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May 2009

May 2009
  • Market Uncertainty
  • Schneider Farms In January, members of the National Potato Council elected Ed Schneider of Schneider Farms in Pasco, Wash., the council president for 2009. He succeeds Rich Polatis of Blackfoot, Idaho.
  • Shareholder Demands It used to be that a publicly held company's only responsibility to its shareholders was to be profitable. But today investment groups and individual shareholders are increasingly making demands of the companies they hold shares in. That was the case for McDonald's in December when three investment groups each submitted a shareholder's resolution concerning pesticide use.
  • Snake River Recharge A March 26 announcement that Idaho Power and the state of Idaho had signed a tentative accord has state officials hailing the agreement as a reaffirmation of the state's ownership of the Snake River water flow and the state's attempts at managed recharge of its depleted Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer.
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Market Uncertainty

For more than a decade agricultural producers have shipped fresh, processed, juiced and frozen fruits and vegetables to Mexico free from tariffs. That was one of the results of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which included the agricultural provisions from the previous Canadian Free Trade Agreement in effect since 1989. Since NAFTA took effect, agricultural shipments to Mexico have grown to $11.5 billion in 2007 – and a value of $20 million to the potato industry. But in March, the Mexican government introduced a tariff on frozen potato products from the United States, one of 55 products singled out for import taxes. The tariff was the result of the U.S. government’s inability to uphold one of the agreed-upon measures of NAFTA – to allow Mexican long-haul trucks into the United States. The Mexican government was justified in issuing the tariff because the United States did…  » Read more

Pasco grower elected president of NPC

In January, members of the National Potato Council elected Ed Schneider of Schneider Farms in Pasco, Wash., the council president for 2009. He succeeds Rich Polatis of Blackfoot, Idaho. Schneider has farmed in southern Washington since graduating from Washington State University in 1977 with a degree in agricultural economics. His parents moved the family to the Pasco area from California in the mid-‘60s when the wells dried up. Other families from California had settled there, and the Schneiders went right back to farming hay as they’d done in California. Schneider said he knew he wanted to return to the farm his parents started – and while he was at college they put in the first crop of potatoes. He worked on the farm raising potatoes and took it over when his parents retired in 1982. He now farms with his wife, Liz, who helps with the…  » Read more

Shareholder Demands

It used to be that a publicly held company’s only responsibility to its shareholders was to be profitable. But today investment groups and individual shareholders are increasingly making demands of the companies they hold shares in. That was the case for McDonald’s in December when three investment groups each submitted a shareholder’s resolution concerning pesticide use. McDonald’s operates in more than 100 countries worldwide and is the largest buyer of french fries. The fast food giant doesn’t produce fries itself, but works closely with processors in the supply chain. Every member of the McDonald’s supply chain is required to have a Good Manufacturing Program in place, a verified Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points program, crisis plan and other food safety procedures. Food safety and food quality are of equal importance, and in 2007 the company updated its Supplier Quality Management System to align to two.…  » Read more

Idaho Power working with state to refill aquifer

A March 26 announcement that Idaho Power and the state of Idaho had signed a tentative accord has state officials hailing the agreement as a reaffirmation of the state's ownership of the Snake River water flow and the state's attempts at managed recharge of its depleted Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer. The proposed settlement, issued by the state as the Framework Reaffirming the Swan Falls Settlement, is seen by state officials as re-affirming the State of Idaho's right to designate how Snake River water flow is used versus Idaho Power's use of water for hydropower production. This agreement hinges on passage of legislation submitted before the Idaho Legislature on March 27 and was passed unanimously by the Senate Resources committee on April 1. According to the press release issued from the office of Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter, "the proposed settlement ... resolves the litigation by clarifying that the…  » Read more
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