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April 2009

April 2009
  • Idaho Water Situation At first glance, Idaho's 2009 water supply appears to be sufficient to meet agricultural demands for the upcoming growing season, but appearances can be deceiving; especially in Idaho.
  • Maine's Young Farmer Randy Leavitt may be Maine's Young Farmer of the Year, but he comes from family that?s been growing potatoes for more than 100 years. Randy is the fifth generation of Leavitts to farm in Presque Isle, and even at 30 he's not new to the potato business.
  • Metam Sodium Monitoring EPA's Reregistration Eligibility Decision for metam sodium is due out in July, and the decision could have drastic repercussions for potato growers in the Pacific Northwest. Metam sodium, a broad spectrum fumigant used to control verticillium and some nematodes, converts to the gas methyl isothiocynate (MITC) when it is applied to soil through irrigation systems.
  • Psychology of Buying
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Snowpack lower than average, but water supply looks sufficient

At first glance, Idaho's 2009 water supply appears to be sufficient to meet agricultural demands for the upcoming growing season, but appearances can be deceiving – especially in Idaho. The Natural Resources Conservation Service's (NRCS) Feb. 1 report on Idaho's water supply said snowpack levels averaged between 80 percent and 100 percent in most areas, with Camas Creek, Big Wood River below Magic Dam and the Bear River at Stewart Dam the lowest basins – with snowpack averaging about 60 percent. The Bureau of Reclamation's current report on major storage reservoirs in the Upper Snake River Basin indicates that most of the reservoirs are nearing capacity, with Henrys Lake at 97 percent; American Falls, Grassy Lake and Island Park more than 85 percent; and Jackson Lake at 76 percent. Palisades is holding at 67 percent, Ririe at 52 percent and Lake Walcott at 41 percent. It's still too…  » Read more

Presque Isle’s Randy Leavitt wants to pass farming onto the sixth generation

Randy Leavitt may be Maine’s Young Farmer of the Year, but he comes from family that’s been growing potatoes for more than 100 years. Randy is the fifth generation of Leavitts to farm in Presque Isle, and even at 30 he’s not new to the potato business. Leavitt started farming on his own at the age of 15, growing fresh potatoes on a five-acre plot. Even at that age he said he knew he wanted to be a potato farmer. “I just always knew farming was what I wanted to do,” Leavitt said. “I take great pride in continuing my father’s hard work and success. And I hope this trickles down to my kids and grandkids for years to come.” He now farms 2,500 acres in Limestone and Fort Fairfield with his wife Lori and 2-year-old son Landen. About 1,250 acres are dedicated to potatoes, and the other…  » Read more

Buffer zones could lead to new application techniques

EPA’s Reregistration Eligibility Decision for metam sodium is due out in July, and the decision could have drastic repercussions for potato growers in the Pacific Northwest. Metam sodium, a broad spectrum fumigant used to control verticillium and some nematodes, converts to the gas methyl isothiocynate (MITC) when it is applied to soil through irrigation systems. Under the current re-registration documents, EPA is proposing risk mitigation measures that include buffer zones up to 875 feet – at 500 feet nearly 50 percent of the fields in Washington would be affected, said Chris Voigt, executive director for the Washington State Potato Commission. Three-quarters of Washington fields are treated with metam sodium, so the economic impact of buffer zones would be almost $75,000 of lost farmgate value per field and $371,000 a field of lost economic value. Across the entire state, that would amount to $77 million in lost…  » Read more

Psychology of Buying

On a recent episode of NBC’s “Today” show, Martin Lindstrom showed host Meredith Vieira some of the subtle tricks that retailers use to sell items. What was most interesting was Lindstrom’s credentials – he’s chairman of Buyology Inc., a marketing and neuroscience company, and author of “Buy-ology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy.” With the economy in the dumps, Lindstrom said retailers are increasingly using psychological triggers to get people to buy more. While the tone of the segment portrayed retailers negatively, some of the subtle cues could be used to sell more fresh potatoes at retail. The first thing he mentioned was that size matters. Shoppers purchase 30 percent more when the size of a shopping cart is doubled from the smaller size common in Europe to the larger American standard. Similarly, larger packages also encourage shoppers to consume more – Lindstrom likened that effect…  » Read more
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