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News Stories, Agronomic Research Articles and Events across the Agricultural Industry



Check out current agricultural news and agronomic market news from across the United States or browse our extensive ag news archives for older articles.
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2/13/2016 12:00:00 AM
In a study conducted by Tanjila Alam and Pawan S. Takhar from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the scientists cut russet potatoes into tiny 45-millimeter diameter, 1.65-millimeter thick disks and then deep fried them in soybean oil. The potato samples were fried in 190 degrees Celsius oil for 0, 20, 40, 60, or 80 seconds. After that, the fried potatoes were subjected to X-ray micro-computed tomography, which creates a micro 3D image of the sample without destroying it. The idea here, is to see how frying the potato affects its porosity, the twistiness ("tortuosity") of the paths connecting the pores, and how much oil the chip takes in, which eventually could help us make better fried foods.

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2/13/2016 12:00:00 AM
The Washington potato industry contributes $7.42 billion to the state's economy, a recent study from the Washington State Potato Commission finds. The study was conducted for the commission by Washington State University's IMPACT Center. The study examined the economic output from the state's potato farming, frozen potato processing, fresh packed potatoes, dehydrated potato products and potato chip manufacturing sectors. "I knew potatoes were a big thing in Washington State - we grow them big and they have a big economic impact," said Chris Voigt, executive director of the commission. But Voigt said the figures were higher than he expected.

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2/12/2016 12:00:00 AM
This year, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) has released 16 new kinds of potatoes, with bright pink and purple being touted as the hot new fashion colours for potatoes in Spring 2016. The potatoes were unearthed Wednesday 10 Feb., at events in Guelph, Ont., Frederiction, N.B. and Lethbridge, Alta. According to AAFC, the current crop of potatoes was narrowed down from over 120,000 hybrid seedlings. Those seedlings were grown, tested, bred with other varieties, measured and tested again to isolate the genes that make these new potatoes more appealing.

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2/12/2016 12:00:00 AM
Growers and processors are always looking at how to improve farming practices that will boost yields in potato fields. Could using a narrower row width when planting potatoes be one way? Spud Smart magazine asked four experts to share their views on tighter row spacings in potato production and how growers could stand to benefit: processing potato producers John Goff and Sheldon Wiebe and McCain Foods agronomists Scott Graham and Rhett Spear.

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2/12/2016 12:00:00 AM
International farmer and businessman, Ron Offutt contributes his success to strong partnerships, finding marketplace voids and focusing on customer satisfaction. "What has been a key to our success has been looking for a void in the marketplace and finding a way to fill that void," said Offutt on the final day of Manitoba Potato Production Days on January 28 in Brandon. From his family potato farm, Offutt has created a lucrative farm enterprise both domestically and internationally. Offutt founded Emeritus, which today is the United States' largest producer of potatoes and holds farm operations in nine states, which total 190,000 acres, and includes a 34,000-acre, 25,000-cow dairy operation. As his business grew, he began to diversify into food-processing and retail equipment.

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2/11/2016 12:00:00 AM
When the International Crop Expo began 15 years ago, organizers weren't sure what to expect. Though optimistic, they weren't quite certain how the fusion of three smaller events would go. But the Crop Expo, created by the combination of events hosted individually by small grains, potato and soybean groups after the Alerus Center opened in Grand Forks, N.D., has become a longstanding success and a cornerstone of the area's winter meeting season. This year's Crop Expo, which again features both informational sessions and exhibits, is set for Feb. 17 and 18 at the Alerus. It's expected to draw 5,000 people and 177 exhibits.

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2/11/2016 12:00:00 AM
The Prince Edward Island Potato Board has launched a contest to fly a Canadian family to the Island for some potato-related adventures this summer. In just eight days since the board's Spudtastic Sweepstakes launched, it already has close to 20,000 entries from across Canada. "It's been huge. We're so excited to see the response," said Kendra Mills, marketing director for the PEI Potato Board. The prize is for a family of four and includes hotels and transportation and a host of Fall Flavours events and meals. The winner will be drawn randomly from all entries when the contest closes at the end of February.

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2/11/2016 12:00:00 AM
The United States Potato Board's Assistant Marketing Manager Schylar Denton has been in her role since mid-November of 2015. She shares what she enjoys about her role in addition to being able to be a part of a dynamic and hard working marketing team. Denton: "Also just being able to work on all the different marketing programs that we do have: including our new school food service program and our Salad Bar Challenge - those are some of my favorite things about my position." I asked if she had had the opportunity to meet members of the potato industry.

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2/11/2016 12:00:00 AM
The United States Potato Board has just launched a new marketing campaign. USPB Marketing Program Director Kim Breshears shares more details: "We are calling it the Ninth Wonder of the World - Potatoes. This celebrates the fun and versatility of cooking with potatoes. We are tapping into the adventurous nature of today's consumers with a variety of tactics that range from print adverting, to digital advertising, to social media, to use of video, we're working extensively with the media to get a lot of PR coverage. Really to just celebrate all the wonder that the potato delivers to consumers in their cuisines."

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2/11/2016 12:00:00 AM
Of the three new potato varieties released by the Maine Potato Board and University of Maine in the past two years, at least one is gaining traction in the market. The Maine Potato Board of directors voted during a Jan. 28 meeting to allow the board's executive staff to discuss an international licensing arrangement for the Caribou Russet with McCain Foods, the world's largest producer of french fries. Released last March, the Caribou Russet "does seem to have some real potential," Don Flannery, executive director of the Maine Potato Board, said. The board and University of Maine license the variety in the U.S. and Canada, but McCain Foods is interested in paying for the rights to license it in other countries.

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