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Champion of the Industry

Nora Olsen has a list. It’s a bucket list, of sorts, she has kept for the past 10 years of all the potato research she’d like to carry out. It’s no wonder that list is dwindling after the University of Idaho professor and extension potato specialist’s tireless efforts for the sector. Olsen champions the potato industry and its stakeholders, especially growers, because she loves her work and feels honoured to be part…

We Have Common DNA

Peter VanderZaag has been on a vigorous campaign to alleviate poverty and hunger through potato science and production almost his entire life. His work improving potato production in Central Africa, Southeastern Asia, and China has had far-reaching effects. The researcher was heavily influenced by his heritage — generations of VanderZaags in the Netherlands have been potato producers — and most notably his Uncle Date, a distinguished potato scientist. “My Uncle Date was…

Worth Their Weight in Gold

Since John Nordgaard has been with Black Gold Farms, the company’s size has quadrupled. Employees have increased from around 30 in 1997 to 185 full-time staff today. As director of operations then, and executive vice-president of operations now, Nordgaard has participated in much of that growth. Although, he’d be the last person to say so. At Black Gold Farms, Nordgaard oversees operations for all farms across multiple states, he has also managed…

The Honour is Ours

After spending more than three decades with the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s Genetic Improvement of Fruits and Vegetables Laboratory as a research plant geneticist developing improved potato varieties, Kathleen Haynes says a significant highlight of her career has been bringing researchers together to work on projects for the benefit of the potato industry. “I’m most proud of the working groups we assembled to address problems in the industry,” she says. This year,…

Late Blight Confirmed in Wisconsin

In the Wisconsin Potato Newsletter,  Amanda Gevens wrote: “Late blight on potato has been confirmed in Wood County this afternoon. We have a sample on campus in UW- Madison Vegetable Pathology and my technician will type this first thing in the morning so that we have an understanding of the clonal lineage (strain),  and likely character and mefenoxam (metalaxy-Ml) resistance status.  Sporulation was present but light on most leaves.  Lesions were quarter sized…

From our Desk

Potato Industry and Producer Engagement Increasing

EXCITEMENT IS IN the air as Manitoba gets ready to host the 103rd Potato Association of America Annual Meeting in Winnipeg at the end of July.  It’s a time for the sector’s scientific branch to share research information about all facets of the potato industry, to recognize members who have made significant contributions to the sector, and to nurture and mentor upcoming researchers. It’s also an opportunity for all industry stakeholders, including…

Farming Life Tough to Beat

JASON KEHLER has been helping grow potatoes on the family farm in Carman, Man., since he was 12 years old. Some 30 years later, he can’t imagine doing anything else.  “I’ve always wanted to farm since I was probably old enough to say the word,” says Kehler, who’s a fourth-generation farmer and second-generation potato producer. “I love what I do. I enjoy the challenge, the people, and just watching Mother Nature make…

2019 PAA Symposium Unites and Sustains Industry

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…

Eye On The Nation

Summer 2019 MANITOBA Dan Sawatzky, General Manager, Keystone Potato Producers Association The crop in Manitoba is progressing well. Planting was only slightly behind normal but cool May weather delayed emergence putting the crop three to five days behind. Dry conditions contributed to little seed rot being reported in spite of the delayed emergence resulting in good stands. Another observation with delayed emergence is the even staging of the crop development across the…

Market News

Canada’s potato storage holdings as of June 1 totalled just under 16.4 million hundredweight, according to figures from the United Potato Growers of Canada. That’s an 18.5 per cent decline from the same period a year ago, when total holdings amounted to a little over 20.1 million hundredweight of potatoes. In Eastern Canada, the year-to-year decrease was just over 22 per cent mainly due to substantial declines in storage holdings in Prince…

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