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July/August 2011

July/August 2011

Selling Direct: Maine potato grower sells direct to consumers from roadside stand.

Bruie Control: University of Florida research uses 'Super Spud' to measure impact forces on potatoes.

Storage Management: Experts offer tips on planning for storing potatoes.

Locally Grown: New USDA rule encourages schools to buy local.

Labor Reform: Ag employers feel the pinch from E-Verify, state reforms.

E-Verify's Impact on Ag: Georgia growers faced labor shortage weeks after bill pased.

Protecting Trademarks: Idaho, USPB dispute national brand.

Cover Crops: Poor management can damage crops.

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Selling Direct

Maine potato grower sells direct to consumers from roadside stand Dan Stewart got an early start in farming in Aroostook County, Maine, growing round whites, Superiors, Kennebecs and russets on 100 acres with his father, Ken. "We raised for the fresh market and a few for the processing plant," Stewart said recalling a time a half century ago. Stewart still lives in the house he grew up in, with a few modifications. His U.S. Route No. 1 market stand, south of Presque Isle, has become an icon of the area. With its bright red building, the American flag and row upon row of pumpkins, potato baskets and the potato barrels he builds himself, his market stand has become something of a tourist stopping point. Stewart graduated from high school in 1968 and was thrust into running the farm operation when his father died in 1969.…  » Read more

Bruise Control

University of Florida Research uses 'Super Spud' to measure impact forces on potatoes Bruising leaves a heavy economic impact on many potato growers, resulting in the postharvest loss of thousands of dollars. But bruising is difficult to control because the bruises don't appear until long after harvest, preventing growers from locating impact points. At the University of Florida (UF) researchers are working to resolve this problem. At the department of Horticultural Science they are using a computer to find impact points from harvest through transportation and packing, offering growers a potential means to locate impact spots before bruising strikes. "Most bruising won't show up until you go into storage, so when (growers are) grading these potatoes the bruising shows up down the line," said Steven Lands, UF/IFAS agricultural agent, St. Johns County. Lands has been a leader of the research project for the past three…  » Read more

Cover Crops

Poor management can damage crops Weed suppression is one of the many benefits of cover crops. Weed suppression by cover crops is achieved either indirectly, such as competition for light or nutrients, or directly by affecting seed viability, seed germination and seedling establishment. Chemicals released from cover crop root exudates or residue decomposition are generally responsible for toxicity known as allelopathy. Unfortunately, if a cover crop residue can kill weeds, it can also kill crops. Most cases of cover crop injury to cash crops are due to poor cover crop management and can be avoided. Allelopathic cover crops Many cover crops are called "weed fighters" because of their superior ability to suppress other plants. Many of those cover crops produce toxic compounds from their roots or during residue decomposition. Rye is the most common cover crop known for its toxic residue. This cover crop is…  » Read more

Locally Grown

On May 23, USDA implemented a final rule designed to encourage the consumption of local farm products in school meals. The rule - called the Geographic Preference Option for the Procurement of Unprocessed Agricultural Products in Child Nutrition Programs - will let schools and other providers give preference to locally grown and locally raised agricultural products when purchasing food for federal meal programs. "This rule is an important milestone that will help ensure that our children have access to fresh produce and other agricultural products," said Kevin Concannon, a USDA undersecretary. "It will also give a much-needed boost to local farmers and agricultural producers." As an example of the impact the new rule might have, foodservice officials in New York state can now openly prefer products labeled "New York-grown" or "Eastern Grown" or "Northeast" when purchasing food. They also can offer a premium on local…  » Read more
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