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November/December 2010

November/December 2010

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[Banner Middle] Growth - April, Expires 4/30

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Reversal of Fortunes

Reversal of Fortunes

What a difference a year can make. Twelve months ago the fresh market had cratered. While process growers were enjoying the benefits of record yields and good size. Now, one year later, and it's the fresh market growers who are enjoying a decent return on investment, at least they're not losing money. Meanwhile the process sector is seeing average yields and smaller size. I've spent the summer traveling. A trip to Indiana to visit family in July and then down to Colorado in August to visit friends. During both trips I was able to squeeze in a side trip to interview a grower. On my way to Trinidad, Colo., I went through the San Luis Valley. It was the last week of August, and harvest was just beginning. I spent time with Preston Stanley, NPC president Roger Mix, Mark and Greg Peterson, David Holm and…  » Read more
Strength in Generations

Strength in Generations

It's an all-in-the-family operation for Bruce Heersink in Colorado's San Luis Valley. Sitting at the wheel of his potato harvester, Heersink guides the machine through one of his fields during the last week of August. It's a crystal clear, blue-sky afternoon when he began this afternoon shift following a break for lunch. This field, a 60-acre half circle, is just a few miles north of Monte Vista, the county seat of Rio Grande County. From the air-conditioned comfort of the harvester's cab you have an unimpeded 360-degree view of this agricultural oasis. The San Louis Valley is an alpine valley, 45 miles wide and 96 miles in length with an average elevation of 7,500 feet above sea level. To the distant east rise the Sangre de Christo mountains and almost equidistant to the west the San Juan mountains reach up to touch the azure blue…  » Read more
Spudman 7: Frank Muir

Spudman 7: Frank Muir

Frank Muir is president and chief executive officer for the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC). He earned his MBA in marketing with highest honors from Brigham Young University. Before moving to Idaho, he held brand marketing and executive positions at General Mills and ConAgra Foods. His last position was vice president and general manager for the Venture Brands Division, representing $1 billion in revenue. What are the best words of advice you've received? A man who worked with my father once observed: "Your Dad treated everyone with equal respect, from janitors to generals." While it wasn't advice he was offering, I have never forgot that nugget of insight and wisdom. What are your goals for the next 12 months? Do my part to successfully move the 2010 potato harvest via impactful IPC advertising, publicity and promotions. Increase consumer awareness and enthusiasm to look for the "Grown…  » Read more

Russet tops certified acres

The numbers are in for the 2010 seed potato acres approved for certification and Russet Burbank remains the dominant variety in the U.S with 24,033 certified seed acres. Idaho accounted for 59 percent of Russet Burbank acres, with 14,211. For the first time, since 2006, Russet Burbanks showed an increase of 1 percent in total acres planted. Nationally, the total acreage of seed potato acres continues to drop, though only a quarter of a percent from 108,444 acres in 2009 to 108,173 acres in 2010. Efforts by grower organizations to lower yields in the face of overproduction and declining consumption perhaps have had an effect on seed production. Three varieties dropped out of the top 20. Western Russet saw a 54 percent decline in acres planted, Premier Russet saw a 56 percent drop but the Ranger Russet "Amisk" plunged 84 percent from 1,078 acres in…  » Read more
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