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Former NHL star and motivational speaker Ryan Walter (right) shares his Stanley Cup ring with Matt Hemphill, executive director of Potatoes New Brunswick, at the New Brunswick Potato Conference and Trade Show on Feb. 4.

Big Crowd for New Brunswick Potato Show

This year’s New Brunswick Potato Conference and Trade Show, held Feb. 4 at the E. & P. Senechal Centre in Grand Falls, N.B., is being hailed as a great success by organizers.

Matt Hemphill, executive director of Potatoes New Brunswick, told Spud Smart as the conference was wrapping up that it was the largest attendance he’d seen in recent years.

“We’ve seen almost 300 people go through the door, and you always know when you’ve had a great agenda when you see a lot of growers out as opposed to industry folks,” he said.

Growers and industry reps from New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Maine came out to hear a full complement of potato experts discussing important issues. The topics included:

  • An update on the new national potato productivity research initiative
  • Effective seed handling
  • Soil health
  • Variable rate nutrient application
  • Dickeya

According to Hemphill, all of the presentations neatly tied into the theme of the New Brunswick Potato Industry Transformation Initiative, a project with the goal of improving many aspects of the province’s potato industry, including boosting potato yields.

“We had a good mix this year. We’ve got rotation crops covered, we’ve got soil health, compaction issues, organic, compost — we covered it all. It’s everything we’re focused on right now for this initiative, and we think those are the major keys to drive yields,” Hemphill said.

“We are now two and a half years into this five-year initiative. We are making ground, we are making some traction, and I think growers are coming out to hear more about what we’re doing.”

The conference also featured a rousing motivational session with former NHL star Ryan Walter.

The presentations from the 2016 New Brunswick Potato Conference and Trade Show are available for viewing at Potatoes New Brunswick.

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