February 2014
Working together By Bill Schaefer

It’s the first day of 2014 as I compose this column. As we close the book on 2013, it can be a time for retrospection but it is also a time for moving forward and looking ahead.

I prefer to look ahead today and into the seasons to come.

I’ve been covering the potato industry for Spudman for four years now. During that time I’ve come to recognize how united the industry is in working together as advocates for the potato.

All potato sectors, fresh, process, dehy and seed, along with all the supporting industries, and with the help of the USPB and the NPC, continue to spread the dual message of the potato’s nutritional goodness and its economic benefits to household budgets.

Working together seems like a good segue to David Fairbourn’s profile of John Meyer, a potato grower from Cohocton, N.Y. John’s family has been growing potatoes in the Empire State for four generations, first on Long Island and now in Steuben County in the western part of the state.

Meyer currently serves as the co-chairman of the USPB’s Industry Communications and Policy Committee. He addresses the importance of everyone, growers big and small, working together in the potato industry.

We have a new feature this year in Spudman that I neglected to introduce in my January column. Members of The Potato Association of America will be regular contributors to Spudman. I look forward to reading about the latest research updates from The PAA.

This month Roy Navarre writes about his research on the nutritional value of potatoes. Navarre is a researcher for USDA-ARS, in Prosser, Wash. Did you know that an estimated 50 percent of the U.S. population is considered overweight or obese? Navarre addresses the role potatoes can play in improving the nutritional health of the U.S.

Charlie Higgins is another person working to promote the nutritional value of potatoes. Higgins, this month’s Spudman 7 respondent, has set up an assistance program to educate Ethiopian farmers in proper potato growing and drying techniques, while also increasing potato production.

It’s truly amazing what we can accomplish working together.

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