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Seed potatoes go to waste due to trade restrictions

The repercussions of the tomato potato psyllid outbreak are taking shape in Western Australia (WA), with seed potato growers starting to feed hundreds of tonnes of perfectly good produce to their cattle. With exports of WA potatoes and tomatoes still ground to a halt, and a fully supplied local market, seed potato producers have no home for their produce. It has forced many growers, such as Albany’s Trevor Barker, to dump their…

Potatoes May be NAFTA Target

The National Potato Council (NPC) is calling for action in any upcoming NAFTA renegotiations. In a letter to President Donald Trump, John Keeling, the NPC’s CEO, said the group “is strongly supportive of improving the conditions for trade that we confront with Canada and Mexico.” Keeling also noted that the two countries represent important markets for U.S. producers. Canada is the second-largest export market with annual sales of $315 million — 17.8…

Should Seed Potato Growers start testing for Dickeya?

The potato disease Dickeya can be detected by laboratory testing — but is there enough of it present to justify the higher costs? That is the question for Canadian seed potato growers exporting to the United States who are increasingly asked for the test. It’s a relatively new threat to North American potato production. The invasive pathogen Dickeya dianthicola — not to be confused with blackleg causing Dickeya solani — was first…

Farm succession skips a generation

Knowing an opportunity when you see it is key to building a successful business, say two Prince Edward Island brothers. So are preparation and confidence in your skills. When the opening came to purchase their grandfather’s farm near Summerside and walk into a turn-key potato operation, Bryan and Kyle Maynard knew it was their chance. “When the opportunity came up, we were both excited to take this on,” 31-year-old Kyle says of…

McCain Foods USA Announces Expansion of Burley, Idaho Facility

McCain Foods USA will expand its production capacity for frozen french fries in North America. The location of the expansion is McCain’s current plant in Burley, Idaho where it has been doing business for 20 years.  Capital investments to support the expansion total more than USD$200 million to expand its state-of-the-art production facility.  With the expansion, McCain expects to create more than 180 new positions in Burley directly. McCain officials said in…

Seasonal help can be hard to come by

No two Canadian potato operations have the same challenges. Coast to coast, the problems and opportunities facing producers vary widely based on geography and markets. But one problem might be a little more common than others: finding the right seasonal help during the two busiest times of year – planting and harvest. In New Brunswick, a shortage of skilled workers has been a problem for years, says Paul Leahey, who has managed…

More Than Just a Purple Potato

Although potato growers, large grocery chains and potato processors continue to meet the consumer’s insatiable appetite for fries and chips, the consumption value of all potato varieties is being lost in the bin. When the potato was given a bad reputation in the high protein diet craze, consumers began to move to other starches. Recently, the industry has attempted to prompt a new conversation about the nutritional value of the humble spud….

US: Potato Growers Provide NAFTA Enhancements to Administration

In a letter to President Donald Trump, the National Potato Council (NPC) provided specific recommendations on how the Administration can improve the terms of trade for potato exports under NAFTA. “Improving NAFTA can benefit rural America and our nation’s economy,” said NPC Executive Vice President and CEO John Keeling. “The potato industry is strongly supportive of building on the successes we have seen over the life of NAFTA.” Canada and Mexico are…

Understanding the Potato’s Appeal

A graph of table potato consumption per capita in Canada over the past 20 years plainly illustrates a stark reality: the average Canadian today consumes just 22.2 kilograms of fresh potatoes per year, barely more than half the 42.7 kilograms an average Canadian consumed two decades ago. The decline in per capita consumption is a serious and ongoing concern, and a priority for the potato industry to continue working to mitigate. That…

Industry Comment: The Importance of Unity

The United Potato Growers of Canada was formed in 2006. Our country followed a similar initiation of our sister organization, the United Potato Growers of America (UPGA), formed by our neighbours south of the border. It was formed out of desperation. Growers were losing their shirts financially and it was an attempt to bring a tide that would raise all boats. Even more importantly it was recognized at that time that the…

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