who kidnaps carbon for good”.

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Mexican officials inspect US potatoes in latest fresh-market access development

The Colorado Potato Administrative Committee (CPAC) recently hosted a site visit by Mexican authorities for the purpose of U.S. exporters fully gaining fresh potato access to Mexico. As Spudman magazine reports, this site visit is one of the final requirements as the Mexican government moves toward restoring market access for U.S. fresh potatoes.

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Climate change presents challenges and opportunities for Idaho

The impacts of climate change in Idaho will present challenges and opportunities to all sectors of Idaho’s economy — from recreation and tourism to agriculture, energy, human health, infrastructure and land — according to a series of reports prepared by Idaho researchers and just released to the public by the University of Idaho James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research.

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MP: ‘Europe needs our Scottish seed potatoes’

MP Richard Thomson, representing the constituency of Gordon in the House of Commons, has again pressed the UK Government on the export of Scottish seed potatoes – currently banned – to Northern Ireland and the EU. The SNP MP was speaking in a debate in Westminster Hall yesterday (Wednesday) where he raised the matter. “Europe needs our Scottish seed potatoes,” he said.

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