McCain Foods has launched a podcast, “Hot Potato,” focusing on regenerative agriculture and its role in tackling climate change and reshaping the food industry. The series aims to clarify sustainable farming’s complexities and highlight its importance in addressing climate-related challenges. Max Koeune, CEO of McCain Foods, praised the initiative and its diverse guests. The inaugural episode, “Can we farm without harm?”, discusses the impact of industrial agriculture on climate, biodiversity, and soil health, emphasizing the need for sustainable farming methods.
World Potato Congress Inc.’s President, Peter VanderZaag, welcomes Tuberosum Technologies Inc. as a Silver Sustaining Partner. Tuberosum, a Canadian based potato R&D company, emphasizes efficiency and sustainability in potato production. They run breeding programs in Canada, the Netherlands, and Chile, aiming to develop resilient potato varieties with higher yields and resistance to stresses. These efforts not only benefit growers but also reduce environmental impact. Tuberosum’s goal is to enhance global food supply through traditional breeding methods.
In 2022, the Northwestern U.S. witnessed a surge in potato sales, according to a report by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NAAS). Idaho’s sales rose by 35% to $1.41 billion, while Oregon and Washington saw increases of 12% and 33%, respectively. Although Idaho and Oregon’s potato production decreased by 9% and 2%, Washington’s grew by 4%. Collectively, these states contributed 61% to U.S. potato production. However, overall potato processing across eight states dipped by 1%.
Ontario’s Alliston region is buzzing with potato harvest activities. Dr. Eugenia Banks of the Ontario Potato Board highlights the importance of maintaining tuber temperatures between 10-15C for storage, cautioning against warmer temperatures that can cause rot. P & K Vander Zaag Farms reports a healthy Lamoka crop, while in Melancthon, Andrew Tupling’s Caribou russets yield impressively. However, growth cracks are more prevalent this year across varieties.
Agricultural technology influences row crops, specialty crop production, ag retail, and global agribusiness. It impacts the entire food value supply chain. However, with rapid advancements, questions arise about ag tech adoption. On September 27, five ag tech experts will host a free webinar on the State of the Ag Tech Industry, discussing current impacts, future trends, barriers to adoption, and predictions for 2024.
Wet conditions in Aroostook County are threatening its multimillion-dollar potato crop. Persistent rainfall has caused sodden fields, preventing the harvesting of potatoes and raising concerns about rot. Aroostook County produces approximately 90% of Maine’s potatoes. This is the first time in over a decade that such wet conditions have affected the county’s farmers. Recent heavy rains, including those from a tropical storm, have exacerbated the situation. Experts emphasize the need for drier days to ensure a healthy crop.
Global fertilizer crisis spurs shift to sustainable farming solutions, humates getting more attention from American farmers
The global agricultural industry faces challenges from rising fertilizer prices, influenced by the Ukraine conflict, energy costs, and trade policies. A World Bank report noted a 66% increase in fertilizer prices since 2021. This crisis highlights the need for regenerative agriculture, focusing on soil health. Live Earth Products, a Utah-based company, promotes sustainable farming with products like humic and fulvic acid. Their solutions aim to reduce reliance on fertilizers, ensuring crop quality.
In 2022, Alberta’s potato industry showcased unprecedented growth, contributing $2.87 billion to Canada’s economy. Representing 150 growers, the Potato Growers of Alberta highlighted the industry’s expansion potential. With Alberta accounting for 60% of Canada’s net international seed potato exports, the region’s high-quality production and collaboration among stakeholders have positioned it as a dominant force in the potato market. The future looks promising for Alberta’s potato sector.
The World Potato Congress (WPC) has introduced Blair Richardson as its newest board director. WPC President, Dr. Peter VanderZaag, expressed his enthusiasm for Richardson’s addition, highlighting his previous role as an International Advisor to WPC. Richardson, the CEO of Potatoes USA since 2013, has extensive experience in the potato industry and has served on various industry boards. He is an advocate for the potato’s reputation and employs proactive marketing strategies.
Precision AI, a leading agricultural startup, has introduced an AI-powered crop-spraying drone to combat the growing weed issue intensified by climate change. This innovative drone reduces chemical usage by up to 90%, offering a sustainable solution to weed management. This development signifies a major advancement in eco-friendly farming, blending technology and sustainability to address environmental concerns in agriculture.
CBC News reports on the concerns of potato farmers in Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) as they begin their harvest amidst wet conditions. Due to the excessive rainfall during the summer, farmers are apprehensive about the impact on this year’s crop. Greg Donald, the general manager of the P.E.I. Potato Board, mentions that while the crop looks promising, it might not be as bountiful as the previous year. The wet conditions could lead to issues like tuber rot, especially in areas with poor drainage.
The National Potato Council’s ‘Spud Nation Report’, published earlier this year, provides a detailed overview of the US potato industry. It highlights a rising demand for potatoes, with sales reaching $4.8 billion in 2022. The report discusses production trends, export-import dynamics, changing consumer preferences towards organic and non-GMO potatoes, sustainability efforts, technological advancements in food safety, marketing strategies, policy implications, labor challenges, and research initiatives.
Climate change resilience and early potato dying were the main topics at the Elora Potato Research Open House held on August 23 in Canada’s Ontario province. Vanessa Currie from the University of Guelph highlighted a five-year research study, initiated this year, focusing on potato varieties that can withstand increasing climate pressures. The annual event allows growers and buyers to preview potato varieties under testing and those that might be available in the future.
At the 2023 Potato Business Summit earlier this year, Kim Breshears of Potatoes USA highlighted the enduring popularity of potatoes in America. Studies show potatoes as the top vegetable for five consecutive years. While 40% of the U.S. potato crop goes to retail and food service each, 20% is exported. Despite a brief pandemic-induced dip, food service sales are rebounding, indicating a robust future for the potato industry. The data presented by Kim Breshears underscores the unwavering popularity of potatoes in the U.S. market.
One bad potato can spoil the batch, which is why processor J.R. Simplot is reminding producers to beware of pink rot as they begin harvest, as Geralyn Wichers reports for Manitoba Co-operator. “If you know there’s rot in there, tell your harvest operator, ‘when you come to that low spot, pick up the harvester, drive over, and don’t harvest those certain areas,’” said Scott Graham, Simplot’s raw agronomy manager. The fungal disease has been an issue for a number of Manitoba producers in recent years, the company said.
The “Eye on Potatoes” podcast discussed the upcoming 2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). The U.S. potato industry aims to ensure accurate potato nutrition information is considered in the guidelines. NPC CEO Kam Quarles provided testimony to the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. The podcast also featured Beth Johnson, a food policy expert with over 25 years of experience, who has been working with NPC to promote the benefits of potatoes.
Seeds of collaboration: The triumphs of Living Lab – Atlantic in sustainable agriculture across Canada’s Prince Edward Island
Initiated in 2018, Living Lab – Atlantic was a collaborative project in Prince Edward Island (PEI) involving farmers, scientists, and industry partners to co-develop farming practices for soil health and water quality. Completed in April 2023, the project saw over 13 activities studying beneficial management practices. The results highlighted the importance of collaboration in combating climate change and enhancing farming methods.
During the U.S.-Japan bilateral talks from September 25-29, the U.S. potato sector, spearheaded by National Potato Council’s CEO Kam Quarles, will push for broader access to Japan’s fresh potato market. Although the U.S. has exported chipping potatoes to Japan since 2006, there’s a drive to expand into the overall fresh potato segment, which could yield an additional $150-$200 million in yearly exports. This initiative has bipartisan backing from Congress.
During National Fruits and Veggies Month, Potatoes USA celebrates innovative potato growers across the U.S. Leah Halverson of North Dakota uses her marketing skills to connect consumers with the origins of their food. Bryan Jones from Florida focuses on sustainable farming, protecting local waterways, and producing potatoes that transform into chips within 24 hours. Idaho’s Taylor Grant emphasizes sustainability at Grant 4-D Farms, using advanced techniques like solar power and soil moisture sensors. These farmers work tirelessly, often behind the scenes, to bring America’s favorite vegetable to tables both domestically and globally.
A leap forward in food processing solutions: CMP and FPS unveil state-of-the-art innovation center in Canada
Charlottetown Metal Products Ltd (CMP) and FPS Food Process Solutions have inaugurated an Innovation Center in Prince Edward Island, Canada, emphasizing hygienic food processing solutions. This venture will enhance collaborations with educational institutions, government bodies, and global food processing clients. The 10,000 sq. ft. center, housing seven ongoing projects, aims to improve energy use, automation, and production yields. Both company presidents expressed their commitment to innovation and future growth.
Discover the ‘Nex-Gem Lab Former’: Idaho Steel’s pioneering approach to flexible and creative food product development
Idaho Steel Products has launched the Nex-Gem Lab Former, a state-of-the-art machine set to transform food product development. This compact and versatile equipment allows for experimentation without large-scale production, catering to the demand for flexible food product development. It can produce a variety of products, from puffs to plant-based alternatives, in different shapes and sizes. The machine’s user-friendly interface ensures quick testing cycles, while its durable and hygienic design guarantees longevity and food safety. The Nex-Gem Lab Former will be showcased at Pack Expo Las Vegas 2023.
Major food companies, including General Mills, Kellogg’s, and Unilever are partnering with farmers to promote regenerative agriculture, which improves soil health, increases crop yields, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Practices like no-till farming, cover crops, and organic amendments help build soil health and sequester carbon.
Addressing potato wart: Prince Edward Island and industry officials to draft plan for ‘pest-free places’
The potato sector of Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) is collaborating with federal officials to develop a “pest-free places of production” (PFPP) system. Federal Agriculture Minister and P.E.I. MP Lawrence MacAulay on Friday reported meeting with staff and representatives of the P.E.I. Potato Board, to discuss next steps in the face of new potato wart-related restrictions on the province’s crops since 2021.
Jacob Meeuwsen, a Ph.D. student at Washington State University, has been awarded the 2023-24 Academic Scholarship by the Potato Leadership, Education, and Advancement Foundation (Potato LEAF). This $10,000 scholarship recognizes his research focus on intelligent potato water-use efficiency and land-use management practices. Meeuwsen aims to optimize predictive evapotranspiration and irrigation methods for potatoes, ultimately enhancing sustainability in the U.S. potato industry.