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May/June 2013

May/June 2013

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Chasing Water

Chasing Water

Last year’s drought convinced Colorado potato grower Harry Strohauer that he had to make a change — a big change. He moved 500 acres — roughly half his spud production — to New Mexico for the current growing season. The farm near Clayton, N.M. is irrigated with groundwater wells. Strohauer relies almost entirely on runoff from mountain snowpack to irrigate his farm near Greeley where he grows russets, Yukons and fingerlings. Unfortunately, there’s no telling how much snowpack will accumulate in any given year. Too frequently, it’s not enough. “If you don’t have a secure source of water, you are setting yourself up for failure,” he said. “The drought is persisting into New Mexico too, but we have a source of water there that we can depend on.” If there’s a downside to the move, it’s probably logistics. “We are going to be harvesting in…  » Read more
Learning by Necessity

Learning by Necessity

 Rob Davis is no stranger to challenges. He’s been tackling challenges since he first began working in agriculture. From starting up his own large-scale potato operation to the 2013 chairmanship of the U.S. Potato Board (USPB), the 37-year old Davis has been fairly successful in meeting and defeating the challenges along life’s highway. But it was the challenge of managing a potato crop following a serious accident involving the owner that first steered Davis towards the potato industry. It was in 1999 when Davis first began working for Carl Noble. Noble, a major process grower in the region, was known as the Spud King at that time, Davis said. Starting at the bottom rung of the company ladder, feeding cows and driving tractors, by 2003 Davis had moved up a rung or two. Now he was responsible for managing the water and looking after the…  » Read more

Taking Stock - A Tale of Determination

Some people think of me as a cynic but I prefer to think of myself as a skeptic. However, when I read the lawsuit filed by the Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG) that compares potato grower organizations with an oil cartel, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), than my skeptical nature sours into cynicism. The argument that grower organizations artificially inflated the price of potatoes falls flat on its own merits when you look at the current prices for potatoes. Like all lawsuits, this one will have a long life. Watch for updates at Spudman.com or you can receive updates on our Twitter feed @SpudmanMag. Every grower I’ve had the good fortune to interview has had an interesting story to tell but I think this is doubly true of Rob Davis. Davis is the newly elected chairman for the United States Potato Board but his…  » Read more

When Food is Peace

I think the farmers can bring more credit, more lasting good will, more chance for freedom, more chance for peace, than almost any other group of Americans in the next 10 years, if we recognize that food is strength, and food is peace, and food is freedom, and food is a helping hand to people around the world whose good will and friendship we want. – John F. Kennedy, Sept. 22, 1960 Since the creation of the Food for Peace program nearly 60 years ago, an estimated three billion people in 150 countries have benefited directly from U.S. food aid supplied by U.S. farmers. Due to these and other humanitarian programs, the American people have been able to demonstrate to the rest of the world that we are willing and able to fight global hunger, help people recover from natural and man-made crises, and support…  » Read more
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