North America

Border closure shocks Prince Edward Island potato industry

Karla Veinot is one of many farmhands across Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) on the east coast of Canada who were rocked by news of the US border closing to fresh potato exports from the Island. The single mom of two children has been working for Power Farms in Elliotvale for about eight years, and now her job is anything but secure. Ms Veinot, who lives in Savage Harbour, said she was “shocked and angry” upon hearing the news November 22.

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Prince Edward Island Potato Board on U.S. border closure: ‘Let our potatoes go’

The Prince Edward Island Potato Board urges all Canadians in a press release to work together to protect potato farmers in the wake of the decision last week by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to suspend potato exports from the Island to its longstanding U.S. customers and partners. The Board warns that potato farmers on the Island will face dire consequences of U.S. border closure decision.

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U.S. chipping potatoes showcased in China for the first time

For the first time ever, a sample of fresh U.S. chipping potatoes arrived in China and was displayed at the Food & Hospitality China Shanghai Global Food Trade Show in early November. This historic event, which is helping to pave the way for commercial shipments of U.S. chip-stock to China, was marked with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and speeches by U.S. government officials and representatives from Potatoes USA.

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Potato wart: Government-Industry potato working group assembles to help affected farmers in Prince Edward Island

According to a press release issued by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Government of Canada is working with the Province of Prince Edward Island (PEI) and industry to support PEI farmers following the recent suspension of certification of fresh potatoes from PEI to the United States. The newly formed Government-Industry Potato Working Group met on Wednesday, November 24 for initial discussions.

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North American fertilizer shortage sparks fears of higher food prices, global nitrogen prices 80% higher

A global shortage of nitrogen fertilizer is driving prices to record levels, prompting North America’s farmers to delay purchases and raising the risk of a spring scramble to apply the crop nutrient before planting season, according to a report by The Guardian. Global nitrogen fertilizer sales were worth $53bn in 2020, and prices are at least 80% higher so far this year, according to Argus Media.

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NPC: Positive steps taken to reopen Mexico for U.S. fresh potatoes

The National Potato Council (NPC) in the U.S. says in its latest industry newsletter that Mexico’s National Service for Agricultural Health, Food Safety, and Agri-Quality (SENASICA) published the Phytosanitary Requirement Sheet for U.S. potato imports to the entirety of Mexico. NPC CEO Kam Quarles told The Packer he is “cautiously optimistic” about progress.

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APHIS commends CFIA for voluntarily prohibiting export of seed and fresh potatoes from Prince Edward Island

In a news release issued today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) commends the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for voluntarily prohibiting export of seed and fresh potatoes from Canada’s Prince Edward Island (PEI) into the United States due to the confirmed presence of Synchytrium endobioticum in that country.

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Prince Edward Island potato industry in limbo as Canada suspends shipments to U.S.

Millions of pounds of potatoes are effectively “not going anywhere” for one Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) farmer following a recent decision by the federal government to suspend shipments of all fresh potatoes from the province to the United States. Like many in the province, Ray Keenan, co-owner of Rollo Bay Holdings Ltd., is trying to understand the rationale behind the suspension, which was made in response to the October discovery of potato wart.

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Prince Edward Island potato growers seek ‘quick’ answers to resolve trade issue with U.S.

The group representing potato farmers on Prince Edward Island says its members need answers quickly from Ottawa on the decision to suspend all shipments of fresh potatoes from the Island to the United States or the industry will face huge financial losses. Prince Edward Island Potato Board general manager Greg Donald says farmers were shocked to learn Monday that Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau had ordered the trade restriction after the recent discovery of potato wart in two P.E.I. fields.

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Prince Edward Island vows to fight federal decision to halt potato exports to U.S. over potato wart

Premier Dennis King said the Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) government will consider all options at its disposal, including legal, to fight the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s suspension of fresh potato exports from the province to the U.S.  King said the federal government’s decision was “extremely disappointing” and will immensely hurt the Island’s economy.

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Univ of Maine is developing a ‘super potato’ resistant to climate change

For decades, the University of Maine has devoted valuable agricultural research to studying how to improve potato crops, a central element of the state’s agricultural economy. Over the past year, the focus of the program’s mission has ramped up with one particular goal in mind: make potatoes that are resistant to climate change.

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Heat takes toll on Columbia Basin spud harvest

While potato farmers in the Columbia Basin could call on all the water they needed during this year’s drought, the heat still posed risks and has left its mark on this year’s potato crop. “Yield is down, and quality is also down,” said Adam Weber of Weber Farms near Quincy. He said the heat was to blame for the drop in yields and quality. “It’s 10% down, though it varies with varieties,” he said.

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CFIA announces ‘Canada’s strongest action against potato wart to date’

In a press release issued by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) today, the agency says the CFIA Charlottetown Laboratory confirmed the presence of potato wart on two different PEI farms on October 1 and 14, 2021. The two detections showed high levels of potato wart, and made it necessary to take Canada’s strongest action against potato wart to date, CFIA says in the press release.

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U.S. potato exports continue to improve, strong sales to Mexico

U.S. exports of frozen potato products increased by 30% for the July – September 2021 quarter compared to 2020. These increases were led by a 63% increase to Mexico, continuing exceptionally strong sales to this market throughout 2021. Potatoes USA says in a market update today that exports to Canada and Central America were up 52% and 55%, respectively, with all countries in Central America posting growth.

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Potato buyers treated to virtual reality tour of Prince Edward Island

The Prince Edward Island Potato Board in Canada is using virtual reality to remind buyers of the reasons to purchase spuds from the Island. As Nancy Russell reports for CBC News, the board has sent a dozen virtual reality kits including high-tech goggles to many large national retailers across Canada, as well as some regional retailers both in Canada and the United States.

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The ‘wow factor’ and the reality of mobile, automated potato cleaning

Harvesting rock and debris alongside one’s potatoes is a frustrating and expensive reality of production. Until recently, producers haven’t had good post-harvest handling options. Operating a picking line is costly, inefficient and, as fewer and fewer people are willing to take on menial piece-work, increasingly challenging to staff. There is, however, a better way, says the Lockwood Engineering team.

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Trucking shortage hinders movement of record Aroostook potato harvest

Aroostook County in Maine may have pulled a record potato harvest out of the ground this year, but transportation slowdowns and a driver shortage are making it difficult to get the crop to market, reports Paula Brewer for the Bangor Daily News. Nationwide, the trucking industry is short 80,000 drivers, according to American Trucker, a situation exacerbated by the pandemic.

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NPPGA helping potato growers succeed

The Northern Plains Potato Growers Association (NPPGA) serves more than 200 grower members and 250 potato associate members throughout northwest Minnesota and all of North Dakota, providing legislative, operational and marketing support. “We work in legislative issues, we provide dollars for research and we do marketing for the fresh market,” said Ted Kreis, marketing director for the East Grand Forks, MN-based association.

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‘Tasteful Partners’: A new entity formed by Tasteful Selections and RPE

Tasteful Selections and RPE, its exclusive sales and marketing partner, have formed a new entity: Tasteful Partners. As part of the arrangement, Tasteful Partners is acquiring RPE and closed on the sale last week. The deal creates synergies as well as alignment and integration opportunities across Tasteful Selections and RPE, said Bob Bender, Tasteful Selections chief executive officer. The new Tasteful Partners entity is a wholly-owned CSS Farms subsidiary.

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New seed potato lab will benefit Idaho’s spud industry

The University of Idaho is close to opening a new Seed Potato Germplasm Laboratory, which is the place where most Idaho potatoes are “born.” “This is a really top-end facility,” said Doug Gross, who grows potatoes for the processing industry near Wilder. “It’s important for Idaho as the number one potato and seed potato producing state to have a world-class facility that we bring our seed through.”

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New Red Fox potato a first for Prince Edward Island Potato Board

The new Red Fox potato has a very P.E.I. name —and is also a first in the history of the Prince Edward Island Potato Board. The Potato Board purchased the rights to the new variety from the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada breeding program in Fredericton, New Brunswick, and is now bringing it to the commercial market, as Nancy Russell reports for CBC News.

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