Spudman’s managing editor, Bill Schaefer, will bring you live show coverage from Potato Expo 2010, the Idaho Potato Conference and the Washington/Oregon Potato Conference. Check out his show-floor adventures below.
And be sure to follow Spudman on Twitter @SpudmanMag (www.twitter.com/SpudmanMag) for quick outtakes from the show floor and educational sessions.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
More from Kennewick: Industry leader recognized
It's the end of another long day at the Comfort Inn in Kennewick. Started the day at 8 a.m. with the first seminar of the second day and between the seminars and attending the booth.
I've just settled down in my room after attending the Industry Leadership banquet that honored Robert Thornton, Ph.D. Thornton has been an integral part of the development of the potato industry here in Washington state. A long-time researcher and teacher at Washington State University.
I spent the dinner discussing the politics of potatoes with David Fairbourn and David Fraser of the United States Potato Board. We talked about future stories for the magazine about, "Linda," the prototypical consumer of potatoes.
I've included a photo of Warren Seely. A teenage from Clatskanie, Oregon Warren has spent the past three years constructing model farm equipment out of Legos. It's a popular exhibit at Wednesday's potato conference.
The past month I've traveled to Orlando for the National Potato Expo, attended the Idaho Potato Conference in my backyard of Pocatello and now I'm winding up this month of conferences in Kennewick. One thing I've appreciated during the past month is the friendly welcomes I've received throughout the community of growers, researchers and industry specialists.
I have enjoyed meeting and talking with everyone I've met during the past month. I've learned a lot about the industry and more about the people. I'm looking forward to the next issue and all the coming issues. Now I have to get busy meeting my deadines for the next Spudman.- William Schaefer, Spudman Editor
Labels: Industry Leadership Banquet, Ph.D, Robert Thornton, Washington State Potato Foundation, Washington-Oregon Potato Conference
Day Two: Washington-Oregon Potato Conference
It's lunch break at the Washington-Oregon Potato Conference on Wednesday, January 27. The Potato bar is in fill operation. Another overcast day here in Kennewick and the day started off slowly at 8 a.m. but crowds picked up through out the morning.
Keynote speaker Todd Buchholz finished his presentation prior to lunch. Buchholz is a former White House economic policy advisor and author of "New Ideas from Dead CEOs."
During his presentation Buchholz said that rampant real estate speculation brought down the U.S. economy. He expressed concern that the result of the recession would be a backlash against capitalism and global trade.
Buchholz defended Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's policy to buy down debt and push down interest rates, at the same time Buchholz was critical of the TARP funds and Congress's miserly, limited release of funds.
Buchholz sees the economy improving slowly, in stops and starts, calling the recovery "tepid, halting." He said that the economy is still lousy but it's beginning to have "plus signs." Some of the indicators he cited as positive signs are increasing discretionary spending and the depletion of inventories.
Finally, Buchholz advised the audience that success is contingent upon how they harness the changing tastes in American and international consumers.- William Schaefer, Spudman Editor
Labels: Todd Buchholz, Washington-Oregon Potato Conference
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
First day at WA-OR Potato Conference 2010
The first day of the first Washington-Oregon Potato Conference 2010 is now in the history books. Let it be noted that it was a cold and rainy Tuesday in Kenewick but the weather didn't hold people from crowding into the Three Rivers Convention Center for the Cultivar Performance Workshop and to pick up all the free schwag at the Ag Expo.
At the Spudman booth Jasa Simon and I had a constant stream of visitors filling out the surveys for a limited edition "Proud to be a Spudman" stocking cap and just as happened at last week's Idaho Potato Conference our supply of caps were exhausted by mid-afternoon. We have an ample supply of bumper stickers and plenty of free magazines. Please stop by and complete a survey if you're at the conference on Wednesday or Thursday.
I'm encouraged by the positive comments I've heard at the conferences about Spudman and I look forward to meeting more growers and people involved in the potato industry during the next two days at the conference. If you don't get to the conference you can always email me with your comments or story suggestions.
I'm picking up on a general consensus among some seed growers that the Norkotah may be the root of all that is wrong in the potato industry. It's a limited field of opinion but just today while speaking individually to a handful of seed growers that all expressed some degree of animosity toward the Norkotah. The basic complaint is that it's a bad tasting potato, doesn't bake, boil or fry well. A good looking potato with a good yield but the people I spoke with today were adamant that the best thing that could happen is if growers stopped producing it.
During the cultivar performance workshop Mark Pavek, Rick Knowles, Dan Hane, Rick Navarre and Chuck Brown discussed some up and coming cultivars that show promise, from standard brown skin, white flesh to speciality varieties including baby potatoes, fingerlings, red skin/red flesh, purple skin/purple flesh and yellow flesh potatoes. I'll have more on this tomorrow.
- William Schaefer, Spudman Editor
Monday, January 25, 2010
Final thoughts on Idaho Potato Conference
Well, the proverbial dust has settled from last week's Idaho Potato Conference, now everyone is moving on to Kennewick for this week's Washington-Oregon Conference and Ag Show.
I'll be there with a limited supply of Spudman stocking caps for those filling out our annual survey. Even if we run out of the caps, please stop by and complete a survey, to talk, tell me what you want to see in the magazine or just to pick up a "Proud to be a Spudman" bumper sticker.
If Washington and Oregon growers have similar issues as Idaho growers, and they always do, there will be lots of talk about low grower returns and the need for a reduction in acreage to return to a decent GRI that growers enjoyed a few years ago.
One of the more common complaints I heard came from seed growers who have received few orders for 2010 season. The seed growers I spoke, to a man, with concurred that part of the problem was due to the lack of contracts in the process market. Until the processors issue contracts and acreage can be determined none of the process growers are ordering seed.
And everyone is waiting for the process contracts in Washington are announced before making a move. With a flat market and a current surplus, everyone is being rather guarded in their estimates of how many acres processors will contract for in the coming year.
Discussions regarding sustainability continued this year with researchers introducing new varieties that require less inputs but the bottom line with sustainability is you can create a sustainable potato, such as the Premier Russet, but until the QSRs adopt the potato then rumors of the demise of the Russet Burbank will continue to be just rumors.- William Schaefer, Spudman Editor
Labels: Ag Expo, Idaho Potato Conference, Meetings, Potatoes, Trade Shows
Thursday, January 21, 2010
The first day of the Idaho Potato Conference was busy as usual with a full day of seminars along with meeting people at the Spudman booth, we had so many visitors that we ran out of Proud to be a Spudman wool caps within the first three hours, I apologize to all the visitors who came looking for a hat after our supply ran out. I don't have a lot of time right now, I'm on my way back to the ISU campus for day two so I'm going to post a few photos. I'll come back later today with a review of what I was hearing from growers, along with more photos and maybe a video.
- William Schaefer, Spudman Editor
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Final day at 2010 Potato Expo
There's been so much to do at the Expo and trade show that it's been difficult to find the time to write about it. Seminars to attend, visiting with vendors and meeting with everyone who stops by the Spudman booth. I've tried to blog and tweet from the booth and I had some success but the download time seems to take forever so I'm writing this from my hotel room at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday before I check out at the Royal Pacific Resort and attend the morning sessions. It's been a great experience getting around and meeting so many people over the past couple of days and yet I know there's a lot of folk that I have missed, you can only do so much in 24 hours. In fact I was so exhausted following Tuesday's session that I decided to pass on the street party at Universal studios and try to get some work done. A little work before I simply fell asleep.
It seems to me that there's a consensus building, again, that growers have to cooperate together and manage overall production, now more then ever as the varieties and inputs create opportunities for greater yields in the face of declining consumption.
The cold front that's been keeping Orlando in a state of freeze warnings during the entire time of the Expo has been an unfortunate specter but in a way it has kept everyone focused on the expo and seminars and not chasing the sunshine, though I would have enjoyed a few minutes of warming rays, it was not to be, perhaps next year's Expo in Las Vegas will be warmer. The radio is saying that Fla. Governor Charlie Crist has issued an emergency order to assist citrus growers and that the cold snap will continue through the rest of the week.
Here's a few photos from the past two days. I'll be writing articles from interviews I conducted here for espudman, our online newsletter. That should come out next Monday. Here's some photos from the past two days.
- William Schaefer, Spudman Editor
Labels: 2010 potato expo, Orlando, Royal Pacific Resort
Monday, January 4, 2010
Skies are blue here in Orlando on a chilly, cool blue Monday as the Potato Expo 2010 convenes. The cold snap that hit the midwest has dropped all the way down to central Florida. Sweater weather, no less. I don't thinkg there will be a lot of pool side business conducted here, unless you brought a wet suit. Vendors are setting up their booths as the morning meetings begin here at Loew's Royal Pacific Resort.
- William Schaefer, Spudman Editor
Labels: potato expo 2010, Roxi Stanley