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Peterson advocates new marketing strategies

I’m still shaking the dust out of my boots from the past two weeks of traveling. At the end of August I was in Colorado’s San Luis Valley visiting with Roger Mix and Bruce Heersink for future Spudman stories, and the next week I was over in Sun Valley for the 82nd annual Idaho Grower Shippers Association meeting.

Bruce Peterson, president of Peterson Insights and a former senior vice president of perishables for Wal-Mart, spoke following Wednesday’s lunch at the IGSA meeting.

Peterson’s advice to the audience was to know to whom you are marketing your product. Mass marketing is no longer a viable answer in reaching your consumers. You have to understand your consumer and segment your market strategy to identify and reach your audience, Peterson said during a video interview with Spudman. To view the interview and more interviews from the IGSA meeting, visit and scroll down to the bottom of the homepage or click on the video below.

Also, please note that Spudman has new e-mail addresses:


New potato product helps fight World Hunger

A new product utilizing potato granules to aid in efforts to eliminate malnutrition and dehydration in the world has been developed by the Christian food-aid organization Feed My Starving Children.

FMSC is a non-profit organization started in 1987 and based in Minneapolis. It currently has five permanent packing sites, one temporary site and one MobilePack unit that travels throughout the contiguous United States.

Manna Pack Potato-D food supplement was introduced by FMSC last year and was used for the first time at its mobile packing facility this August in American Falls, Idaho, during the United States Potato Board’s summer meeting in nearby Pocatello. The Potato-D supplement is to help stop diarrhea in children, one of the leading causes of infant mortality. The World Health Organization attributes 3.5 million deaths to diarrhea annually, with 80 percent of the victims children under the age of five.

Cheryl Koompin, current USPB chairwoman, helped coordinate the first mobile Manna Pack volunteer packing event using the Manna Pack-Potato-D. Koompin said that more than 300,000 meal packets were assembled during the day-and-a-half event.

Koompin said that she hopes to see it become an annual event in American Falls.

“This was a very rewarding experience for me both professionally and personally because not only does it support the potato industry, it puts nutritional food directly into the hands of the neediest,” Koompin said.

The Idaho Potato Commission helped sponsor the event.

“It was an honor for the IPC and Idaho potato industry members to participate in this volunteer-driven event,” said Frank Muir, IPC president and CEO.

Feed My Starving Children has scheduled another mobile packing volunteer event Jan. 17 in Boise.


Market Report

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released final numbers on Sept. 10, showing that Idaho’s 2009 potato crop totaled 133 million cwt., an increase of 1.1 percent from previous estimates, for a total increase of 13.8 percent from 2008 production numbers.

Field run yield was 415 cwt. per acre, 4 cwt. more than previous estimates and 32 cwt. more than the 2008 yield.

Potato disposition estimates for the 2009 crop will be published on Sept. 23. The first production estimates for the 2010 fall crop will be available Nov. 9.

NASS released the percentage of varieties planted for 2010 in Idaho, Maine, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin.

In Idaho, the percentage of Russet Burbanks climbed 3.4 percent to 59.6 percent, with Alturas and Frito-Lay varieties and other varieties showing slight increases.

Russet Norkotahs, Ranger Russets and Premier Russets showed declines of 1 percent, 2.3 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.

In Oregon, Frito-Lay varieties showed the biggest increase, rising from 5.6 percent to 10.7 percent, with Umatilla Russets showing an acreage increase of 4.1 percent to 9.1 percent. Premier Russets dropped from 6.1 percent in 2009 to 1.1 percent this year.

In Washington, Umatilla Russets showed the largest increase, with a 3.9 percent rise in acres planted. At the other end of the scale, Ranger Russets showed a 4.1 percent decrease in acres planted for 2010.

The seven state totals showed a 2.1 percent decrease in Ranger Russets and a 1 percent decrease in Russet Norkotahs. Frito-Lay varieties showed a 1.5 percent increase, the largest increase of all varieties.


Valley Irrigation

Valley Irrigation recently introduced the Valley Bender30. The Valley Bender30 has the ability to bend any drive unit at a 30-degree angle. Giving your pivot line the flexibility to wrap a tree line, a feed lot or avoid obstacles in the field, allowing for maximum irrigated acres.