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Potato Association of America 2020 Meeting Going Virtual

After previously cancelling the in-person meeting which was to be held in Missoula, Mont., the Potato Association of America (PAA) will be holding its annual meeting virtually on July 20 to 22, the PAA website says. The virtual meeting is a “scaled-down” version and will cost a flat rate of US$50. Graduate student registration is complimentary and sponsored by IDAHO 2018 LAC. The meeting will feature a mix of research and grower orientated…

Mixed Mini Mesh Bag

EarthFresh Launches Biobased Packaging

Burlington, Ont.-based EarthFresh has switched its packaging to biobased material, the international produce company, says in a news release on June 22. The switch was made based on consumer demand for environmentally responsible and sustainable products. “The mesh in these new bags is derived from a highly renewable resource and is 100% recyclable. We are excited to bring sustainable products to the market,” Jessica Hughes, director of innovation at EarthFresh, says in the…

Grocery store potatoes

Concerns Grow U.S. Specialty Crop Producers Underrepresented in Pandemic Payouts

Less than two per cent, or $24 million, of payouts from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) has been given to specialty crop producers, a June 16 news release from the National Potato Council (NPC) says. The USDA has paid out more than $1.4 billion overall for the program, with $676 million going to livestock producers, $368 million to non-specialty crop growers and $337 million to…

A pile of potatoes

Feds Announce Details of $50 Million Food Surplus Program

Applications from for-profit and not-for-profit organizations are now open for the $50 million food surplus program which was announced by the federal government in May, a June 15 news release from the ministry of agriculture and agri-food says. “The pandemic has caused significant fluctuations in food demand and supply, resulting in surplus food across our country,” Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of agriculture and agri-food, says in the release. “We are working hard to…

Potato processing plant

Feds Give Money to Retrofit Food Supply Chain Amid Pandemic

The federal government has launched a $77.5 million Emergency Processing Fund to help the food supply industry adapt to pandemic changes, a news release from the Ministry of Agriculture and Agri-Food, says on June 12. “This Emergency Processing Fund will help our processors to adapt their activities to ensure the safety of their workers, and to increase their capacity of production,” Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of agriculture and agri-food, says in the release. The…

Farm worker

Ontario Government Give $15 million to Protect Ag Workers Amid Pandemic

Employers in the agri-food sector in Ontario will now be able to access funds to enhance health and safety measures on farms and in food processing facilities, a news release from the government on June 12 says. The government is investing $15 million to significantly expand the Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program. “Today’s investment will allow farmers to adapt to this new environment and implement additional health and safety measures during the COVID-19…

Yams for sale at a market in Nigeria

Lessons Learned

David De Koeyer spent three years doing research work in Africa which gave him a fresh perspective on plant breeding and is helping him with his current work as Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s potato breeder. Two years ago, David De Koeyer was named the lead potato breeder for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC). Under his direction, the national potato breeding program has shifted slightly to become more responsive to the needs and…

Unwashed raw fresh potatoes

New Brunswick Potato Farmers Call for Feds to Take Action

As potatoes sit in storage and start to rot, potato growers are awaiting more direction from the federal government following the announcement of the $50-million Surplus Food Purchase Program in May, a new release from Potatoes New Brunswick on June 4 says. There has been little news released about the program since the announcement. “We need to finally settle with the province and federal government so that we can dispose of these…

Deb Hart in a Hawaiin potato field

Just a Girl Doing Her Job

Deb Hart is preparing to retire after spending almost two decades helping and advocating for the Alberta and Canadian seed potato industries. Deb Hart had planned to ease into retirement. She would spend most of 2020 working closely with her replacement to train her, easing herself out of the job. But then the global pandemic hit, and plans changed. The pandemic “is bringing back unpleasant memories, but we’re getting through it the…

Farm worker

Feds Give Funds for Youth Ag Jobs

The Canadian government is investing up to $9.2 million to enhance the Youth Employment and Skills Program (YESP) and fund up to 700 new positions for youth in the agriculture industry, the government says in a news release on May 26. The funds are meant to help ensure the resilience of the food supply chain and to provide support to keep the agriculture sector strong. “During this unprecedented time, our food producers…

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