United States
Health Canada is proposing to cancel all uses of mancozeb, except for use on greenhouse tobacco, due to unacceptable risks to human health and the environment. The re-evaluation removes the exception that allowed foliar application of mancozeb on potatoes.
Published in News
Yield predictions for Canadian potato production is expected to be slightly less than last year for some provinces that have been hit hard by the hot dry summer, according to the latest potato crop report from the United Potato Growers of Canada.
Published in Harvesting
A new strain of late blight, US-25, has been identified in New York state, according to Eugenia Banks’ latest potato update.
Published in Diseases
Researchers from Ohio State University and the Italian National Agency for New Technologies have developed a "golden" potato with significantly increased levels of vitamins A and E.

Findings from a new study were published recently in PLOS ONE in an article entitled "Potential of Golden Potatoes to Improve Vitamin A and Vitamin E Status in Developing Countries."

The research team found that a serving of the yellow-orange lab-engineered potato has the potential to provide as much as 42 per cent of a child's recommended daily intake of vitamin A and 34 per cent of a child's recommended intake of vitamin E. For the full story, click here
Published in Technology
Examining the ancestors of the modern, North American cultivated potato has revealed a set of common genes and important genetic pathways that have helped spuds adapt over thousands of years.

Cultivated potatoes, domesticated from wild Solanum species, a genetically simpler diploid (containing two complete sets of chromosomes) species, can be traced to the Andes Mountains in Peru, South America.

Scientific explorer Michael Hardigan, formerly at MSU and now at the University of California-Davis, led the team of MSU and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University scientists. Together, they studied wild, landrace (South American potatoes that are grown by local farmers) and modern cultivars developed by plant breeders. For the full story, click here.
Published in Traits and Genetics
The Government of Prince Edward Island and the P.E.I. Potato Board are partnering with Island farmers to provide fresh produce to those affected by the devastating Hurricane Irma in Florida.

A tractor trailer with more than 40,000 pounds of fresh produce will leave Prince Edward Island for Georgia where it will be distributed to victims of Hurricane Irma.

"The PEI Potato farmers always rise to a need and this is no exception, even during the busy harvest time," said Rodney Dingwell, chairman of the PEI Potato Board. "We have a very generous industry and it gives me great pride that we are so quick to respond when someone is in need. Not only with our own communities, but as far away as the southern U.S." READ MORE
Published in News
The Japanese government has lifted an 11-year-old ban on importing fresh Idaho chipping potatoes, officials of the Idaho Potato Commission announced earlier in September.

Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries imposed a ban on importing all U.S. chipping potatoes in April 2006 in response to the discovery of a quarantined pest, the pale cyst nematode, in a small area of Eastern Idaho.

Trade was restored with other U.S. chipping potato states about a year later, but restrictions on Idaho were left in place.

This spring, IPC officials said Japanese chip makers experienced a shortage following a poor domestic harvest and had to stop selling some products. Japan will continue to exclude any Idaho chipping potatoes from Bonneville and Bingham counties, which encompass the PCN quarantine area. READ MORE
Published in News
The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA), the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and Consejo Nacional Agropecuario (CNA) have sent a joint letter to Canadian, American and Mexican government officials, reiterating their calls that re-negotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) should aim to modernize the agreement, rather than dismantle it.
Published in Business & Policy
The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) recently held an AgriWorkforce Roundtable to discuss challenges and possible solutions to address the critical agricultural labour shortage in Canada.
Published in Business Management
U.S. President Donald Trump swore off plans to cancel the North American Free Trade Agreement on Wednesday, after a day rife with speculation that he could be on the verge of threatening to obliterate the seminal trade deal.| READ MORE

Published in News

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has deregulated the Ranger Russet and Atlantic varieties of the second generation genetically modified Innate potato developed by J.R. Simplot.

They join the Innate second generation Russet Burbank potato, deregulated last year, according to a news release. The Packer reports. | READ MORE
Published in Traits and Genetics

July 7, 2016, Michigan – Late blight was found in a potato plant near Bronson, Mich., in Branch County on July 5, 2016, reports Eugenia Banks in her latest potato update. Initial genotyping confirmed isolates as US-23 by GPI isomerase testing. Mating type and Ridomil sensitivity are underway. The source of the inoculum is volunteer potato plants in a sweet corn field.

Volunteer potato plants emerge from tubers left in the field at harvest. Tubers can over-winter in fields when winter soil temperatures are not low enough to kill the tubers. Volunteer potatoes that emerge from the surviving tubers can harbor the late blight pathogen as well as other pests and diseases. Due to changing climatic conditions over the past three growing seasons, the over-winter soil thermal conditions have been conducive for volunteer potato survival and thus acting as potential sources of inoculum in the spring. Epidemics of potato late blight are initiated from mycelium of Phytophthora infestans that survive in tubers over winter, which then give rise to infected volunteer potatoes.

Recommendations for late blight treatment remain the same as in previous reports posted at Michigan State University Extension, and include treating with one of the translaminar fungicides listed at the Michigan Late Blight Risk Monitoring website.

Conditions remain conducive for late blight in irrigated potato crops. Forecasts and disease severity value (DSV) accumulations can be checked daily at Michigan Late Blight Risk Monitoring website.

Published in Diseases

Jan. 25, 2016, Prince Edward Island – The dropping dollar, which is hovering just above the 70-cent U.S. mark, has not translated into bargain-hunting American importers snapping up spuds south of the border. In fact, U.S. exports of P.E.I.'s 2015 crop are down about four per cent, according to the PEI Potato Board. CBC News has more details. | READ MORE

Published in Markets and Marketing

January 14, 2015, Boise, ID – The Food and Drug Administration says a potato genetically engineered to resist late blight is as safe as any other potato on the market.

In a recent letter to Idaho-based J.R. Simplot Co., the FDA says the potato isn't substantially different in composition or safety from other products already on the market, and it doesn't raise any issues that would require the agency to do more stringent premarket vetting.

The company says the potato must next be cleared by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency before it can be marketed to consumers. That's expected to happen in December.

The Russet Burbank Generation 2 is the second generation of Simplot's Innate brand potatoes. It includes the first version's reduced bruising.

Published in News

Sept. 11, 2015, MN – In a deal designed to protect sensitive groundwater and pine forests in central Minnesota, a large regional potato grower has agreed to scale back an ambitious expansion plan in exchange for state regulators dropping their demand for a broad environmental review. The Star Tribune reports. | READ MORE

Published in News

Aug. 31, 2015, Boise, ID – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has deregulated the Russet Burbank variety of the second generation of Innate potatoes from The J.R. Simplot Company.

The second generation of Innate potatoes contains four beneficial traits of relevance to potato growers, processors and consumers: reduced bruising and black spots; reduced asparagine; resistance to late blight pathogens; and enhanced cold storage capability. These traits were achieved by adapting only genes from wild and cultivated potatoes.

Early research shows that Innate second generation potatoes will further contribute to reducing waste associated with bruise, blight and storage losses by reducing waste at multiple stages of the value chain, including in-field, during storage, processing, and in foodservice. That research suggests these traits will translate to less land, water and pesticide applications to produce these potatoes.

In a press release, the company stated it is looking forward to the completion of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registration and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) consultation before the second generation of Innate potatoes can be introduced into the marketplace.

These potatoes remain regulated as Plant-Incorporated-Protectants by the EPA, and there will be no promotion, distribution or sale of these potatoes until they are registered by the EPA.

Published in Traits and Genetics


Aug. 11, 2015, Mosca, CO – What do you get when you combine an abandoned rural high school, two Colorado farm families and potatoes? White Rock Specialties.

Published in Business Management

June 23, 2015, Boise, Idaho – A federal judge has signed off on a $25 million settlement in a lawsuit between wholesale grocers and potato farming associations accused of forming a price-fixing cartel. The Winnipeg Free Press reports. | READ MORE

Published in Business Management


May 15, 2015, New York – American consumers seem to be confused about the benefits of organics and many perceive the organic label as nothing more than an excuse to sell products at a premium, according to new research.

Market intelligence agency Mintel found the biggest selling point for organics is the perception the products are healthier (72 per cent). Only 29 per cent of consumers recognize organic products are highly regulated and 51 per cent believe labeling something as organic is an excuse to charge more.

Organics are healthy, right?

Overall, 72 per cent of US consumers purchase organic food and/or beverages for health or nutrition reasons, while slightly fewer (69 per cent) factor environmental or ethical reasons in their purchase decision.

When looking specifically at female shoppers, this consumer group appears to choose products that avoid certain characteristics: 43 per cent purchase them because they do not contain unnecessary ingredients or chemicals, and the same percentage do so to avoid food made with pesticides.

However, the biggest selling point for organics – among both men and women – is the perception that the products are healthier; 73 per cent of women and 71 per cent of men purchase organics for health and nutrition reasons. Those numbers fall to 31 per cent of women and 29 per cent of men who purchase organics because they are less processed than their non-organic counterparts, and 20 per cent of women and 16 per cent of men who purchase organics because organic companies treat animals more ethically.

Products at a premium

Over half of US consumers (51 per cent) agree labeling something as organic is an excuse to charge more. Generation X (51 per cent) and the Swing Generation (57 per cent) in particular regard an organic label as a premium price tag.

The distrust many Americans have of organic food and drinks extends beyond issues with the price. Only 39 per cent of Gen X trust that organic-labeled products are actually organic. This number decreases to 35 per cent of Swing Generation consumers. Furthermore, only four in 10 Millennials (40 per cent), the demographic that most supports organics, recognize that organic products are highly regulated.

More than one-third of all consumers (38 per cent) regard "organic" as a marketing term with no real value or definition.

“Our research finds half of consumers say labeling something as organic is an excuse to charge more. Considering the typically higher cost of organic foods and beverages, consumers are increasingly hard pressed to justify the added expense,” said Billy Roberts, senior food and drink analyst with Mintel. “As such, sales have hit something of a plateau, where they likely will remain until consumers have a clear reason to turn to organics. This could come in the form of a growing number of lower-cost organic options, bringing a new degree of competition to the category.”

Mintel’s research also reveals consumers aren’t just asking where grocery products are made or what additives they contain, but they’re also questioning whether their price tags are justified.


Published in Consumer Issues

April 2, 2015 – A weak Canadian dollar and shipping disruptions at the Port of Seattle, in Washington, could increase demand for Canadian potatoes in 2015, says a spokesperson for the United Potato Growers of Canada.

Potato acres have fallen by 25,000, or 6.7 per cent, during the last three years as processing companies such as McCain Foods and Simplot shifted production to lower cost regions such as the Pacific Northwest. READ MORE

Published in Markets and Marketing
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