April 2016
Politics and Potatoes

Donald Trump was in ascendance as we gathered in Washington, D.C., for the National Potato Council’s Potato D.C. Fly-In in February.

From political pundits to congressional representatives and senators to taxi drivers, Trump was item number one in conversations during the Fly-In.

Members of Washington’s press corps, Howard Fineman, Mara Liasson and Stephen Hayes, shared their observations and opinions of the current political circus and 2016 presidential campaigns.

One thing all three correspondents agreed on was that Trump’s presidential campaign has defied conventional wisdom and he has tapped into a deep well of national resentment at the Washington establishment and political elitism.

The Fly-In wasn’t all about politics. There were issues discussed relevant to the potato industry, Trans-Pacific Partnership, EPA regulations, GMO labeling and potato research grants.

More than 130 people came to advocate for potatoes and carry that message to congressional representatives. They did a good job, but there’s strength in numbers, and I encourage everyone who can to begin making plans to come to the 2017 Fly-In.

Along with the story and photos on pages 10-15, go to to view more photo galleries and video interviews from the Fly-In.

Sometimes we have more good stories than we can fit in the magazine. Such is the case with this issue.

Melanie Epp has put together an interesting article on the importance of preharvest monitoring of sucrose levels in a potato’s development, and the benefits that extend to postharvest storage conditions, on page 16.

Looking to save money? Unless you’re a billionaire running for president, I think the answer is a resounding yes. Then you’ll want to read the PAA article on seed spacing by Lincoln Zotarelli, University of Florida assistant professor and Extension specialist, and graduate student Christian T. Christensen, on page 26.

What do you do with your culls? Turn them into vodka, if you’re the Donnie and Brenda Thibodeau at Green Thumb Farms in Fryeburg, Maine. Correspondent Kathleen Hatt reports on the Thibodeaus’ success with their Cold River line of vodka on page 22.

I’m here to tell you that if this election year gets any stranger, I may need to place an order for a case of Cold River vodka.

Until the next issue.

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