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Time to Shine

In August, the U.S. potato industry gets its time to shine. Hundreds of growers, researchers and industry members are expected to descend upon Boise, Idaho, for the World Potato Congress. It may not be the Olympics – or the World Cup – but it’s exciting nonetheless to have an event of this scale in our own backyard.

In this issue of Spudman, you’ll find information on all you need to know about the World Potato Congress. The preview story, by Monty Cox, WPC project manager, highlights some of the activities going on the week of Aug. 20 during the WPC and Farm Show. We’ve included the schedule for the congress so you can plan your week before you get there – making the best use of your time. The preview stories included in this issue also spotlight some of the educational sessions congress organizers have planned for you.

This is good timing for the WPC to come to the United States. There’s a lot happening here with potatoes right now. The biggest of these has been the United potato cooperatives. According to a recent Market Report from United Potato Growers of America, the crop revenue to growers is expected to be around $348.6 million for the 2005 crop. This compares to 2004 grower revenues of $156.4 million. While the 2005 crop still shows more than $161 million lost compared to 2001 levels, this is the first year in the last four that revenue has increased. Visit http://www.unitedpotato.com for more data.

United isn’t the only source of pride for the U.S. potato industry. Researchers at the country’s universities and Extension offices – as well as government offices – are continually working on ways to make potatoes better and growing practices more effective. We’ve included some reports in this issue regarding research on storage, cover crops, potato greening and vine kill. There’s also an update on what the U.S. Potato Genebank is doing to improve the U.S. industry.

And don’t forget all the work the various associations are doing to improve the industry: the U.S. Potato Board continues to work on increasing demand and the National Potato Council is keeping busy with legislation, including immigration reform and food labeling uniformity.

This issue is packed with articles about issues you face every day as potato growers. We’re excited to attend the World Potato Congress to learn even more about what’s happening with the world’s potato industry – and, more importantly, to get some face-to-face time with you, our readers. Spudman will be there in full force. Look for me, Scott Christie and Brenda Bradford around the congress, or stop by our booth #1109 at the Farm Show and say “hi.” Plus, those who stop by our booth could enter to win one of five $100 Cabela’s gift cards.

See you in Boise!

Originally posted Saturday, Apr. 7, 2007

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