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Family Pride

In 1989, Kornelis Bakker was in his second year of university in the Netherlands when his best friend made a surprising announcement: “We’re going to Canada next summer,” he told Bakker. A seed growers’ delegation from New Brunswick had been in the area visiting a few seed farms, including his friend’s. That night at supper, his friend told his parents he’d decided to do an internship in New Brunswick. “No, you’re not,”…

From our Desk

Spuds on Mars

There has been a lot of talk over the past few years about launching manned missions to Mars with people who will colonize the planet. For example, Netherlands-based Mars One aims to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars by 2031. Eldon Musk’s SpaceX mission to Mars has joined the race, although they’re short on details at this point. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is on a journey to Mars…

Eye On The Nation

MANITOBA By Dan Sawatzky, General Manager, Keystone Potato Producers Association Our annual conference, Manitoba Potato Production Days, was held at the end of January with excellent attendance. Industry support of this event is exceptional and is instrumental to the conference success. The Manitoba Potato Partners Seminar is held the end of March with updates from UPGC and APRE, followed by our provincial potato research reporting activities. Usage of the large crop in…

Remarkable Turnaround for Manitoba Grower

Eleven years ago, things weren’t going so well for Manitoba potato grower Sheldon Wiebe. Wiebe had gone through some really tough years on his farm just outside MacGregor, and it prompted him to take stock: he could continue dryland potato farming on the fields where his family had been growing spuds for three generations, or he could look somewhere else. “That fall I went for a drive 20 miles west of us…

From our Desk

Imidacloprid Uncertainty

UPDATE:  The consultation period has been extended. Interested parties are encouraged to provide comments and suggestions by 23 March 2017. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you have probably heard by now that Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) is proposing to phase out all agricultural uses of imidacloprid over three to five years. The proposed phase out comes as a result of a re-evaluation of imidacloprid by the PMRA,…

Managing Soil-Borne Pests, Diseases

For potato farmers, soil-borne pests and diseases are like that pesky younger sibling that’s always trying to get you in trouble: ignore them at your peril. Hazards such as Verticillium, nematodes, pink rot and Rhizoctonia can have a big impact on the bottom line if not kept in check. For this edition of Roundtable, Spud Smart sought input from three industry experts on the financial importance of these potato problems, and best…

Eye On The Nation

ALBERTA By Terence Hochstein, Executive Director, Potato Growers of Alberta The 2015-2016 crop year was anything but normal for Alberta process potato growers. An early April start turned into a long fall with not a lot to show for it. A cool summer with less than average heat and growing degree days (GDD) left Alberta growers with just an average crop. The quality is excellent but the 2016 yields come up rather…

From our Desk

Learning From Experience

Weather has always been in the forefront of human consciousness – man is aware of the surrounding climate almost every minute of every day. When we get up, we look outside to “see what it’s doing” weather-wise. We check weather reports at breakfast so we know what to wear when we step outside the door. We study long-term forecasts to find out what the weather will be like for the week. Whether…

Eye On The Nation

ALBERTA By Terence Hochstein, Executive Director, Potato Growers of Alberta Spring came early to Alberta this year, and with that, the crops were planted about two weeks ahead of normal. April and May were unusually warm and gave the crop a great start to the season. Optimism was abundant that the processing industry would have another bumper crop on their hands. June, July and August rolled around and the weather kind of…

A Canadian Love Affair

Michel and Hanneke Camps didn’t plan on becoming farm owners when they first arrived in Canada in 2000. The husband and wife had both graduated from university in their native Holland with degrees in intensive livestock management and were eager to gain some work experience abroad. They ended up in southern Alberta and spent the next two years doing just that, Michel at a potato farm and Hanneke at a nearby hog…

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