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June 2009

June 2009
  • GLOBALGAPs at Harvest ristian Moeller is the secretary of GLOBALGAP, but he knows potato farming well. He comes from a farming family that has grown potatoes for more than 100 years ? and the family had the farm for more than 200 years
  • Keeping Safe at Harvest
  • The Color Purple A new specialty potato variety with a striking regal color both outside and in is looking for a home.
  • Three Oaks Farm Spring is a busy time of year at Three Oaks Farm in Sherman Mills, Maine. There are storage potatoes to ship out and the fields and equipment have to be prepared for the start of planting, said Tom Qualey, who farms with his brother John.
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Best practices help to ensure food safety

Kristian Moeller is the secretary of GLOBALGAP, but he knows potato farming well. He comes from a farming family that has grown potatoes for more than 100 years – and the family had the farm for more than 200 years. Moeller spoke at the World Potato Congress, held in Christchurch, New Zealand March 22-25, about the organization’s role in global trade. GLOBALGAP. started as EUREPGAP but has transformed into a global partnership for Good Agricultural Practices (GAP). The group is a private sector body that sets voluntary standards for certification of agricultural products worldwide. There are more than 130 accredited certification bodies certifying GAPs in 90 countries, including the United States, Moeller said. The first year of GAPs certification was 2004, and that year saw 18,000 producers certified. In 2008, more than 94,000 growers had been certified and retailers like Wal-Mart have aligned with the global…  » Read more

Keeping Safe at Harvest

During harvest, there can’t be a big enough emphasis on safety on the farm. Recently there was a news story of one death and one serious injury on a potato farm during planting. This happens every year. Just last week a laborer in Michigan died when his clothes got tangled in the tractor's PTO. Last year, I read about two teenagers who were killed when a car collided with their tractor as it drove down the road. One moment of inattention can have devastating results. In 2007, 715 deaths and 80,000 disabling injuries were attributed to agriculture, according to data compiled by Kansas State University Extension. The 2006 death rate for farmers and farm employees was 28 in 100,000, and the injury rate that year was 6 in 100. That makes agriculture first in death rate, followed closely by mining and construction. While many of the…  » Read more

PVMI seeking licensees for specialty spud

A new specialty potato variety with a striking regal color both outside and in is looking for a home. Christened the Purple Pelisse, the new variety was developed by the Pacific Northwest Tri-State Breeding Program, which has licensed the spud to the Potato Variety Management Institute (PVMI). PVMI, in turn, is seeking to find at least one party to sublicense the variety to. Purple Pelisse (pelisse is old French for “covering” or “coat”) was released by Oregon State University (OSU) and cooperators from USDA/ARS, the University of Idaho and Washington State University. OSU performed the bulk of the evaluations and is also applying for rights under the Plant Variety Protection Act. “This particular potato we really believe has a great chance of success because it maintains its color after it’s cooked and has a really nice flavor,” said Bill Brewer, executive director of the Oregon Potato Commission. “The texture,…  » Read more

Sherman Mills grower named chairman of USPB

Spring is a busy time of year at Three Oaks Farm in Sherman Mills, Maine. There are storage potatoes to ship out and the fields and equipment have to be prepared for the start of planting, said Tom Qualey, who farms with his brother John. This season has started off with gorgeous weather, Qualey said, and some Maine growers were getting planted started early. The region was about a week ahead, and he had his planters lined up ready to go before Mother’s Day. The Qualey’s, the fifth generation of Irish immigrants, haven’t always been potato farmers, despite the Irish connection. Tom and John took over the farm from their dad, and at the time it was a dairy farm. Their dad convinced them to get away from that business, so they moved into growing potatoes and canola. Last year they had about 340 acres of…  » Read more
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