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April 2011

April 2011

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Making Gold

Making Gold

As soon as Eric Halverson was old enough to reach up and take hold of a steering wheel, he began contributing as a working member of his family's Black Gold Farms. But according to his tax records, he first started farming full time in 1999. A graduate of North Dakota State University's agricultural and bio-systems engineering program, he always knew he'd be involved with farming and agriculture in some way. Today, Halverson is the executive vice president of technology at Black Gold. Likewise, he was destined to represent the growers and potato industry of the Red River Valley and Northern Plains on the United States Potato Board (USPB). He was elected to serve on the USPB while he completed the 2008 Potato Industry Leadership Institute (PILI) program. PILI is a two-week program providing an overview of the potato industry's challenges and issues beyond the production…  » Read more
Late Blight

Late Blight

Late blight. Two words that send chills through every potato grower's spine. Most famous as the cause of the Irish potato famine in the middle of the 19th century, late blight to this day remains feared for its potential to lay ruin to and devastate potato crops. However, potatoes are not the only vegetable susceptible to the late blight fungus. Plants in the solanaceae family - potatoes, tomatoes, pepino, tree tomato, eggplant and nightshade - all serve as hosts for the disease. Two years ago, late blight was found in states from Maine to Washington. Researchers and plant pathologists from Maine, Wisconsin and Idaho all agree that the source of Phytophthora infestans, late blight, was tomato plants found in garden shops and some big box stores. At a recent seminar in his new research building in Rupert, Idaho, Jeff Miller said that the source of…  » Read more
Cultivar Corner: Lamoka

Cultivar Corner: Lamoka

Parentage: NY120 x NY115 Developers: Cornell University Plant Variety Protection: Applied for Morphological Characteristics Plant: Large and vigorous vine, with pale green foliage, and white-tipped, magenta flowers. Vine is vigorous and upright early, becoming semi-erect later in the season. Tubers: Round shape, with slight to moderately textured skin. Eyes are shallow. Attractive,uniform tubers with a medium tuber size profile, typically slightly smaller than Atlantic. Incentives for production: Long-term storage potential (similar to Snowden), excellent chipcolor out of cold storage (comparable to or better than Snowden), good resistance tocommon scab, attractive appearance and high tuber solids. Agronomic Characteristics Vine Maturity: Medium-late Yield Potential: High (similar to Atlantic) Specific Gravity: High; averages about 0.004 less than Atlantic across 33 trials. Culinary Quality: Chipping cultivar to replace Snowden and other cultivars with long-termstorage potential. Diseases/Pests/Physiological Disorders: Good resistance to common scab. Resistant to golden nematode race Ro1. Storability:…  » Read more
Spudman 7: John Keeling

Spudman 7: John Keeling

John Keeling has served as the executive vice president and CEO of the National Potato Council since 2002. He lives in Arlington, Va., and co-owns a 150-acre cattle operation in Buckingham County, Va., with his brother. He also helps manage a fourth-generation family farm and ranch properties in Texas. Keeling received his undergraduate degree in economics from Washington and Lee University and his master's degree in agricultural economics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute. What are the best words of advice you have received?You can move the earth if you have to. Look for the lever and fulcrum you have within reach. A man who was a second father to me when I was a young man made me believe that anything was possible if you made a clear assessment of your situation, identified the tools you had to make it happen and began to take action…  » Read more
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