At the University of Idahos research storage facility in Kimberly, Nora Olsen has been overseeing the best methods of potato storage for almost 10 years. She also has responsibilities for potato production in south central Idaho but her primary focus is storage research.
"Most of my research is directed toward storage but recently we started a project looking at organic production of potatoes, so Im involved in that," Olsen said. "We always have a field component to our field research and extension programs, but again, the majority of it has to do with storage," she said from her office on the campus of the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls.
Olsen said there are five areas of storage research.
"The first looks at new varieties. How some of these new varieties or number lines that havent been named yet, how they respond to varying storage environments.
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The potato industry lost one of its most prominent names in May when J.R. Simplot passed away at the age of 99.
Few people have seen firsthand the development and growth of the U.S. potato industry, and J.R. left his mark on the industry in many ways. He went into business at the age of 14 and started his first produce business at the age of 20. He built his first dehydrating plant in 1941, just in time to begin supplying the military with dehydrated potatoes during World War II. Also during the war, J.R. started what is now Simplot Grower Solutions to help other farmers get the fertilizers they needed.
Those businesses continued to grow, as did other Simplot ventures. In the late 1960s Simplot began processing fries for McDonalds, a relationship that has continued for decades, including the addition of a fry plant in
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The Roope family has farmed in Presque Isle, Maine, for more than 80 years, but the current generation has seen the biggest changes in the last five to 10 years. The Roopes were named Maine Farm Family of the Year for 2008 by the Maine Potato Board.
The family farm, now run by brothers Bruce and Brandon, was their grandmothers in the 1920s and her second husband, who came down from Nova Scotia, really got the farm going. It supported their seven children and put five through college. Bruce and Brandons dad, Robert Jr., took over until he retired almost 15 years ago. Now 80, he still works on the farm every day. He taught his sons to keep plugging away, always do your best, modernize, step out, take risks and always have optimism.
The Roope brothers now farm about 450 acres in Aroostook County, on land
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