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Taking Stock: Winners and Losers

After weeks of frenzy it appears the world didn’t end and Congress managed to keep from pushing us over the “fiscal cliff.”
But appearances can be deceiving and in Congress’s rush to put together a temporary, nine-month extension, of the Farm Bill the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) was excluded from the last minute funding.
I’m reminded of a line from Bruce Springsteen’s beautiful dirge “Atlantic City,” on his 1982 album “Nebraska”: “Down here it’s just winners and losers, and don’t get caught on the wrong side of that line.”
It appears that the potato industry was caught on the wrong side of the line in Congress’s ill-conceived and inept legislative actions.
We will continue to monitor and report on future legislative efforts to pass a comprehensive Farm Bill, and hopefully SCRI funding, in the months ahead in Spudman and eSpudman.
On a more positive note, I’m proud to announce that Eric Halverson of Black Gold Farms is the recipient of Spudman’s inaugural Emerging Leader Award.
Over the course of a relatively short time Eric has proven to be an exceptional and dedicated leader to the potato industry. I have no doubt that he will continue to play a significant role in the industry for many years to come.
Look for a feature on Eric in a future issue of Spudman.
I think I speak for the panel of judges when I say that based on the quality of all the Emerging Leader Award nominees the future of the potato industry will be in good hands for many years to come.
I want to thank everyone who took the time to nominate someone and encourage one and all to watch for next year’s announcement for nominees.
This month we profile Nels Iverson and the Iverson Family Farms in Woodburn, Oregon. It’s definitely not your typical potato farm, nor is Nels a typical potato farmer. All farmers rely on a diverse crop portfolio but the Iversons’ operation is the only one I know that includes tulips in its production.
The Iversons’ potato production pales in comparison to many but Nels’ long-time dedication and service to the potato industry, both in Oregon and nationally, are the qualities that stand out in this profile.

By Bill Schaefer

Spudedit@spudman.com

Originally posted Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013

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