Potato WartFed Ag Minister Travels to P.E.I. to Discuss U.S. Market Reopening

Fed Ag Minister Travels to P.E.I. to Discuss U.S. Market Reopening

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Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal minister of agriculture and agri-food, has finished a trip to Prince Edward Island where she discussed the upcoming growing season and reopening of the United States table stock potato market, a March 28 news release says.

“The meetings with Prince Edward Island potato growers this past weekend provided an opportunity for open discussions that were appreciated by both sides,” Bibeau says.

She spent two days travelling through the Island, including stops at Charlottetown, Crapaud, Victoria, Wellington, and O’Leary, where she met with numerous growers. The release notes the visit comes at a critical time for the industry, since resuming exports of P.E.I. table stock potatoes into the continental U.S. will provide the predictability and assurance farmers need for the next potato growing season.

On March 24, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced exports of P.E.I. fresh potatoes to the U.S. would resume soon following a multiple month closure.

Bibeau also met with P.E.I. Minister of Agriculture Bloyce Thompson where they discussed how to best support the industry moving forward, the release says. The two also discussed the Next Agricultural Policy Framework.

The release also notes Bibeau met with Ray and Alvin Keenan of Rollo Bay Holdings. Rollo Bay Holdings is a family run potato growing and packaging operation located in Souris, P.E.I. which has been in the industry for over 70 years.

Bibeau made a visit to John Visser, chairman of the P.E.I. Potato Board’s farm in Crapaud, with a group of growers and Heath MacDonald, a member of parliament for Malpeque. They also toured the Thompson Potato Company in Victoria, P.E.I. Growers shared their experiences with how the closure of the U.S. market impacted their operations and their priorities going forward.

The next stop of the tour was in Wellington and O’Leary, where Bibeau was accompanied by Bobby Morrissey, the member of parliament for Egmont, to tour Urbainville Farms and J&J Farms. The trip finished in Charlottetown where Bibeau met with P.E.I. Potato Board to discuss how to best position the Island’s potato industry for success in the short and long term, the release says.

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