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Taking Stock — Trends and Conferences

A lot has happened since the last time I sat down to write this column, so let’s cut to the chase and talk potatoes.

First, Blair Richardson’s been on the job as USPB president and CEO since August but I’d be remiss not to welcome him to the job in this issue of Spudman. I had an opportunity to meet Blair at the Idaho Grower Shippers meeting in Sun Valley. We have a brief profile of Blair on page ??. You also can view a video interview at Spudman.com.

This month’s grower profile features Nebraska seed grower Joe Thompson. Joe and his father moved their farming enterprise from North Dakota to northwestern Nebraska in 1995 and have built a successful operation during the past 18 years. There was a learning curve for the Thompsons during those first years in Nebraska but today they are growing 20 varieties of seed potato for all sectors of the industry.

This being our annual seed issue, we have our annual state certified seed potato reports from around the nation as well as Rob Davidson’s annual national survey of certified seed potato acres. Russet Burbank continues to be the national leader but we continue to see a slight downward trend in its popularity.

Another trend to read about is the migration to Hawaii for winter grow out of certified seed by four state organizations. Read all about it on page 20.

By the time this issue reaches you, the Nov. 22 nomination deadline for Spudman’s second annual Emerging Leader Award will be fast approaching. If you know of a candidate I strongly encourage you to visit our website and nominate them.

Finally, it’s almost time for POTATO EXPO 2014 in San Antonio. You can read about EXPO speakers and special events as well as brief descriptions of many winter conferences on page 42.

If you’re at the EXPO please stop by the Spudman booth and visit Marnie, Sally and me. If you can’t be there, check our website for photo galleries and videos from the floor of the EXPO.

— By Bill Schaefer

Originally posted Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013

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