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November / December 2006

November / December 2006
  • Gavin Rajnus Seed Oregon's Klamath Basin is known for fertile soil in the semi-arid desert. Potato production in the area isn't affected much by late blight or Colorado potato beetle, but water is probably the biggest issue for growers.
  • Seed Trends U.S. seed potato acres approved for certification in 2006 increased 4 percent from 2005. A report from Colorado State University showed 113,871 acres certified for 291 varieties.
  • Ted Baginski and Sons Running a potato farm is a not a commitment to be taken lightly, and Mike Baginski's parents, Ted and Sue, wanted him to be sure it was what he really wanted to do.
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Water, family drive Oregon seed grower to keep his operation small

Oregon’s Klamath Basin is known for fertile soil in the semi-arid desert. Potato production in the area isn’t affected much by late blight or Colorado potato beetle, but water is probably the biggest issue for growers. In 2001, the federal government cut off water from Klamath Lake, and Gavin Rajnus, 33 years old at the time, was thrust to the front of a protest movement. In the years since, water has continued be an issue in the region and on Rajnus’ farm. The Rajnus’ seed-growing operations were started in 1949 by Rajnus’ grandfather, Laddie, whose father emigrated from Czechoslovakia in 1911. Laddie’s two sons, George and Donald, formed Rajnus Brothers Seed in 1980. The company hand-cut all of its seed to ensure quality tubers, although the process is slower and costlier. Gavin Rajnus graduated with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Oregon State University in 1991…  » Read more

Umatilla Russet, Red LaSoda see biggest gains in 2006

U.S. seed potato acres approved for certification in 2006 increased 4 percent from 2005. A report from Colorado State University showed 113,871 acres certified for 291 varieties. Industry groups have encouraged growers to plant fewer acres to keep prices at a profitable level, and it appears to have made an impact, as the increase in plantings was minimal. “Given as good a marketing year it was, there’s still the possibility that growers will continue to restrain themselves as far as plantings,” said Robert Coltman, program director for the Wisconsin Seed Certification Program. “I think next year will determine how successful they’ve been.” About 75 percent of the total acreage approved was dedicated to the top 20 varieties. The top varieties in 2006 are Russet Burbank, Russet Norkotah selections, Norland, Russet Norkotah, Ranger Russet, Shepody, Umatilla Russet, Atlantic, Red LaSoda, Yukon Gold, Rio Grande Russet, Snowden, Superior, Dakota…  » Read more

Fourth generation grower couldn’t stay away from the farm

Running a potato farm is a not a commitment to be taken lightly, and Mike Baginski’s parents, Ted and Sue, wanted him to be sure it was what he really wanted to do. They had him move away from the family’s farm in Antigo, Wis., to gain some “real-world” experience and a perspective away from the family and farm. So, after earning an associate’s degree, Mike moved to Hagerstown, Md., to work at his uncle’s shipping company. He stayed there a little more than a year, all the while harboring a desire to take over the family business. “I knew I wanted to come back,” Mike said. “I missed Wisconsin, and I missed farming.” Mike said his mom probably didn’t want him to return to the potato business because she’s “lived through it once,” and wouldn’t want to do it again. But the Baginski men secretly dreamed of…  » Read more
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