North America

U.S. potato industry battling viruses: Innovations for a healthier harvest show promising results

PRAC’s Potato Virus Initiative has made progress in efforts to manage potato viruses, optimizing tools for PVY testing, and identifying resistance sources against PMTV and powdery scab. The project focuses on preventing virus spread, enhancing detection methods, and discovering new resistance sources, with successful outreach efforts to share research findings nationwide.

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New potato breeding program on the grow in Northeast Florida

Researchers at the UF/IFAS Agricultural Extension Center in Hastings are set to launch a program that could change the game in the future for local spud growers. They will be applying knowledge to develop new potato varieties geared to better withstand Florida’s challenging production conditions.

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Lamb Weston creates new position, appoints Chief Operating Officer

Lamb Weston this week announced the appointment of Mike Smith as the company’s Chief Operating Officer, effective May 29, 2023. Smith will continue to report to Tom Werner, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lamb Weston. “Creating this role helps position Lamb Weston for further growth by integrating our global operating teams, providing a truly end-to-end view of our entire business that we believe will unlock new efficiencies and scalable growth opportunities,” said Werner.

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Strong results: Lamb Weston continues momentum in Fiscal Q3 2023 with broad-based performance

Lamb Weston Holdings, Inc. recently announced its fiscal third quarter 2023 results and updated its fiscal 2023 outlook. “We delivered another quarter of strong operating results and have raised our fiscal 2023 financial targets accordingly,” said Tom Werner, President and CEO. “We expect this momentum will continue through this fiscal year and provide a solid foundation for fiscal 2024.”

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P.E.I. Potato Board loses court battle over seed potato export ban

The Prince Edward Island Potato Board in Canada is claiming partial victory, after losing its court battle to lift the export ban on seed potatoes. The Federal Court of Canada has now issued a written decision, denying the potato board’s request for a judicial review. But the board said it did have some successes in court.

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Prince Edward Island potato wart dispute: Canadian federal court backs CFIA and Minister of Agriculture

The Government of Canada accepts the decision rendered by the Federal Court today, resulting from an application for judicial review brought by the Prince Edward Island Potato Board (PEI PB), according to a news release issued by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The Government says it accepts the decision of the Federal Court, which dismissed the application for Judicial Review because the decisions under review were either moot or reasonable.

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Record-breaking $2.1 billion U.S. potato exports in 2022: Surging demand amid global inflation and tight supply

In 2022, U.S. potato exports reached a record $2.1 billion in sales. Compared to 2021, volume sales declined -4.2% but were higher than 2018 and 2020 (fresh weight equivalent), according to a market report issued by Potatoes USA earlier today. According to the report, the value of U.S. potato exports rose across all potato types (frozen, fresh, dehydrated, seed, and chips), resulting in an 11% increase from the previous year.

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The Idaho Pest Monitoring Dashboard: Providing growers with timely data for smarter crop protection decisions

After a year of fine-tuning, University of Idaho Extension is promoting a website launched to offer a “one-stop shop” for Idaho farmers and crop consultants providing data from the various College of Agricultural and Life Sciences pest monitoring programs. The Idaho Pest Monitoring Dashboard debuted last spring and includes data and observations from UI Extension programs that monitor the arrival of potato psyllids, aphids and wind-blown spores to inform farmers in making decisions such as when to apply chemicals.

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Australia’s largest potato producer sells stake to Canadian pension fund

Australia’s largest potato producer, Mitolo Family Farms, has sold a majority stake in the business to the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, as Kim Berry reports for Food & Drink Business. MD Frank Mitolo says the company’s growth plans require extra capital, but the family will retain a “significant ownership stake”.

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Potato sustainability takes center stage at the 2nd Annual PSA Summer Symposium

The Potato Sustainability Alliance (PSA) is set to host its 2nd Annual Summer Symposium at the Sysco Global Support Center in Houston, Texas, from June 20-22, 2023. The event, which aims to advance discussions surrounding potato sustainability and celebrate the industry’s progress, is now open for registration, offering special early bird discounts until May 1st.

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New biopesticide offers promise for managing Colorado Potato Beetle

Chemical insecticides can be used to try to manage Colorado potato beetle, but with continued use the beetles often develop insecticide resistance to these chemicals. A new insecticide, known as ledprona, has been developed using a process called RNA interference that suppresses elimination of a damaged protein in the beetles and offers promise to help provide control.

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New groundbreaking online tool for Phytophthora research unveiled: The pathogen ‘Tree of Life’

A groundbreaking, first of its kind online tool, the pathogen “Tree of Life,” enables researchers worldwide to identify, detect, and monitor Phytophthora species. The tool offers comprehensive information on 192 formally described species, their evolutionary history, and genetic data. It allows real-time updates to plant disease information, aiding in tracking emerging threats.

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‘Lunch & Learn’: PRAC’s impact on the U.S. potato industry and how it fosters growth, innovation

The Potato Research Advisory Committee (PRAC) contributes invaluable expertise and strategic guidance to the potato industry, driving innovation, fostering collaboration, and ultimately enhancing potato production in the U.S. Potatoes USA will be hosting a webinar about PRAC next week where you can deepen your knowledge of potato research and learn how PRAC continues to empower growth in the industry.

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‘Steering towards a bright future’: HZPC Americas Corp. names new President

Today, HZPC Americas Corp. announced its new president, Aron Derbidge. Beginning May 1, 2023, Aron will step into the role to lead HZPC operations across the United States and Canada. Aron brings more than 20 years of experience in developing and marketing seed potatoes as well as supporting businesses in commercial growth across the U.S. and Canada. “I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to help advance an industry that has given me so much,” said Aron.

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Eco-driven alliance: Frito-Lay and Quaker collaborate to fast-track sustainable packaging innovation

Frito-Lay Frito-Lay North America and Quaker today announced the opening of an industry-leading Greenhouse Learning Center at its R&D headquarters. The Learning Center will be used to field test, measure, and analyze compostable packaging with an aim to speed up the rate of innovation. This facility represents a key milestone to achieve the company’s PepsiCo Positive (pep+) packaging goal to design 100 percent of packaging to be recyclable, compostable, biodegradable or reusable by 2025.

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Simplot shows appreciation for Canadian potato growers at award banquet

Although being a distant memory at this point, the 2019,2020 and 2021 growing seasons were honoured recently at the William Glesby Centre in in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. Everyone in attendance was applauded for their hard work, but only a select few could take home hardware, according to a report by the PortageOnline Newsroom.

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United Potato Growers of Canada elect new Chair, Officers and Directors

The United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC) is pleased to announce the recent election of a new Chair to lead the organization. At the Annual General Meeting on March 13th, CEO of Kroeker Farms in Manitoba, Wayne Rempel was elected as the new Chair of the UPGC after serving several years as the Secretary. He takes over the position from potato grower Ray Keenen of Rollo Bay Holdings in PEI who held the position for many years. UPGC is also pleased to have Gord Medynski, Director of Sales, Purchasing & Business Development of Dolbec Potatoes in Quebec as the new Vice Chair.

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Cavendish Farms wins 2023 Product of the Year Canada Award

Cavendish Farms is excited to announce it has won the prestigious Product of the Year Canada Award for its All-Day Breakfast Mini Quick Cook Hash Brown Patties. The annual Product of the Year Awards are the world’s largest consumer-voted award for outstanding product innovation. Cavendish Farms won in the 2023 breakfast food category.

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USDA swears in 32 members to Potatoes USA’s Board of Directors

On March 14, 2023, the United States Department of Agriculture conducted a swearing-in ceremony for 30 producer members and two importers to join the Potatoes USA Board of Directors during its Annual Meeting. In a display of commitment to the potato industry, the USDA appointed 16 new members and reappointed 16 members to the Board to serve three-year terms, expiring February 28, 2026.

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McDonald’s to study pros and cons of reusable packaging

McDonald’s Corp. said it will weigh the pros and cons of reusable packaging in its restaurants worldwide, addressing an environmental predicament as European laws have begun to force the fast-food titan to offer its fare in more durable containers. Takeaway food and beverage packaging makes up 88% of the world’s coastline litter, according to a 2021 study published in the journal Nature. Investors and governments are increasingly pressuring restaurants to cut plastic waste.

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Penobscot McCrum potato processing facility in Maine will not be rebuilt

The family-run company that owns the potato processing facility in Penobscot Maine that was destroyed by a fire a year ago will not rebuilt that plant. According to a report by News Center Maine, Daniel Mccrum, a member of the family that owns the plant, made this announcement on Friday. The Mccrum family says their focus is on expanding and investing in their potato processing facility in Washburn, Maine.

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The ‘ultimate guide’ to kettle chip brands in the U.S.

What’s a kettle-cooked chip? Merriam-Webster defines it as “a type of potato chip made so as to be thicker and crunchier than the typical potato chip,” writes Melis Amber in this article published by the Daily Meal. There’s really no nutritional difference between the two, and the base ingredients are pretty much the same. Amber has compiled the ultimate guide to kettle chip brands produced and marketed in the U.S.

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Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse


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