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Browsing articles by Mark Halsall

Manitoba Grower Prizes Self-Reliance

Spud Plains Farms is one of the largest potato operations in Manitoba. The 15,000-acre farm includes about 4,500 acres of irrigated potatoes which are spread over out over 80 kilometres in the southwest area of the province. Owner Paul Adriaansen believes for an operation of his farm’s size, it pays to be self-sufficient. “We do as much as we can ourselves on our farm. We just purchased an aircraft last year, a…

Market News

Canada’s potato storage holdings as of June 1 were up 3.1 per cent — or just over 575,000 hundredweight — from the year before, according to figures from the United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC). The bulk of this increase is on the processing side, with total storage holdings in this category showing a year-to-year increase of 10.6 per cent. According to Kevin MacIsaac, UPGC general manager, this is a reflection of…

Peru Prepares to Host World Potato Congress

More than 800 delegates are expected to attend the 10th World Potato Congress (WPC) May 27 to 31 in Cusco, the historic city in southwestern Peru that was once capital of the Inca Empire. The event, which will showcase the origins of the potato in the South America’s Andean region, is being held in Latin America for the first time. “I think it will be such a unique and different experience for…

China a Potato Production Powerhouse

Hundreds of potato stakeholders from around the globe will descend on Cusco, Peru, in May for the 10th World Potato Congress (WPC). One the largest groups of participants will be from China, the leading potato producer in the world and the host nation for the last WPC in 2015. According to Peter VanderZaag, a WPC director and one of the key organizers of WPC 2015 as well as WPC 2018, the event…

Farming Potatoes is all in the Family

Arjan Woordman comes from a long line of potato growers. His great-great-grandparents started it all off in the Netherlands in the late 1800s, and farming potatoes has been in the family blood ever since. “We definitely love what we do,” says Arjan, who along with his wife Wietske grows about 1,300 acres of potatoes each year on their 3,500 acre farm just outside Taber, Alta. The farm, which was purchased by Arjan’s parents…

Market News

The market for Manitoba potatoes will soon be significantly bigger, thanks to J.R. Simplot’s planned plant expansion in Portage la Prairie, Man. Simplot announced earlier this month it will spend $40 million on the project which will more than double the capacity of the french fry plant. “It will have a big impact. First of all, it means more market for the product,” says Kevin MacIsaac, general manager of the United Potato…

Reaping Rewards of Processing Plant Expansion

After years of stagnant growth, the potato processing industry in North America is on the rise. Numerous processors have expanded or opened plants in the last year or two in response to growing demand for french fries and other potato products. For instance, McCain Foods expanded its potato processing facilities in Idaho and New Brunswick in 2016, and growers in both areas are reaping the benefits. Blair Young, who grows 600 acres…

Romain Cools New Head of World Potato Congress

Romain Cools of Belgium has been selected by the World Potato Congress (WPC) board of directors to be the organization’s fourth president and CEO since its inception in 1993. Cools assumed the leadership role on Jan. 1, taking over from David Thompson, the P.E.I. resident and long-time WPC board member who served as the organization’s top executive from 2012 to 2017. “This is the first time that we’ve gone outside of Canada for…

Market News

For the fourth straight year, the national potato yield in Canada has hit a new record high. According to figures from Statistics Canada, the national yield per acre for the 2017 potato crop was 309 hundredweight (cwt). That’s up slightly from the previous record-setting level of 308 cwt per acre in 2016. Kevin MacIsaac, general manager of the United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC) isn’t surprised the yield number is maintaining its…

Swansfleet Alliance Celebrates 40 Years

Manitoba’s Swansfleet Alliance is marking its 40th year of producing seed potatoes this year. Its founder, Dutch immigrant Henk Jonk, came to Canada in 1954 and eventually settled in the Swan Lake area of the province to farm. He began growing seed potatoes in 1976, and today his sons and grandchildren carry on the proud family tradition of providing high-quality seed to potato producers in Manitoba. One of Henk’s grandsons, Russell Jonk,…

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