Kristen Clark, Snake River Farmers Association

Market Report

Lamb Weston Alexia Oven Roasted Medley
 

  Economic Strife in Farming Communities Leads Some to Tragic Ends Jobless Finding New Work on Farms P.E.I. Multiplies Fines to Protect Against Potato Disease  
 
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Beware of Blight

For the first time in more than a decade, late blight has been identified in the Northeast. So far, it hasn’t appeared in potato fields, but this is the earliest it’s ever been seen in the area.

What was the source? Cornell Extension spotted the fungal disease on tomato plants in a retail store. The store attempted to retrieve plants already purchased by customers, but there’s no way of knowing how many plants carried the fungus. Additionally, the tomato plants were reportedly shipped from Alabama, so there’s the potential for widespread blight contamination.

Growers throughout the Northeast should be vigilant this season to prevent late blight from taking hold in the field or spreading in storage. The symptoms vary depending on many factors, but the key-identifying characteristic is foliar lesions that turn black as necrotizing occurs. Under wet conditions, sporolation occurs and late blight spreads rapidly through the field.

The spread of late blight through retail tomato plants is unfortunate, but it is a reminder of the effect trade can have on the industry. In the same way precautions are taken to stop the spread of nematodes like pale cyst nematode, pests and diseases need to be monitored to prevent the spread of yield-reducing diseases.

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Kristen Clark
Program Coordinator for Snake River Farmers Association
What is the labor situation for eastern Idaho this season?
It’s about the same as last year. We’ve actually had an increase in the number of Americans applying and have successfully placed some in places like Montana and Wyoming. So we’ve had two of those that have actually worked out.

Have you had an increase in H2A applications?
Those are just about the same. With the economy and with the Obama administration changes I think people were unsure, so we had some drop out. But then we’ve also added some recently, so we’ve had just as many add as have dropped out.

Are local growers worried about the availability of labor?
No, there should be an adequate supply this year. We’re in about the same situation as last year, but with a little more uncertainty in the future with the Obama administration and other legislative issues.TEXT

 

Market Report

Summer potato production in the United States is up this season, despite fewer acres planted and harvested in the 10 states reporting to USDA. Total 2009 summer production is projected at 14.5 million cwt., an increase of nearly 1 million cwt. from the 2008 season. Yields increased to an average of 341 cwt./acre this season, up from 304 cwt./acre last season.

Texas had the highest summer production of nearly 2.4 million cwt., down from 2.9 million cwt. last season. Texas harvested 5,700 acres, which was 1,700 fewer acres than 2008. Yields in Texas were the highest of the summer-producing states at 420 cwt./acre.

Missouri harvested the greatest number of acres this summer at 6,700 acres for a total production of 2.1 million cwt. Last year, growers in the state had average yields of 190 cwt./acre, but this summer had better yields at 320 cwt./acre.

Illinois production remained unchanged from last season, producing 2 million cwt. from 5,300 harvested acres and a yield of 386 cwt./acre. Production in Virginia was up about 500,000 cwt. and harvested acreage was up 600 acres from 2008 to 6,300 acres. Growers in Virginia also saw higher yields than last summer, with average yields of 280 cwt./acre. California harvested about 200 more acres this summer from last summer’s 3,600 acres and average yields were up slightly to 375 cwt./acre for a total production of 1.4 million cwt., an increase of more than 100,000 cwt. from 2008.

The 2009 fall crop is progressing in the major potato producing states, and USDA is reporting some changes in the product mix from last season. Michigan planted more acres of russet-type potatoes this season, accounting for 17 percent of the crop, up from 11 percent last season. White potato acres dropped 6 percentage points to 80 percent in that state.

North Dakota also planted more russets, which now account for 56 percent of the planted acres, up from 50 percent last season. White potato acres dropped 4 percentage points to 24 percent of planted acres and red potatoes accounted for 19 percent of planted acres, down from 21 percent last season.

Washington planted fewer acres of russets, as did Wisconsin, and both states increased white potato acres. In total, 73 percent of the fall acres planted were russet-type potatoes (unchanged from last season), 19 percent of acres planted went to white potatoes (up 1 percentage point from 2008), 6 percent went to red potatoes (down 1 percentage point) and 2 percent of the planted acreage was for yellows (unchanged).


 

Lamb Weston Alexia Oven Roasted Potato Medley

PICTURELamb-Weston, a division of ConAgra Foods, has introduced a line of all-natural products to reach out to health-conscious consumers at foodservice that features heirloom potatoes.

As more and more health-conscious consumers actively seek out natural dining options – and interest in heirloom potato varieties grows among the dining population at large – foodservice operations are finding ways to deliver what customers are looking for.

And All Natural Alexia products from Lamb Weston offer a new way to meet both demands.

Alexia Oven Roasted Potato Medley brings together a flavorful mix of sweet potatoes and three naturally colorful heirloom potato varieties in purple, gold and rose hues. The potatoes are cut into 1-inch cubes and available in 3-pound packs, five to a container.

Roasted with a touch of canola oil and a hint of seasoning, Alexia Oven Roasted Potato Medley brings color and flavor variety to the plate, and meet customers’ exacting nutritional standards:
• Zero grams of trans fat
• Cholesterol and gluten free
• Rich in antioxidants
• A good source of fiber and potassium
• An excellent source of Vitamins A and C

And customers can feel good about Alexia Oven Roasted Potato Medley in another way: A portion of Alexia’s proceeds are used to purchase renewable energy credits (Green Tags) from the Bonneville Environmental Foundation that help buy output from large wind generation facilities, support solar and biomass energy resources and fund renewable energy projects and watershed restoration.