North America

Study found potatoes do not increase risk for type 2 diabetes, participants lost weight

Potatoes have developed a reputation for causing weight gain and an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, and often find themselves on a list of foods to avoid, especially for individuals with insulin resistance. However, a new study from Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University (LSU) says that potatoes actually did not increase that risk. Individuals who participated in the study actually lost weight.

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Study in Canada’s Alberta province looking at rapid detection and early diagnosis of potato diseases

Results Driven Agriculture Research (RDAR) recently announced a project to establish a system for early and rapid diagnosis of all potato diseases, and provide Alberta potato growers a proactive surveillance platform. The outcomes from this project will benefit all Alberta’s potato producers and plant disease researchers. All results of this study will be publicly available for adoption and utilization by other commercial and research labs in the province.

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Canada: PEI govt proposes legislation to limit what crops can be grown in potato wart index fields

Prince Edward Island’s provincial minister of agriculture has tabled legislation that would give the provincial government a lead role in trying to prevent the spread of potato wart in the province. If passed, the act would give the minister Darlene Compton the authority to prohibit or restrict the planting of certain crops within an area of a field where a regulated disease has been detected, for up to 20 years.

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New report provides insight into trends that will transform the food and agricultural world in 2023 and beyond

Nourish Food Marketing, in partnership with Kahntact have released their 7th annual Trend Report. The 2023 Report provides insight into nine key trends that will shape and transform the food and agricultural world in 2023 and beyond, from ‘un-ignorable’ issues like climate change to the historic highs of food inflation, ‘female food’, and the future of eco-conscious agriculture.

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Canadian Potato Council provides perspective on USDA draft report regarding potato wart situation

The USDA has published a draft report for public consultation assessing pathways of introduction for potato wart from Canada into the United States. In a recent press release issued by the Canadian Potato Council, the industry body’s manager, David Jones says, “You may be aware of statements from industry stakeholders regarding the report that have raised your concerns about the movement of potatoes grown on Prince Edward Island (PEI). We wish to clarify the intent of the report and the basis upon which the pathway analysis was conducted.”

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A year later, P.E.I. potato growers still feeling impacts of U.S. border closure

It has been one year since the U.S. border was closed to P.E.I. potatoes, and potato growers say they are still feeling the impact. Now, they worry a blanket ban on P.E.I. potatoes could happen again. According to Alex Docherty at Skye View Farms, “There’s millions and millions of dollars lost, and good food went to waste, and it’s not over, that’s the problem.”

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Potato Sustainability Alliance: ‘The most important time for agriculture’

This article was written by John Mesko, Executive Director, Potato Sustainability Alliance (PSA). “The topic of sustainability and all of its relatives – regenerative, climate-smart, and resource positive – are the hottest focus in agriculture right now,” Mesko wrote. “These initiatives are growing in popularity and influence because of the legitimate promise that farming practices can change the world. [But]…climate-smart practices are not being adopted as fast as climate experts tell us they need to be.”

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‘Our second-worst year in 80 years’, says Canadian potato farmer

Variable precipitation had an impact on this year’s potato crop in southwestern Ontario province in Canada, especially if the operator didn’t have irrigation. At Brenn-B Farms in Waterdown, co-owner Shawn Brenn reported that his 750-acre potato crop yield plummeted to about 9 tonnes per acre, down from the usual 15-17 tonnes, as Nelson Zandbergen reports for Farmers Forum.

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Idaho Potato Commission appoints new Commissioners

During the Idaho Potato Commission’s (IPC) October meeting, two new Commissioners representing the grower and shipper industries were sworn in. Daren Bitter of Bittersweet Farms and Brian Jones of Sun Valley Potatoes will each serve three-year terms. Commissioners Bryan Wada and Paul Saito were sworn in for their second terms and now serve as Chairman and Vice Chairman, respectively.

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New AFFI research reveals increased use of frozen foods by foodservice operators

New research finds that more than 90% of foodservice operators use frozen foods in their menus, with the healthcare, convenience store and fast casual categories reporting the greatest increase in use since 2019. Forty percent of foodservice operators surveyed reported purchasing more frozen foods than they did in 2019. A large majority of operators report purchasing frozen vegetables (83% of operators), potato products (78%) and fruits (76%).

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New report on ‘Agricultural Sustainability and Food Production’ released

In collaboration with William Masters at Tufts University, Chris Said from Apollo Academic Surveys asked leaders, fellows, and awardees of the American Society of Agronomy, the American Society of Animal Science, and the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association about their views on agriculture and food production. The results of the survey was publish by Apollo Academic Surveys in a report on October 7, 2022.

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After USDA risk assessment, NPC urges increased protections to prevent Prince Edward Island potato wart spread

On Thurs., Nov. 10, the National Potato Council (NPC) in the U.S. and a dozen state potato associations issued a letter to USDA Undersecretary of Marketing and Regulatory Services Jenny Moffitt calling on the department to work with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to develop new phytosanitary protocols to prevent the spread of potato wart from Prince Edward Island to U.S. growing areas. USDA concluded the disease is “almost certain to be introduced” to the United States without additional mitigation measures.

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RNA-based Colorado potato beetle product hopes for 2023 registration

More help is on the way for U.S. farmers who struggle to control Colorado potato beetle, as Tim Hammerich of the Ag Information Network reports in a ‘Farm of the Future’ report. Greenlight Biosciences has reportedly developed an RNA-based pesticide alternative that chief commercial officer Mark Singleton says is highly targeted, environmentally-friendly, and safe for consumers.

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APHIS posts new PCN Eradication Program report

APHIS’ Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) Pale Cyst Nematode (PCN) Eradication Program in Idaho has posted its 2022 third quarter report (July 1 – September 30). The report updates program activities and eradication progress, and provides quarterly and aggregate regulatory, survey, and laboratory data.

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Canada: Latest CFIA update on potato wart – 30,000 soil samples and counting

Warm, dry fall weather helped the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to continue soil sampling for potato wart, other than a short delay because of post-tropical storm Fiona. CFIA posts a quarterly update on the investigation into potato wart, and the latest report from October shows the agency has now collected almost 30,000 samples, and analyzed almost 20,000 of them.

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Lamb Weston stock ‘thrives amid economic downturn’, according to investment specialist

Few areas of the stock market have managed to stay above the selling in 2022 outside of the booming energy sector. Lamb Weston stock didn’t just avoid the fall, it has climbed over 30% YTD to hit new 52-week highs recently, as it thrives amid an economic downturn, according to Benjamin Rains, reporting for Zacks.com earlier today. He says the company grew its revenue by 14% year-on-year to $1.13 billion.

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A ‘Star Trek’ for potatoes: Can McCain’s hi-tech farm in Canada save french fries from the climate crisis?

Researchers are reportedly flocking to Canada’s New Brunswick province to test both cutting-edge and bygone methods of spud cultivation to meet a challenging future. McCain’s “Farm of the Future” in the province is one of a series of laboratories the company plans to roll out across the world as it tests what practices are best suited to saving potatoes, while cutting the company’s carbon emissions. The model farm feels like a little like ‘Star Trek’ for potatoes.

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Potato market in the U.S. running hot with holiday demand, shorter crop

Strong demand and higher pricing characterized the potato market in early November, and tight market conditions are expected to continue through the holidays, as Tom Karst reports for The Packer magazine. Lower acreage for fresh market potatoes in Idaho this year, combined with active demand from frozen potato processors, have contributed to higher pricing for this year’s crop. Elevated pricing at both the farm level and at retail are expected in a short crop year.

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Wisconsin father-son team ‘dig in for potato success’

Steve and Andy Diercks recently were presented an Honorary Recognition Award from the University of Wisconsin-College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. The father-son team own and operate Coloma Farms of Coloma, Wisconsin. “It’s quite an honor and we’re proud to receive it, but there are a lot of other people who have helped (the industry) just as much,” Steve Diercks said.

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Survey seeks outlook from potato and onion marketers in the U.S.

A survey from The Packer magazine is seeking input for the publication’s Nov. 14 “Potato and Onion Marketing” section, as Tom Karst, Editor Emeritus at The Packer reports. Marketers who handle potatoes and/or onions are encouraged to give their perspectives on their company’s respective market plans and outlook.

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Boost to organic production: USDA to invest $300 million in new Organic Transition Initiative

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced details of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) $300 million investment in a new Organic Transition Initiative that will help build new and better markets and streams of income for farmers and producers. USDA says organic production allows producers to hold a unique position in the marketplace and thus take home a greater share of the food dollar.

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New Univ of Idaho Extension bulletin focuses on devastating potato disease – bacterial ring rot

University of Idaho Extension has published a new bulletin to help potato farmers recognize the symptoms of bacterial ring rot (BRR) and protect their operations from the devastating crop disease. UI Extension Seed Potato Specialist Kasia Duellman hopes the bulletin will remind commercial and seed potato farmers to maintain good sanitation practices and remain vigilant for symptoms. She warns ring rot “can be an existential crisis for a seed potato grower’s business”.

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First-of-its-kind: McCain and Farm Credit Canada come together to support potato growers’ sustainable practices

McCain Foods and Farm Credit Canada (FCC) have come together with a new offering to reduce financial barriers for potato farmers who are transitioning to sustainable agricultural practices. McCain Foods says smart and sustainable farming is a key pillar of the company’s commitment to be more environmentally conscious, anchored on its commitment to regenerative agriculture.

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Viewpoint: Why the U.S. should sharply increase funding for intensive agriculture

The 20th century was a time of massive changes in US agriculture. From farmers scraping a living out of the land to run multi-thousand-acre operations. But after years of steady growth, public agricultural R&D funding in the United States is waning. Falling R&D investment threatens to forfeit the advantages and benefits of agricultural advancements in the face of increasing global competition.

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Study shows how you may ‘eat more potatoes than you thought’

The good news is that a new study has found that potatoes might be healthier than we thought. A study conducted by researchers at Boston University found that participants who ate fried potato dishes had a lower risk of dealing with various health issues if they weren’t as likely to eat red meat or were physically active.

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PepsiCo Chairman on Positive Agriculture strategy: ‘An incredible start to our transformation journey’

“I’m excited to celebrate the one-year anniversary of pep+,” says Ramon Laguarta, Chairman and Chief CEO at PepsiCo in a LinkedIn post earlier today. “It’s been an incredible start to our transformation journey,” Laguarta posts. PepsiCo Positive (pep+) launched just over one year ago. PepsiCo’s sustainability leaders across the globe share what they learned during the first year of the company’s end-to-end transformation in a news article published on the PepsiCo website earlier today.

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