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January 2012

January 2012

Features

Departments & Columns

  • Taking Stock: 50 Years & Counting
  • Cultivar Corner: Purple Pelisse
  • Alliance for Potato Research and Education
  • The Guenthner Report
  • National Potato Council
  • United Potato Growers of America
  • United States Potato Board
  • Spudman 7: Don Flannery

We're proud to offer a selection of stories from our January 2012 issue on our website. To subscribe to Spudman, click here.

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All Articles

Fostering Innovation

Fostering Innovation

In the middle of spring planting, hail pings off the roof of Jim Tiede's shop and office, pelting his newly planted fields about eight miles west of American Falls in southeastern Idaho. A few wind gusts later, snowflakes replace the hail. He laughs and shrugs off the frigid weather that puts his planting two weeks behind schedule. "It's all part of the equation of growing potatoes here," said the third generation farmer, who raises Ranger Russet and Russet Burbank potatoes for nearby processors Lamb Weston Inc. and the J.R. Simplot Co. "They'll make up for it later." By autumn, his positive prediction of a strong growing season had come true. "We had a great harvest. The Lord blessed us with a beautiful fall, and we got everything out of the fields with no frost," he said. "We're looking forward to having another good year, even…  » Read more
Spudman Survey

Spudman Survey

Well, if there's one thing that jumps off the pages of this year's Spudman survey it's the wide range of responses for how growers fared in the 2011 season. Seems as if almost everyone started with a cold, wet spring and while some reported a "good growing season" or "good field, good quality." Just as many reported "terrible, wet spring, couldn't plant ‘til May ... Two hurricanes and about 20-plus inches of rain ... we may not get to finish digging these potatoes" or even worse "our potato crop was a total loss" and another third reported an "average" crop. It was that kind of a year across the nation and this was reflected in Spudman's third annual industry survey. A clear majority of respondents come from the fresh sector, with just over 92 percent, 39.9 percent grow for the frozen sector, 44 percent in…  » Read more
Combatting PVY

Combatting PVY

The potato industry in North America is currently experiencing an invasion of sorts by an old pest that has recently undergone some important and sinister changes. The pest is Potato virus Y or PVY and the threat is new strains of the virus that can cause both internal and external tuber symptoms. To combat this problem, a team of PVY researchers from across the U.S. received a Specialty Crops Research Initiative (SCRI) grant to study the new strains of PVY and to educate the potato industry about what to do to manage this new threat. The grant is entitled "Development of comprehensive strategies to manage Potato Virus Y in potato and eradicate the tuber necrotic variants recently introduced into the United States." In the good old days we only had to deal with the "ordinary" strain of PVY, which bears the designation PVYO. PVYO generally…  » Read more
50 Years: True Grit

50 Years: True Grit

It took a one-eyed photographer with a vision for a national potato magazine to create Spudman magazine 50 years ago. The fact that Dan Crawford wasn't a very good farmer, by his own estimation, probably played a role in the creation of this magazine in Tulelake, Calif. Eighty-nine years young, today Crawford lives in an assisted-living apartment in Klamath Falls, Ore., just 30 miles north of Tulelake. His wife of 68 years, Ardina, died in the fall of 2010. Despite the infirmities of time Crawford still enjoys talking about starting up the magazine while making self-deprecatory asides about his own lack of experience in the publishing business when he began Spudman.Crawford's tale of Spudman's origin is one of grit, determination and perseverance, from a concept to reality and then to the successful enterprise that continues to this day. Crawford describes himself as "just an old…  » Read more
50 Years: Top 10 List

50 Years: Top 10 List

It's hard to believe Spudman is 50 years old this year and even harder to think about all of the challenges the industry has gone through over the past five decades to remain prosperous. I spent some time looking over hundreds of issues of Spudman magazines and came up with a list of the Top 10 Most Significant Influences on the potato industry. #10 - Government price supports. Beginning in 1941 and through the World War II years, potatoes received mandatory government price supports. They were to last through the wars years and two years after. This led to huge surpluses and the dumping of potatoes that cost the government several hundred million dollars and damaged markets for nearly a decade. #9 - Food Quality Protection Act. The implementation of the most comprehensive and historic overhaul of the nation's pesticide and food safety laws in…  » Read more

50 Years: Farmers are the backbone of America

Perhaps the most attractive aspect of the life led by the men and women who produce potatoes is its wholesomeness. There are, of course, headwinds: harvesting while watching input prices continually pushing higher (diesel, labor, fertilizer and all the rest ... phosphate now up 68 percent). There's the stress on margins, and pests and weather never take a bank holiday. Growers are scientists, accountants, managers, mechanics, conservationists, marketers and political activists all rolled into one. But through it all much of the pleasure in the grower's profession is his surroundings: the peace of a distant horizon, the smell of thawing soil in spring, the power grinding progress of wheels, belts and diggers and finally the clean, eerie quiet of the crop, finally at rest in storage. Growers treasure their independence, backing up their ideas with their own labor and capital, confident that when neighbors see…  » Read more
Spudman 7: Don Flannery

Spudman 7: Don Flannery

Don Flannery has served as the executive director of the Maine Potato Board since 2002. From 1997 to 2002 he was the assistant executive director of the MPB. Prior to that role, he was the director of economic and community development for the Northern Maine Development Commission. What are the best words of advice you've received? Find a job you like, work hard at it, and you will always enjoy working. What are your goals for the next 12 months? Working with our growers to overcome one of the most challenging potato years we have had in recent history. What do you do to relax or get away from work? Spend time with my family and working to finish our new home. What would you like to be your lasting legacy? That I was able to make a difference in the Maine potato industry and…  » Read more
Taking Stock: 50 Years & Counting

Taking Stock: 50 Years & Counting

The new year always starts off with so much promise and I think 2012 is going to fulfill that promise, both editorially and agriculturally speaking. Editorially speaking, this issue marks the beginning of Spudman's 50th year of publishing. We are the oldest private publication covering the potato industry. As part of Spudman's 50-year anniversary we've come out with a new feature in the magazine for this year. It's called, "Pioneers of the Industry." We're going to feature people who have played integral roles in advancing the potato industry in every issue. If you have a candidate in mind for this feature, please call or email me with your suggestion. We are building up our list but I'd be happy to see or hear nominations from our readers. This month's pioneer is Dan Crawford. Fifty years ago Dan Crawford started this publication in a little second-floor…  » Read more
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