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February 2014

February 2014

Features

Departments

  • Industry News
  • Calendar & Classifieds
  • Advertiser Index
  • Spudman 7

Columns

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Working together

It’s the first day of 2014 as I compose this column. As we close the book on 2013, it can be a time for retrospection but it is also a time for moving forward and looking ahead. I prefer to look ahead today and into the seasons to come. I’ve been covering the potato industry for Spudman for four years now. During that time I’ve come to recognize how united the industry is in working together as advocates for the potato. All potato sectors, fresh, process, dehy and seed, along with all the supporting industries, and with the help of the USPB and the NPC, continue to spread the dual message of the potato’s nutritional goodness and its economic benefits to household budgets. Working together seems like a good segue to David Fairbourn’s profile of John Meyer, a potato grower from Cohocton, N.Y. John’s family…  » Read more
Born to the Industry

Born to the Industry

John Meyer, a fourth-generation grower from Cohocton, N.Y., recognizes that it takes the talents of many minds, and efforts from many hands to enable the work of feeding the world the highest quality U.S. potatoes and potato products. “One thing I’ve realized, serving on the United States Potato Board (USPB) is it doesn’t matter how big any one of us are to this industry, nobody can do this work alone,” Meyer said. “I have no ego and admit I’m just another cog in the machine.” Meyer’s self-description belies the role he plays within the potato industry. “I guess you could say I was born to this industry,” Meyer said. “My family has been growing potatoes for as longs as I can remember and longer than I have been around. They farmed first in Long Island, then they moved up to our upstate location in 1944,…  » Read more
Feeding the World

Feeding the World

These are interesting times for the potato. While many scientists believe potatoes will play a key role in providing global food security in the future, potatoes are not without their critics. A majority of nutritionists support moderate consumption of potatoes as part of a healthy diet. Other health researchers contentiously advocate that potatoes be eaten sparingly and claim potatoes are a major cause of obesity today. There is consensus that the United States has an obesity epidemic. During the past two decades there has been an alarming increase in the number of obese or diabetic Americans. In 2013 the American Medical Association classified obesity as a disease. About 50 percent of the U.S. population, 155 million U.S. adults, are overweight or obese. It’s estimated that obesity-related illnesses account for nearly 21 percent of annual medical spending. Total cost to the economy is in the hundreds…  » Read more

Strength in numbers on Capitol Hill

This February, potato growers and industry partners will gather in Washington, D. C., to focus on shaping a better business future for the potato industry. Will you be there? For those unfamiliar with the event, the Potato D.C. Fly-In is an annual NPC meeting where potato advocates come from across the country to educate policy makers on the issues that could impact their farms and operations for generations to come. At the meeting, which is open to all growers and allied industry partners interested in making a difference for the industry, attendees learn about how the laws and regulations being considered by Congress and the administration could affect their businesses. They also hear from Beltway insiders who have their fingers on the pulse of the current political environment. Speakers for the 2014 Fly-In include: Bob Beckel, political consultant and co-host of Fox News' The Five;…  » Read more
Learning Curve

Learning Curve

Globalization has been the catchphrase for U.S. agriculture for a while now. As multinational corporations (MNCs) continue to develop and introduce new fungicides into the marketplace, we are witnessing world markets that transcend national borders. While world markets continue to grow there remain national barriers that growers and MNCs must contend with as they introduce new  fungicides  into foreign markets. It’s become a fact of doing business that when a company registers a new product in the U.S. it still has to contend with Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) regulations in foreign markets before the product will gain widespread use by growers. These days the big news isn’t when a fungicide is approved by the EPA for the U.S. market. It is when a fungicide meets established default Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) for major export markets that companies begin to enjoy widespread use domestically.  Such has…  » Read more
Getting the Credit

Getting the Credit

Since 2010 the small employer health insurance tax credit (Code Section 45R) has been available. For tax years 2010 through 2013, businesses that pay more than half the cost of health insurance under a qualifying plan and have 10 or fewer full-time equivalent employees (FTE) who average $25,000 or less in wages can receive up to 35 percent of their qualified premiums as a general business credit. The credit phases out at 6 2/3 percent for each employee over 10 and 4 percent for each $1,000 of average wages received over $25,000. It is completely phased out at 25 FTE or $50,000 in average wages or any combination of reductions that add up to 100 percent reduction. For example, with 19 employees and $35,000 average wages the reduction is (19 – 10) multiplied by 6 2/3 percent = 60 percent reduction and [($35,000 - $25,000)/$1,000]…  » Read more
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