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2019 PAA Symposium Unites and Sustains Industry

The PAA’s Marketing and Utilization section takes on trending topics and illustrates marketing is the tie that binds the potato industry in this highly-anticipated session.

THE SYMPOSIUM BEING held at PAA’s annual meeting is an event no one will want to miss. “These are the hottest topics in the industry right now,” says Tina Brandt, co-chair of the 2019 PAA Symposium and Variety Development Manager for the J.R. Simplot Company. The event, which is being hosted by PAA’s Marketing and Utilization section, is also a little different this year, she adds. 

“This one is unique in that it’s less of an academic-focused group, but it ties us all together because researchers are ultimately concerned about the utilization of the crop,” she says. 

The topic is “Changes and Challenges in the Potato Marketing Sectors,” which is information applicable across the entire value chain. “It all comes down to whether or not we can sell the crop, and the demand for the crop. So, it’s a universally-appealing session,” says Brandt. 

The mix of guest speakers Brandt and the Symposium Committee have brought together for the event will be addressing important issues across all marketing sectors. 

Bayer Crop Science’s head of Regulatory Affairs in Canada, Seshadri Iyengar, will discuss European markets and the status of the sprout inhibitor chlorpropham (CIPC) in Europe. The CIPC situation is one the entire industry is paying attention to, says Brandt. 

Iyengar will report on the status of the non-renewal of CIPC and how markets and the industry is handling the change. 

For European producers, it’s going to be quite a challenge, says Brandt. However, what happens there will affect North American industry stakeholders if not in a regulatory sense then in trade. “Some of our global export partners may be affected in a roundabout way,” says Brandt. 

Audrey Boulianne, general manager of Québec Parmentier based in Québec, Canada, will talk about innovative fresh market packaging and marketing. Boulianne will share marketing innovations she’s been involved with and how some of the changes her company has made have been effective in expanding its markets, says Brandt. 

“We look forward to hearing the experiences of Québec Parmentier’s successful coordination of dozens of family farms and dozens of potato varieties to create a unique product which increased demand in the fresh potato market,” says Brandt. 

Trends in the processing sector is the topic Catherine Cantley, a food processing specialist for the Idaho-based company TechHelp and Assistant Professor at the University of Idaho’s School of Food Science, will address. 

Cantley has worked in both the chipping potato and French fry processing sectors, so she’s got a lot of experience coming from the private sector, says Brandt, and can provide food processing and quality assurance expertise. 

Another guest speaker will explore maximum residue limits. In general, the term “MRL” is tossed around the industry a great deal, says Brandt. “But what does that really mean?” she asks. 

In general, the term “MRL” is tossed around the industry a great deal, says Tina Brandt. “But what does that really mean?” she asks.

This is one question Alinne Oliveira, a trade policy specialist for Bryant Christie Inc., will answer when she discusses her topic “Understanding MRLs and their Impact on Global Marketing.” 

“Countries have decided that they’re going to develop their own set of MRLs and they’re moving away from the older Codex system,” says Brandt. Oliveira will clarify this changing environment at the symposium. 

Because presenters are coming from such diverse backgrounds, and not strictly academic research environments, Brandt believes the event will be interesting to a wide-ranging audience. 

Tracy Shinners-Carnelley, co-chair of the PAA’s Local Arrangements Committee and vice-president of Research and Quality for Manitoba-based Peak of the Market, agrees. She says the event’s topics will be engaging to everyone in the potato industry. 

“The variety of people that come to PAA — plant breeders, pathologists, agronomists — are people who work in their individual speciality areas within the potato industry. This is of interest to all of us because when we look at potato marketing, ultimately for us to be successful in our own areas it relies on the strength of potato marketing around the world,” she says. 

“This is a way of getting everybody familiar with the challenges that we’re not directly familiar with on a day-to-day basis because we’re all connected through marketing in some way.” 

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