July/August 2010
Reading Reactions By Bill Schaefer

Taking Stock monthly Spudman editor's letter.

Every action results in a reaction, and the potato industry, or should I say the business of potatoes, is a great example of this phenomenon.

Often referred to a Newton’s third law of motion, there are many examples of how this law affects potato growers, such as when you’re getting ready to plant you can count on it raining, or snowing if you’re planting in eastern Idaho.

On a more serious note, potato growers are watching from the sidelines as the political forces of action and reaction currently play out between the United States and Mexico.

For over a year now, the U.S. process industry has been hit with a 20 percent tariff brought about in part because of failure to resolve a trucking dispute between the two countries.

Everyone is watching, waiting and hoping that the Obama administration will stay true to the president’s commitment in his recent State of the Union address to increase international trade. Here is one trade issue that could alleviate in some measure the current economic stagnation by resolving this issue.

John Keeling brings us up to date on the state of negotiations in his column this month. According to a recent conversation I had with him, the current stalemate isn’t just about trade between two neighboring countries. For Mexico it is also about being treated as an equal by the United States at the negotiating table.

We’ll be watching the negotiations between the United States and Mexico and updating our website should there be any changes or resolutions in the stalemate.

There’s a new chairwoman at the United States Potato Board. If you don’t know Cheryl Koompin, read Dianna Troyer’s excellent profile of Cheryl and her husband, Klaren. You’ll come away with a greater appreciation for the work she is doing to promote U.S. potatoes at home and abroad.

Cheryl’s experience with international food aid could be a boon in the development of future markets for potato growers, specifically in the dehy sector.

This time of year and one of the major concerns always seems to be, will there be enough water to finish the season?

As I write this on the third of May it appears that except for the Klamath Basin, growers there should be enough to match the needs for this season but storage reservoirs could be drained if it’s a dry spring and summer.

Correspondent Sean Ellis breaks down the numbers for the growers in the Northwest.

And how do you best manage the water you have? Canal manager Steve Howser along with water master Lyle Swank present some simple and timely suggestions on how to best manage your water and potentially extend some of the precious resource for next year.

Your actions in conserving this year’s water could prove to be the difference in next year’s water outlook.

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