The Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) celebrated 70 years as the marketing arm of Idaho potatoes in May. The role IPC has played in the development of other commodity advertising groups is a large one, as is Idahos role in U.S. potato production.
The state harvests more than 13 billion pounds of potatoes annually about one-third of all U.S. potatoes and about 40,000 Idaho residents are involved in potato production or an affiliated business. The industry represents $2.7 billion to the state the farm-gate value plus the added contributions of production inputs including chemicals, irrigation, storage, etc.
IPC has grown from an advertising commission representing four or more Idaho crops to the single-commodity marketing and research commission it is now. The group has been on the leading edge of technology since its foundation, and promotions that have been launched in its 70th year are continuing
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Organic produce and food sales have increased dramatically in the last several years. This demand for organic fruits and vegetables also includes the demand for organic potatoes from year-round storage. In the past, supply of organic potatoes has been limited to a few months following harvest during the period of natural dormancy. Techniques such as temperature control and cultivar selection can be utilized to influence the natural dormancy period and to delay sprouting. There are limitations relying solely upon those two techniques. What if you are storing potatoes destined to be processed? Cold storage temperatures may not be an option due to the potential for unacceptable fry color. At cooler storage temperatures, there is an increase in reducing sugars that causes a darkened fried product upon cooking. Another concern is whether you have the option to grow and store a long-dormancy variety. There may be
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This issue of Spudman is dedicated to the Idaho Potato Commission, which in May celebrated 70 years of representing Idaho potatoes. The commission has increased the visibility of the states primary agricultural product, but the case can be made that the entire industry has benefited from the commissions work.
But theres always more to do, as Im sure many of you know. Consumption of fresh potatoes continues to decline. According to Bruce Huffaker at the Potato Market News, if the current rate continues, acreage will have to be reduced by 46 percent to match production. Thats a staggering figure that requires immediate attention.
Being from Michigan, Im all too familiar with struggling industries. The states automotive tax base has been eroded to the point that the current budget has an $800 million deficit and every other industry has felt the effects, including agriculture.
But even with
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