Promotion: Potatoes USA spotlights performance athletes on website

Image result for potatoes usa athletesA new feature has launched on the website, designed to spotlight athletes from around the US potato industry and share how they are fueling their performance with potatoes. The series launched with spotlight features on Christie Wood, Account Director at Sterling-Rice Group, a distance runner who just completed the NYC Marathon.  She enjoys “simply prepared potatoes (boiled, baked or mashed) as both a night-before performance food and as a recovery food with her favorite protein.” It further features Bill Skinner, Seed Potato Farmer from Belgrade, Montana, also a distance runner who recently qualified for the 2018 Boston Marathon and enjoys lightly salted boiled potatoes during his long runs. Potatoes USA welcomes suggestions from the industry for additional potato-loving athletes to feature on Do you know someone that could be featured? Have them fill out the athlete Q&A and reach out to Sarah Reece, Global Marketing Manager, at

Colorado hoping NAFTA can open more of Mexico to spuds

colorJim Ehrlich, executive director of the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee says in a report on marketing potatoes in Mexico, “The goal of the project was simply to increase Colorado potato exports to Mexico by providing support to Colorado potato shippers and growers. To achieve the goal we had three key objectives: Hiring a local Mexican consultant…; Working with this consultant to gather information on Mexican potato consumption … and consumers; Taking and sharing the information that was gathered to develop relationships with Mexican potato importers and retailers…” Mexico is a major market for Colorado’s fresh potatoes, and loads are allowed into a 26-kilometer border zone approved for imports. Reassurance has reportedly come from the office of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue concerning NAFTA and the inclusion of potato exports in trade discussions. More

US: Promoting potatoes as “athletic fuel”

Image result for potatoes athletesRecently, Potatoes USA received approval to spend money toward research with the goal of launching more proactive campaigns around potato nutrition. Instead of reactively combating negative health claims against potatoes, Potatoes USA will more actively promote potatoes as part of an active lifestyle, including for high-performance athletes. When he unrolled this strategy earlier this year, Potatoes USA President Blair Richardson said this will supplement current marketing efforts but not replace them. The research isn’t finished yet, but the group is already taking steps toward this goal of promoting potatoes as athletic fuel. “We are not going to be on our heels, we are going to be on our toes,” said Kim Breshears, director of marketing programs for Potatoes USA to the recent BIG Idaho Potato Harvest Meeting on Nov. 14. More

Idaho Potato Commission takes steps to address quality concerns

University of Idaho Plant Sciences Professor Mike Thornton demonstrates how proper cushioning within equipment can reduce potato bruising Nov. 14 during the Idaho Potato Commission’s Big Idaho Potato Harvest Meeting. Thornton and UI Extension storage specialist Nora Olsen are helping the commission evaluate the possible causes of fresh potato quality concerns by some customers.

The Idaho Potato Commission is collaborating with researchers, major buyers, growers and shippers to address recent quality concerns about some of the state’s fresh potato shipments. Much of the discussion during IPC’s Nov. 14 Big Idaho Potato Harvest Meeting, hosted at the Shoshone-Bannock Hotel and Event Center, focused on the need to reduce bruising and other imperfections in fresh shipments. IPC President and CEO Frank Muir explained the commission is partnering with Walmart and a major food service buyer to learn more about the causes of quality problems, in response to an increasing number of customer complaints since the 2015 harvest. Muir said IPC also plans to conduct quality-improvement workshops for growers and shippers, is developing a handbook outlining best practices for handling potatoes and has commissioned University of Idaho potato researchers Nora Olsen and Mike Thornton to study the supply chain and determine causes of damage. More

British Potato 2017 event plots UK role after Brexit

BP2017 Potato Industry Show is a potato gathering from seed to supermarket, taking place November 22 to 23, in the Yorkshire Event Centre, Harrogate, United Kingdom. The British Potato show has taken on an added dimension as the first show since the UK’s decision to fundamentally change its relationship with Europe and its trading focus with the rest of the world. “The challenges and opportunities of Brexit, the global role for UK seed and technical lessons from around the world, all feature strongly in the official seminar program at the event,” says show organizer Steve Wellbeloved. Additionally, among the record number of exhibitors – one in five is new to the show – many are showcasing goods and services relevant to global audiences. This trading focus also extends to a special Trade & Innovation Hub, where the UK government will be highlighting its support for agritech, exports and inward investment. More

Canada: Prince Edward Island Potato Board unveils new TV ad

Image result for CA: Prince Edward Island Potato Board unveils new TV adThe P.E.I. Potato Board has unveiled it’s new advertisement which will play on TV and online. Greg Donald, general manager of the board, said the video advertisement is something the board has considered for a long time, and now it can showcase P.E.I. potatoes to the world. “The potato industry is an important part of P.E.I. and who we are — it’s an important part of the economy, our culture our scenery,” Donald said. “There’s fewer people that are involved in the industry, there’s fewer people involved in agriculture. We want to take every opportunity we can to engage with those who aren’t involved in the industry.” Donald said the advertisement will run locally on CBC News: Compass and throughout the Atlantic region, on Hockey Night in Canada and online. More

Agripat – a new organisation for Italian potato producers

Agripat is a new organisation gathering 1,023 producers, 266 of which are direct members while 757 are members through 8 partner cooperatives. This in turn means over 10% of the potatoes grown in Italy for the fresh produce market are part of Agripat. “Emilia Romagna is the region producing the leading quantities in Italy and the purpose is to promote our produce as best as we can,” explains President Michele Filippini. Maurizio Cesari is the vice-president. The hectares cultivated by Agripat partners in 2017 were 2,555, 1,718 of which located in the Bologna province. The rest is mainly in the Ferrara and Ravenna provinces. Crops dropped from the 3,263 of 2012, but quantities actually remained constant or even increased as only non-specialised producers and small crops were lost. More

The International Potato Centre expands to Georgia in Eurasia

The International Potato Center (CIP) has opened its regional office covering Central Asia and the Caucasus, in Tbilisi, Georgia. CIP plans to implement innovative methods of potato growing and will introduce new potato breeds. It will also focus on providing educational and professional development possibilities to scientists, farmers and producers in the sector. Michael Gerba, International Potato Center Chief Operating Officer, addressed the audience, saying potatoes, like wine, are part of Georgia’s great culture. “I’m very glad to be in Tbilisi. Our organisation will promote potato-growing not only in Georgia, but throughout the region,” he stated. More

US: Diverse approaches in store for 2017 Wisconsin spud promotions

Joe-PavelskiThe 2017 promotional program of the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association is taking a variety of approaches. Dana Rady, director of promotion and consumer education for the association, described the various components of the effort. The promotion includes a Wisconsin potato display contest, tying in health with an NHL player from Wisconsin, a television grilling show episode and a children’s health promotion. A television advertising campaign ran during the Green Bay Packers’ preseason broadcasts. The commercials involved Joe Pavelski, a hockey player for the San Jose Sharks, who is a native of Plover, WI. The ad, which targeted Wisconsin’s buy local market, showcased how “Potatoes Power Performance” through complex carbohydrates, high levels of vitamins and minerals and their heart-healthy attributes. More

US: Food service professionals tour Idaho potato harvest

Kevin Stanger, with Wada Farms in Pingree, Idaho, leads food service professionals on a tour of his facility. The tour was sponsored by the Idaho Potato Commission.Twice each week, Egan Click, with Sysco Corp. in Chicago, inspects 100,000-pound rail loads of Idaho potatoes to make certain they meet customers’ size and quality specifications. But Click acknowledges that prior to participating in an Idaho Potato Commission-sponsored harvest tour, he didn’t fully appreciate the “unbelievable” process Idaho growers, packers and shippers follow to meet the standards associated with their state’s seal. Click was among the 28 professionals within the growing food service category IPC included in a Sept. 26-29 tour. Participants representing major potato markets such as Illinois, California, Texas and New York toured potato harvest, a fresh packing operation, a dehydrated potato plant and a frozen potato processing plant. Don Odiorne, IPC’s vice president of food service, said the food service professionals head home with photographs and stories about Idaho potato production to share with their staffs and may become “brand advocates.” More

Potatoes USA calls for communication on upcoming research efforts

Related imageAhead of the USDA Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) publishing its fiscal year 2018 request for pre-applications, two industry leaders are calling for those in the research community to publish their plans to seek funding from the SCRI. In a letter, Chairman of the Potato Research Advisory Committee Steve Gangwish and Director of Research at Potatoes USA Ryan Krabill urged those in the potato research community to alert the industry of pending SCRI proposals or plans for an SCRI proposal. They wrote that there is an effort currently underway to develop the foundation for a soil health proposal specific to the potato industry, likely through SCRI. “Soil health is a top priority for the potato industry,” the letter read. “Those of you who are interested in being a part of that discussion are encouraged to let us know directly so that we can ensure that your interest is properly accounted for.” More

North America: Potato Sustainability Initiative seeking an Executive Director to lead the partnership

Image result for Potato Sustainability InitiativeThe Potato Sustainability Initiative (PSI) in North America is seeking an Executive Director to support its growing programs into the future. Started by the National Potato Council, the Canadian Horticultural Council and a host of potato buyers, processors and growers in 2010, PSI now involves more than 500 growers, McDonald’s, Sysco, the National Potato Council, the Canadian Horticulture Council, Basic American Foods, Cavendish, Kraft Heinz, McCain Foods, Lamb Weston, Simplot and the IPM Institute of North America. PSI has developed both outcome and practice based sustainability metrics that allow growers to measure and report to supply chain partners improvements in the sustainability of their operations over time. For more information, please visit the PSI website.

Potatoes South Australia wins grant to develop vodka from waste potato peelings

In an effort to combat food waste, Potatoes South Australia has teamed up with the University of Adelaide and Adelaide Hills Distillery to make vodka from potato skins. Robbie Davis, chief executive officer of Potatoes SA, said at a national level, food loss in the agricultural industry — pre farm gate — was $3 billion annually. “But the horticulture component of that is $1.8 billion dollars annually, and potatoes are the biggest contributor,” she said. Potatoes South Australia received $30,000 for the project from the State Government. Ms Davis said although whole potatoes were already used to make vodka, they hoped to determine if a premium SA spirit could be made using only waste potato peel. “Having gone to lots of processing plants — what is happening to the skins? Why shouldn’t we try and use them for something?” she said. “The potential is just phenomenal. We want to do a comparison between different varieties of potatoes and their skins, and we will also do a comparison with whole potatoes.” More

First female grower appointed as Idaho Potato Commissioner

First female grower appointed as Idaho Potato CommissionerThe Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) announced Mary Hasenoehrl of Gross Farms as the first female to represent potato growers. “I’m looking forward to working with Mary who has a long and impressive background in farming and agriculture,” stated Frank Muir, President & CEO, IPC. “I have no doubt her perspective and experience will help us as we build impactful marketing programs to reach our primary target audience, women ages 25-54.” Randy Hardy of Hardy Farms and Nick Blanksma of Legacy Farms were also sworn in to serve second three-year terms at the 2017 Idaho Grower Shippers Association meeting in Sun Valley. Nine Commissioners represent the Idaho® potato growers, shippers and processors. They are nominated by industry peers and selected by Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter. More

No justification for China extending potato starch duties, says Starch Europe

© iStock/Goldfinch4everOn Friday (15 September), the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) confirmed its final decision to extend anti-subsidy duties on exports of EU-manufactured potato starch for another five years. The policy notification published on the Ministry’s Chinese language website, confirmed duties ranging from 7.5% to 12.4%. These duties have been in place since 2010, a response to the EU potato starch support scheme which provided subsidies to manufacturers. However, this EU support scheme came to an end in July 2012 – according to trade association Starch Europe, which means the anti-subsidy duties are no longer warranted. The association, which represents the interests of 95% of European starch suppliers, said in a statement it was disappointed by the decision that fails to be supported by hard facts and figures and sound justification. More