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Your Seed Potato Partner For North America

Your Seed Potato Partner For North America

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Keep up to date with the latest HZPC news and global potato news.




Potato News

Managing waste potato piles

Outgrade potato piles can be a source of blight. In this article AHDB specialists in the UK are discussing blight control methods in outgrade and waste piles as well as best practice and tips for tackling this issue. Blight control does not start in the crop. It starts much earlier. Left uncontrolled, outgrade and waste piles act as a reservoir for blight infection. With ever changing genotypes within the blight populations, outgrade piles and volunteers can be an unwanted host for blight and a source of infection for commercial crops.
8/6/2020

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Idaho Steel, Reyco and Kiremko: Three identities, one brand

Three well-known companies in the potato industry, three identities, one brand. Idaho Steel, Reyco and Kiremko have been strategic partners for decades. In a press release, the companies say: “We believe in the success of partnerships, with our combined teams we share our know-how. This collaboration is unique and ensures that we can serve the entire world market with state-of-the-art potato processing lines. With production facilities in the Netherlands and the US, we are able to deliver the same quality of innovative equipment to virtually any location.
8/5/2020

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McCain kept Smithton plant in Tasmania running – and commissioned and delivered plant upgrade

In a press release issued today, the company says completing construction and commissioning a $37 million plant upgrade, managing staff to continue operations in the middle of Tasmania’s COVID-19 hotspot, and navigating ever-changing shift profiles – it’s been a challenging six months for McCain Foods’ Smithton plant. As one of the region’s largest employers, McCain Foods has officially “come out on the other side” with the site’s production recently returning to a full seven-day roster.
8/5/2020

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Registration for the World Potato Congress 2021 in Dublin, Ireland is now open

The World Potato Congress Inc. is pleased to announce that the registration for the WPC 2021 to be held in Dublin, Ireland from May 31 to June 3, 2021 is now open. Individuals, accompanying persons and students can now register for the 2021 congress and view the Programme, Social Events & Tours offered and Sponsors & Exhibitors opportunities available. The registration process also provides accommodation options which can be booked as part of the congress registration. The early bird fee for registration deadline is January 31, 2021.
8/5/2020

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Automation made easy: Greentronic’s RiteWeight product now comes with enhanced features

Can you use an easy and accurate method for tracking loads and weights by date, field, variety, temperature, and cellar? According to Bill Menkveld at Ontario, Canada-based Greentronics, the company offers a solution. Greentronics recently added several new features to its well-known RiteWeight in-line conveyor scale product. These enhanced features were developed to assist potato growers with an easy process to automate their harvest and storage data recording.
7/24/2020

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This week’s issue of Spud Scoop published

This week’s issue of Spud Scoop was published earlier today. Spud Scoop is a growing season newsletter compiled by specialists at NDSU Extension and University of Minnesota, combining information for potato growers. In the introduction, Dr Andy Robinson, Extension Potato Agronomist at NSDU and the University of Minnesota, says it’s been a week of warming temperatures and more rainfall in many areas. In general, the potato crop seems to be progressing well.
7/24/2020

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The ‘natural dormancy’ factor: Independent data now available

A number of factors contribute to effective potato sprout suppression and, where possible, strategies should make the best use of all of them. One such factor is dormancy, say specialists at AHDB’s at Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research unit. The current data on varietal dormancy is of variable quality and AHDB has commissioned a trial to generate relative dormancy data from a range of varieties representative of the different end markets for potatoes.
7/24/2020

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Latest Canadian potato crop progress report released

The United Potato Growers (UPGC) Board met this week to discuss crop growing conditions, markets, and analysis of the recent potato acreage from Statistics Canada. In a report issued today, UPGC General Manager, Kevin MacIsaac provides a snapshot of crop progress across the country.
7/24/2020

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McCain Foods to build three Farms of the Future to showcase regenerative farming practices

McCain Foods announced last week a commitment to improving the sustainability of our products, including the iconic French Fry, with a key focus on creating a more sustainable approach to potato farming. Key to this commitment is building three Farms of the Future to showcase how regenerative farming practices and the latest agricultural technology and innovations, can be implemented at scale.
7/21/2020

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How spearmint oil fits into potato sprout control programmes

Spearmint oil has the potential to play a more prominent role in sprout control programmes post-CIPC, but users must prepare stores adequately to ensure success, reports Adam Clarke for Farmers Weekly in the UK. Marketed by Kent-based Juno Plant Protection, Biox-M – a 100% spearmint oil product applied as a hot fog – made it to the UK in 2012. One early adopter was fresh potato producer and packer Branston.
7/21/2020

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Ukraine plans to adopt a potato development program

The Government of Ukraine plans to adopt a potato development program by the end of 2020. Among the expected effects are an increase in the area under production by 40 thousand ha, creation of at least 10 thousand additional jobs, an increase in tax revenues to the budget by UAH 52 million annually.
7/21/2020

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Podcast: ‘Focusing on the Future by Investing in Agronomy Research’

A new podcast by Eye on Potatoes is now available for listening. At Potato Expo 2020, Eye on Potatoes sat down with some of the industry’s leading researchers and specialists for a discussion on the current research and where future efforts need to focus. Plus, NPC CEO Kam Quarles calls in to provide an update on USDA’s decision to revise the payment rates for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).
7/21/2020

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Trending: Potatoes and a strong immune system

Maintaining a strong immune system and living a healthy lifestyle has been trending since before the shelter-in-place began. A March 10 Seattle Times article, Can you Boost your Immunity with Food?, suggests consumers choose immune-supporting nutrients such as Vitamin C and a plant-based diet. Potatoes are high in Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and Folate and can help restore electrolyte balance because they have a high level of potassium in addition to sodium – two important electrolytes.
7/16/2020

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Wyma management growth shows confidence in future

Wyma Solutions announced today the appointment of Danny Burns as Global After Sales Manager. This appointment follows several years of sustained growth and further recognition by Wyma of the ever-growing importance of maintaining strong after sales and operational relationships with customers. The appointment of a dedicated After Sales Manager position is a strong indication of Wyma’s confidence in the current market as well as their continued focus on delivering excellent customer care and ongoing support.
7/12/2020

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NPC welcomes revised USDA coronavirus aid payment rates, presses for additional increase

The National Potato Council released a statement Thursday, July 9, after an announcement by USDA that it is issuing revised payment rates for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which previously prevented potato growers from receiving equitable access to relief funds. “The potato industry appreciates the rapid work of USDA in considering these changes and making potatoes eligible for all three categories of payments. We believe the economic justification submitted by the industry strongly supports the meaningful inclusion of potatoes in this relief program, given the devastation faced by the industry due to the government-mandated food service shutdown,” said Britt Raybould, NPC President.
7/12/2020

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Aldi and Puffin Produce launch new potato line

Puffin Produce has announced a partnership with Aldi to stock its exclusive range of local Pembrokeshire Early potatoes in stores across Wales. The Haverfordwest business worked with Aldi to roll out a new line of the potato variety as part of the supermarket’s award-winning Specially Selected range from June. Puffin Produce expects to supply around 200,000 packs of the new range to Aldi’s Welsh stores over the next two months.
7/12/2020

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Latest PlanetPotato podcast: Off to Idaho, and learning why a potato makes an ideal block printer

World Potato Markets travels to Idaho and tries its hand at potato printing in the latest episode of its PlanetPotato podcast. Presenters Anna Lambert and Cedric Porter discuss why Idaho established as the US’s largest potato state with Ross Johnson of the Idaho Potato Commission. Printer Molly Mahon describes why a potato makes an ideal block printer for making patterned paper and fabric.
7/12/2020

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Poor potato harvest hits McCain UK’s profits

Profits more than halved at frozen foods specialist McCain UK last year as “one of the worst potato harvests in 40 years” hit its bottom line. Newly filed accounts for the year to 30 June 2019 show McCain’s operating profits fell 63% to £21.3m from £57.6m a year earlier. It said it maintained a value share of 54% and a volume share of 42% of the UK frozen potato category, according to IRI data for the 12 weeks to 20 June 2020.
7/11/2020

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Potatoes NZ: ‘Cheap European frozen potato products are being dumped on New Zealand market’

Potatoes NZ says in a press release issued today that it has submitted an application to the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) for anti-dumping duties on frozen potato products originating in Belgium and the Netherlands. The application is based on the real threat of material injury to the New Zealand potato industry. The threat is said to be a result of huge surplus inventories of frozen potato products and processing potatoes in Belgium and the Netherlands, the organization says.
7/11/2020

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The cost of potato haulm desiccation without diquat

According to AHDB in the UK, Spotlight and/or Gozai straights or combinations, along with flailing, can give virtually as quick desiccation as diquat. This was shown in trials and demonstrations across AHDB’s Strategic Potato (SPot) Farm network to evaluate potential replacements have shown. But at what cost? Dr Mark Stalham, Head of NIAB CUF who led the trials, reveals the results, and Mark Topliff from AHDB’s Farm Economics team crunches the numbers.
7/11/2020

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Newly launched next generation soil test helps growers to manage and improve soil health

A&L Canada Laboratories Inc. recently announced the launch of VitTellus Bio, a new soil health test for the agriculture industry that quantifies soil microbial populations which support improved soil health and greater crop productivity. A&L says in a news release that VitTellus Bio is a new analysis which complements the VitTellus Soil Health test, a diagnostic used to make more informed decisions on application of nutrients, managing and improving soil health.
7/11/2020

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The sad story of US potatoes being destroyed during the coronavirus pandemic…

Many potato growers – especially in the Northwest of the US – suffered an unprecedented and terrible catastrophe this year when the COVID-19 crisis hit the industry… It is sad, it is nearly unthinkable – but it is real… Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those hard working potato growers…
7/5/2020

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UK: New blight forecasting app launched

British potato growers can now access the latest blight forecasting information with launch of a new simple to use smartphone app by UPL UK & Ireland. The UPL Blight Forecast App, displays Hutton Period and Smith Period data, alongside additional layers of information such as leaf wetness and spray conditions. Once downloaded, users can identify and save multiple field locations by adding a pin in a satellite map.
7/5/2020

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Second growth: A physiological potato problem induced by heat and drought

Second growth is a physiological potato problem induced by prolonged air temperatures above 280C and water stress, according to Dr Eugenia Banks, potato specialist working in Ontario, Canada. These 2 factors interact to limit the tuber growth rate, thus causing second growth. Inadequate soil moisture alone does not result in the initiation of second growth.
7/5/2020

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Pandemic impact: Why American potato farmers are stuck with billions of pounds of potatoes

When COVID-19 closed down restaurants and hotels, potatoes headed toward food service had nowhere to go. It had a chain effect down to processors and growers, trapping 1.5 billion pounds of potatoes in the supply chain. While farmers across Idaho and Montana have given away millions of potatoes, they’ve also been forced to destroy millions more. Business Insider visited a potato seed farm in Sheridan, Montana, to understand the emotional and financial impact this has had on farmers Peggy and Bill Buyan.
7/2/2020

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The Netherlands: Ware potato acres down, seed potato area up this season

This year, the total cultivation area for ware potatoes in the Netherlands has declined by nearly 1.8 thousand hectares to 77 thousand hectares (-2.3 percent), according to a report issued this week by Statistics Netherlands. According to information published in the report, areas planted for seed and starch potato use have increased slightly over the past twelve months; both by approximately 1 percent. The share of seed potatoes in the total potato area has continued to rise slightly again over the past year.
7/2/2020

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Analysis: Changing consumer trends in Britain

Farmers and the wider food supply chain are used to responding to changing consumer requirements. However, it is hard to recall a time when the consumer landscape changed quite as dramatically as over these last three months of lockdown. AHDB has been following these changes closely, so whether considering shopping behaviour or the rise of in-home eating, AHDB has been reporting on the key issues which affect the demand for sectors’ products. Within this article, David Swales, AHDB Head of Strategic Insight, summarises some of the key factors which shape consumer demand.
7/2/2020

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UPGI: Idaho potato crop ‘second lowest since 1998, harvest expected to be down more than 6 million hundredweight’

In a June 30 report published by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) it is estimated Idaho planted 300,000 acres this season, down by 10,000 acres from the prior year. The United Potato Growers of Idaho estimated a deeper cut in Idaho’s planted potato acreage, at 295,790 acres. “It will be the second lowest acreage since 1998. That’s good news,” said Rick Shawver, CEO of UPGI. Based on Idaho’s average potato yield, the acreage reduction could reduce the state’s harvest by more than 6 million hundredweight of spuds, according to Dan Hargraves, executive director of Southern Idaho Potato Cooperative.
7/2/2020

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McCain brings ‘Potato Smiles’ back to Australia – as ‘Emotibites’

Shoppers are racing to get their hands on McCain’s classic Potato Smiles after the nostalgic snack disappeared from Australian supermarket shelves five years ago. Thousands of Australians have been rallying for years to bring back the iconic childhood treat after it was discontinued in 2015. ‘For many Australians, these are something they’ve looked back on fondly as part of their childhood. After years of build-up, it’s heartening to know that they’re meeting expectations,’ McCain Foods marketing manager ANZ Karen Ramsay said.
6/29/2020

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AHDB: Dealing with aphids in Britain during 2020 and beyond

The management of aphids, particularly those that transmit viruses, has been a focus of concern for potato growers in recent seasons in Britain. AHDB (virtually) sat down with Crop Protection Senior Scientist for Pests, Dr Sue Cowgill, to talk monitoring, testing and research projects that will help growers manage the issue.
6/29/2020

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Croatia sees major increase in potato imports, especially seed potatoes

During the first three months of 2020 Croatia imported 16,064 tonnes of potato seed, including new and mature table potatoes – all of which worth €8.03 million, almost half of the total value of potatoes imported in 2019, according to an analysis by the Smarter Consultancy company. Smarter Consultancy believes that it is necessary to consolidate farmland devoted to potato cultivation in Croatia, and at the same time increase yields per hectare – and furthermore give the potato crop the status of a special vegetable so as to create possibilities to apply for EU funding.
6/29/2020

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‘From ridge to bed’ – The next step in HZPC’s potato innovation

Increasing food security in areas that are hard to access. This is one of the ideas behind an important potato innovation by HZPC: hybrid potato breeding. This innovation has been under development for many years. And now it’s time for the next step. Seed potatoes from hybrid potatoes grow successfully on the well-known ‘ridges’ and now also in so-called ‘beds’. Flower bulbs are grown in this type of bed too.
6/27/2020

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Japanese potato chip giant Calbee extends telework indefinitely

Calbee Inc., a leading Japanese producer of potato chips and other snack foods, will extend teleworking indefinitely for the 20 percent of its workforce in the country currently doing so. The company announced the decision June 25 after noticing its operational efficiency had significantly improved since the 800 or so Calbee employees at its head office and around the country began teleworking in late March due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
6/27/2020

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Scouting resources available for Canadian potato growers and scouts

Canadian growers and scouts can now download three scouting resources from the Potatoes in Canada website that will help them know when and what to scout for in potato fields. On May 21 and 28, 2020, Potatoes in Canada hosted a webinar series with Eugenia Banks, potato specialist with the Ontario Potato Board, on how to scout pests, diseases and physiological disorders in potatoes. In addition to the webinar series, Banks has made her scouting resources available as PDFs for download.
6/27/2020

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Morrisons’ ‘Wonky’ range a saving grace for British potato grower during lockdown

Specialist potato grower Scutt Farming was selling 100 per cent of its 152-hectare (375-acre) potato crop to fish and chip shops when lockdown began, forcing the East Yorkshire family business to urgently find a new market. The business’ potatoes found a home as part of Morrisons ‘Wonky’ range. “The Wonky range shows the public is happy to buy potatoes which are not necessarily as visually perfect as the classic pre-packed sample,” says Mr Scutt.
6/27/2020

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Staying on top of late blight: Canadian potato industry put spore trapping technology to work

On June 18 a crop consultant in Alberta told Eugenia Banks, Ontario potato specialist, that spore traps in the province had caught late blight spores. Ontario is going through a wave of hot and dry weather, and out west in Alberta, it’s the opposite with cooler, wet weather. In response to the discovery, of late blight in 2014, the Potato Growers of Alberta (PGA) supported a spore-trapping project. In Ontario, Eugenia Banks lead a two-year Ontario Potato Board project evaluating one type of spore trapping technology in order to help growers improve late blight management with good results.
6/25/2020

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US potato farmers reeling from 21% price decline

The COVID-19 pandemic caused U.S. potato prices to drop by about 21% from Jan. 15 through April 15, according to the industry’s surveys of potato growers and processors in major potato production areas. The estimate was included in a June 22 letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue signed by 19 U.S. potato growing organizations, requesting that potatoes be made eligible for the highest payment classification under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.
6/25/2020

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Latest Canadian Crop Report: Good potential, but hard work needed to clean up old crop later than normal

The Crop Transition Conference has been held for the past 12 years in Minneapolis. This year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, it was held virtually, says Kevin MacIsaac, General Manager of the United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC). In conclusion it is said that “The crop has good potential, but we are going to need to work hard, to clean up the old crop at a later than normal date, as the new crop transitions in on schedule.”
6/23/2020

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Investigative Report: Potato production in Egypt – ‘Export demands increase interest in bio-pesticides’

GROPRO Corp. a US based producer and supplier of biological crop protection products, has recently completed a investigative agricultural tour of Egypt. According to the group of specialists from GROPRO, “We believe that bio crop protection products will play an important role in the near future to assist in developing the Egyptian potato industry – not only to improve the efficiency of crop production in general, but for farmers to attain better quality products and higher yields.” The GROPRO team says they are excited to see how GROPRO products can help in solving pest and disease issues in the Egyptian agri environment, and are ready to provide intensive educational support to local distributors and of course also producers.
6/23/2020

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Haith delivers huge improvements for Canada’s Little Potato Company

The Little Potato Company has seen some significant increases in throughput and quality in the eighteen months since Haith helped to modernise the company’s packing facility in Edmonton, Alberta. The company faced a troubled in-feed system for its wash line. The Little Potato Company was relying on a pair of old hydraulic tippers. Haith recommended replacing those two machines with just one Haith Rota-Tip SE. They have since seen their throughput double from ten tonnes to 20 tonnes per hour.
6/23/2020

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Eye on Potatoes Podcast: LEAF and developing tomorrow’s leaders

Joining the NPC’s Eye on Potatoes podcast is Shelley Olsen of LJ Olsen, Inc. in Othello, Wash., and Chair of Potato LEAF to talk about how the industry is coming together to grow leaders who will thrive in the competitive global marketplace of the future. Plus, NPC CEO Kam Quarles provides an update on NPC’s efforts to support growers as the nation works to recover from the COVID-19 crisis.
6/23/2020

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Trending: Sustainable produce packaging – EarthFresh launches new biobased mesh packaging

With consumer demand rising for environmentally responsible and sustainable products, Ontario based EarthFresh announced today that the company has updated their packaging with new biobased material. These new mesh packs are all USDA Certified Biobased Products made with CLAF® Biobased Fabric™. The mesh bags are made with renewable raw materials derived from sugarcane. These packages are 96% bio-based and 100% recyclable.
6/23/2020

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Were lessons learned? The Ukrainian potato season 2020/21 gathering pace

Growers in the southern potato producing region of the Ukraine are reportedly well underway to harvest the early potato crop – and supplies are starting to show up in the Ukrainian fresh produce markets. After a difficult and most unprecedented 2019/20 season, market analysts at Fruit-inform have hope that the current season will be better.Results from Fruit-Inform’s survey of Ukrainian potato farmers indicate that the supply of potatoes may grow by at least 5% in 2020. It is unlikely that prices will again set new records in the Ukrainian marketplace.
6/23/2020

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New Zealand potato industry opposes potential dumping from Europe

Makikihi Fries in New Zealand is bracing for impact as manager Stewart Hydes pleads with Government, on behalf of the potato industry, to stop a surplus of European product being dumped in New Zealand, according to a report published by Otago Daily Times. The country’s $1billion-dollar potato industry is at threat of an influx from Europe, which is facing an officially declared 2.6million-tonne surplus of fries created by temporary food service closures during Covid-19 lockdown. Mr Hydes said dumping European surplus had the potential to be a major problem.
6/19/2020

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EarthFresh’s Dan Martin discusses potato market and retail opportunities

EarthFresh has been making waves in the supplier world since its inception in 1963. Its organic varieties have helped catapult it to a leading position in the organic potato market in North America. To learn more about this dynamic company, Anne Allen of AndNowUKnow spoke with Dan Martin, Chief Operating Officer. ”We are always looking to improve our sustainability programs, so EarthFresh organic potatoes are packed in recyclable bags with light blocking technology that prolongs shelf and minimizes food waste,” Dan began.
6/19/2020

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‘Coronavirus a recipe for disaster for German potatoes’

German demand for potatoes and potato products has collapsed during the coronavirus crisis, meaning the vegetable is being used as animal feed or for making biogas instead, an industry body said on Tuesday. There had been a “catastrophic reduction in sales” of frozen, chilled and dry potato products, the German Association of the Fruit, Vegetable and Potato Processing Industry (BOGK) said. Germany is the biggest producer of potatoes in the European Union and a huge consumer.
6/19/2020

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IFA: Retail and early markets remain strong; drought still a concern across Europe

The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) reports in its weekly potato update that demand at retail level remains strong, given that the majority of people are still working from home. Recently released figures show potato area similar to 2020. If yields take a hit from the drought this will leave production significantly below 2019. The UK and Europe have gotten some rainfall in the past week. However, like in Ireland there is considerable variation on amounts in different areas.
6/19/2020

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Threat of cheap imports: Ballarat workers rally for local potato processing jobs

Union delegates are demanding immediate action from the federal government to protect regional jobs from the threat of cheap imports. Alex Ford reports for The Courier. Rallying at the Ballarat McCain processing plant on Friday morning with workers, McCain representatives, and federal Ballarat MP Catherine King, AMWU state secretary Tony Mavromatis said federal authorities needed to take the issue seriously before the market was flooded with European products.
6/8/2020

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Belgapom Chief: ‘A new lockdown could be devastating for the industry!’

In an exclusive interview with Dan Orehov, Edtor of Potato Business, Secretary General of Belgapom, Romain Cools, talked about the current situation of potato consumption and trade in Belgium, on the background of the pandemic. Orehov and Cools also discussed the future of the Belgian potato, from farm to fork and the impact that foodservice industry closure has had so far on the overall potato business.
6/8/2020

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Canadian potatoes are spoiling due to slow federal government response, says grower association

In a news release issued by Potatoes New Brunswick, the association says delays rolling out a COVID-19-related support program for Canadian agriculture may spell doom for potato farmers. While the government delays, millions of pounds of potatoes are sitting in storage and starting to rot, Potatoes New Brunswick says in its release. Early last month, the government announced a $50-million Surplus Food Purchase Program intended to alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on farmers.
6/7/2020

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