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June 2006

June 2006
  • Harvesting Quality Potatoes Producers need to attend to numerous details during the growing season to raise a quality potato crop.
  • Labor Enforcement The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is expanding its efforts to target employers of illegal aliens, which could have negative consequences for farmers and their workers.
  • New Assistant Editor Joins Spudman Staff
  • Potato Cyst Nematode In early May, officials from the Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) were still trying to track down the source of two tiny cysts; the size of pinheads;3 that have halted exports of fresh Idaho potatoes to three countries.
  • Sharing Responsibility
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Start Thinking About Harvest Now To Ensure a Bruise-Free Crop

Producers need to attend to numerous details during the growing season to raise a quality potato crop. It begins by properly working the soil followed by paying attention to planting accuracy, and then protecting the crop from diseases and insects during the growing season, while also maintaining proper plant nutrition. The final step in obtaining a quality crop is harvesting tubers with minimal damage. Minimizing bruising is actually a season-long process, but a large percentage of keeping bruise damage in check occurs at harvest. In areas where vines are mechanically or chemically killed, the time of vine kill in relation to maturity can play a role in potential blackspot bruising. Research has indicated that for certain varieties, more mature vines have greater potential to blackspot bruise. For Russet Burbank, a field should not have more than 40 percent dead vines when killed. However, vine maturity has…  » Read more

Federal Government Targets Employers of Illegal Immigrants

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is expanding its efforts to target employers of illegal aliens, which could have negative consequences for farmers and their workers. On April 20, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Julie Myers, assistant secretary for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), unveiled a comprehensive enforcement strategy to reduce illegal immigration. They also announced the results of an enforcement operation against Houston-based IFCO Systems North America, the country’s largest pallet services company. Seven current and former IFCO managers were arrested and charged with conspiring to transport, harbor and encourage illegal aliens to reside in the United States for commercial advantage and private financial gain. The charges carry a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for each alien involved. Two other IFCO employees were arrested on criminal charges relating to fraudulent documents, according to…  » Read more

New Assistant Editor Joins Spudman Staff

Scott Christie has joined the staff of Great American Publishing as the assistant editor for Spudman. His duties will include writing and editing content for Spudman, as well as assisting on the company’s other agricultural publications, Fresh Cut, The Fruit Growers News and The Vegetable Growers News. Christie completed a master’s degree in journalism at the University of Kansas in 2004, and most recently worked as a freelance reporter specializing in the produce industry. He also has worked as a staff writer for The Packer, which was his first taste of writing for and about the agriculture industry, and as a proofreader for academic and technical journals at Allen Press. Christie is looking forward to getting to know the readers of Spudman and their businesses. “I’m excited to start writing for potato growers, and especially excited to be a part of an industry full of great…  » Read more

Investigation of Pest Under Way in Idaho

In early May, officials from the Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) were still trying to track down the source of two tiny cysts – the size of pinheads ¬– that have halted exports of fresh Idaho potatoes to three countries. Reports in late April said the field source of the potato cyst nematode cysts had been identified, but these reports were not accurate, said Wayne Hoffman, special assistant to the director of the ISDA. That still remained a mystery. The two cysts were found in tare dirt at a processing plant in eastern Idaho during routine monitoring that takes place under the Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey (CAPS). That program, in Idaho and all other potato-producing states, conducts routine surveillance inspections for nematodes and some 400 other pests. The source of the tare soil was thought to be two…  » Read more

Sharing Responsibility

Recently, I had a great opportunity to participate in a panel with other trade media folks at the United Produce Conference in Chicago. There were a few hundred people in the room, so I was a little nervous, but it was a great experience. Tom Stenzel, president of the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association, turned the tables on all of us and asked us a bunch of questions, instead of the other way around. It was a good, timely discussion about the trends and issues facing consumers. A resounding theme of the discussion was adding value – but not just to products. Processors, of course, have to add value to their products to keep consumers coming back, be it fresh-cut, fresh-prepared or new varieties and sizes. This, as you all probably know, is one of my favorite topics. But it goes beyond that – growers,…  » Read more
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