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Continuing Education

There was nothing like the feeling of getting my first published issue of Spudman in the mail. It was amazing. But what’s even better than holding the finished product in my hands is knowing that people are reading it.

I’ve received some nice industry feedback since I started as editor – from people commenting on the November/December issue to others who just e-mailed me to say hi. I’m looking forward to traveling this winter and hearing more feedback on my first couple issues.

I’ve also received feedback from people as they vote in our question of the month. Fifty-two people voted in our online poll, “How will the new Idaho potato co-op affect the fresh potato industry?” It was great hearing what people had to say on the issue. More than 50 percent voted that it will help growers set more stable pricing. In reading your responses I am able to better understand the industry and where it stands. For more information on the United Fresh Potato Growers of Idaho, and to view the complete results of our question of the month, check out the story on page XX.

It’s an exciting time for the nation’s potato industry – not only with the formation of this new group, but also for the many changes taking place in the nation’s marketing arena.

I was given the opportunity to visit the U.S. Potato Board (USPB) in Denver in early November. It was a great trip. I got to meet almost everyone who works in the office. And I definitely learned a lot about the potato industry that I didn’t know. One of the most interesting meetings I had while I was out there was learning about the international outreach USPB is doing to open markets for the export of U.S. potatoes. Representatives from USPB’s international marketing team took a lot of time to explain the different dimensions to the board’s international marketing – though I’m sure it was only in a nutshell.

As I attend various industry meetings and functions this winter, I look forward to learning more about the industry as a whole. I also hope to gain some insight on the individual state industries as they work to survive not only a national marketplace but an international one as well.

To learn more about where the states stand on issues facing the potato industry, I asked all the state organization leaders to respond to a few questions. I’ve gathered their responses in a question-and-answer format, which you can read on page XX.

Just as the industry moves forward and changes, so does Spudman. I hope to continue including a variety of voices and stories in our magazine. I look to work more closely with the state and national organizations to be sure that every voice is heard. And to do this, I also need your help. Please e-mail me or call me with story ideas or suggestions. I want to make sure Spudman works for you.

I can be reached at (616) 887-9008, ext. 110. Or, e-mail me at editor@spudman.com.

See you in Idaho!

Originally posted Saturday, Apr. 7, 2007

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