The United Nations selected 2008 as the International Year of the Potato, not knowing there could be no better product to feature this year.
Food prices are increasing worldwide, driving many in developing African nations further into hunger and starvation and even causing food riots in countries closer to home, including an April riot in Haiti. A run on rice led U.S. retailers Wal-Mart and Costco to limit per person purchases.
The worldwide food situation can lead the humble potato to play a more important role in the agriculture and economies of the richest and poorest nations. The potato is the worlds No. 1 non-grain food commodity and is being hailed as the food of the future by the United Nations. The U.N. estimated that almost 360 million tons of potatoes were produced worldwide in 2007, with almost half of those grown in developing countries.
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The harvest season is rapidly approching the evidence of a seasons worth of hard work and it can make or break a farm. Tensions will be high and the opportunity for mistakes will be great. Here are a few easy steps that can help at the end of the season.
1. Read the Label Chemical vine kill treatments have varying application rates, uses and safety requirements. Endothall, for example, can be tank-mixed with other desiccants and can be applied through ground or aerial equipment 10 to 14 days before harvest. Diquat shouldnt be applied to drought-stressed potatoes and should be applied seven days before harvest, with five days between multiple applications via ground or air. Paraquat should be applied when the leaves turn yellow and by ground equipment only, with five days between treatments. That chemical is for fresh-market potatoes only and shouldnt be
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Washington state growers have used rail to move their fresh and processed produce throughout the United States for years, but a program started almost two years ago is helping to develop a market for third-party rail logistics management.
The idea for a railcar pool program has evolved since the late 90s, when shippers had trouble finding refrigerated trucks and drivers. The attempt at organizing a rail system was a partnership with Amtrak, but that ended about five years ago when Amtrak eliminated its program that allowed produce and other products to be carried with its trains. Washington produce groups, including the Washington State Potato Commission, petitioned the state to create a rail pool program for produce shippers, what was created nearly two years ago was the Washington Produce Railcar Pool.
The rail companies operating in Washington had been phasing out smaller railcars in favor of
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As the potato industry has changed over the years, one Washington growing operation also has changed with time. Skone & Connors has evolved over more than 60 years to become the grower/packer/shipper and member of a national marketing cooperative that it is today.
In the early 1940s, two potato growers, Bert Connors and George Skone, started their own growing and packing operations in the Pasco area of eastern Washington. The third generation of Connors now runs the family-owned operation, led by Bart Connors, the general manager of the business.
Connors was elected chairman of the United States Potato Board at the annual meeting in March, after serving from 1996 to 2002 on domestic and international marketing committees then served on the executive committee beginning in 2006 and most recently chaired the domestic marketing committee.
A Family Farm
Skone & Connors Inc. farms between 2,500 and 2,800 acres of
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