U.S. Potato Exports Continue to Improve

U.S. exports of frozen potato products, dehydrated potatoes, and fresh potatoes continue to improve, some stronger than others. U.S. exports of frozen potato products increased by 30% for the July – September 2021 quarter compared to 2020. These increases were led by a 63% increase to Mexico, continuing exceptionally strong sales to this market throughout […]

EPA, Army Corps of Engineers to Host WOTUS Regional Roundtable Discussions

Last month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of the Army publicly announced a process for stakeholders to submit nomination letters with a slate of participants to potentially be selected as one of ten geographically focused roundtables to provide input on the regional implications of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) […]

USDA Opens SCRI Application Window

Last week, USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture issued a request for applications for the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI). An anticipated $80 million will be available for the program in 2022, and the application deadline is Jan. 21. 2021. According to USDA, the purpose of the SCRI program is to address the critical […]

NPC Leadership Meets with EPA Staff on Pesticides

Members of the NPC Environmental Committee along with members of the organization’s Grower Pesticide Advisory Panel met with staff of the EPA’s Office of Pesticide Program (OPP) earlier this week. Despite being unable to meet in-person with the staff responsible for pesticide registration reviews over the past 18-months, the meeting provided an opportunity to hear about […]

White House Hunger Conference Expected Next Year

On November 2nd, the U.S. Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Food and Nutrition, Specialty Crops, Organics, and Research hosted a hearing on the “State of Nutrition in America 2021.” During the event, Chairman Booker and Ranking Member Braun recommended moving forward with a bipartisan, bicameral bill that would convene a second national White House Conference on […]

Vaccination Mandate Set for January 4

The Biden Administration’s Office of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) last week released its long-awaited COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). The ETS applies to businesses with at least 100 employees and is expected to cover 84 million people. The mandate requires businesses to implement vaccine requirements and/or weekly testing and mask […]

U.S. Potato Industry Supports CFIA Action to Protect Canadian Provinces and U.S. after Additional Disease Detections

New restrictions on PEI potatoes enacted for Canadian provinces and the U.S. effective midnight Nov. 22   WASHINGTON – The National Potato Council (NPC) and grower organizations throughout the United States today welcomed the announcement by Canada’s Acting Chief Plant Health Officer, David Bailey, to prevent the spread of potato wart from Prince Edward Island (PEI) […]

Another PEI Potato Wart Find Prompts U.S. Industry Response

Last week, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) reported the detection of potato warts in two fields where potatoes were being grown for processing. While CFIA indicates that the potatoes did not leave the island, they announced it has suspended the export of seed potatoes from PEI to the United States. On Friday, November 5, […]

NPC Concerned About Eligibility and Caps in Administration’s PPE Relief Grant Program

“Over the past few months, the National Potato Council and our partners in the agriculture industry have given feedback to USDA on the need to support those who incurred COVID-19 PPE and vaccination costs in the heavily-impacted specialty crop sector. Although we appreciate the intention of the announcement and the release of these funds, unfortunately, […]

USDA Info Update

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced loan interest rates for September 2021, which are effective Sept. 1. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) loans provide important access to capital to help agricultural producers start or expand their farming operation, purchase equipment and storage structures, or meet cash flow needs. Operating, ownership and emergency loans FSA […]

NPC Welcomes Nomination of USTR Chief Ag Negotiator

President Biden last month nominated Elaine Trevino to be the Chief Agricultural Negotiator at the Office of the Unites States Trade Representative (USTR). Trevino is currently the President of the Almond Alliance of California, where she helps advocate on regulatory and legislative issues in areas of international trade, food safety, water quality and availability, crop […]

House Democrats Drop Biden Tax Increases on Farm Families

Following public opposition from farm groups, including NPC and state potato organizations, House Democrats released a package of tax hikes to fund their $3.5 trillion spending plan that eliminated President Biden’s proposed increase on inherited property at death. “The President’s proposed hikes would have forced family farms and ranches to disproportionately shoulder the burden of […]

Potato Expo 2022 Exhibitors Look Forward to Reconnecting in Anaheim

More than 145 companies and organizations have already signed up to exhibit at Potato Expo 2022, January 5-6, in Anaheim, California. Nothing beats doing business and growing relationships face-to-face. That’s why Potato Expo 2022’s Expo Hall will be the central hub of activity, featuring 100,000 square feet of trade show space, hosting numerous receptions and meals, and accommodating […]

NPC Supports Proposed Label Changes to Difenoconazole

On October 4, NPC offered comments on EPA Dockett: EPA-HQ-OPP-2015-0401-0047 regarding the Agency’s proposed interim decision for difenoconazole. In the comments, NPC wrote, “Potato production in the United States relies on the use of difenoconazole as part of integrated management plan on a variety of potato diseases including Helminthosporium solani (Silver Scurf) and Fusarium species […]

Vilsack to NPC: Mexico Fresh Access a USDA Priority

In response to NPC’s June 28 letter enlisting the Biden Administration’s support for full U.S. fresh potato access to Mexico, USDA Secretary Vilsack wrote to the industry saying that resolving this issue is a high priority for the department. “I would like to thank you for your extensive efforts in pursuing full access to this key market,” […]

USDA, EPA Announce Plans to Integrate Climate Adaptation into Missions

As part of the Biden Administration’s whole-of-government approach to the climate crisis, both the USDA and EPA unveiled their plans for how they as agencies will prepare for and adapt to climate change. USDA’s plan identifies five cross-cutting adaptation actions the agency will take: Build resilience across landscapes with investments in soil and forest health. Increase […]

Application Period Opens for USDA’s PPE Grant Program for Small Businesses

USDA announced on October 6 that the application period for the new Pandemic Response and Safety Grant program is now open.  The $650 million program, funded by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, was created to “assist small businesses in certain commodity areas, including specialty crop producers” with “COVID-related expenses such as workplace safety measures […]

Biden’s Executive Order Addresses Corporate Consolidation in Ag

Recently, President Biden issued an Executive Order that, among other things, directs USDA to take actions to curb the market power of agribusiness companies, including by enabling growers to repair high-tech machinery. The order builds off USDA announcements to write new regulations strengthening the Packers and Stockyards Act (PSA) and concerns over the “Products of […]

EPA Revokes Tolerances of Chlorpyrifos on All Food Crops

Late last month, EPA announced the removal of all tolerances on all food crops for chlorpyrifos while maintaining its use for non-food uses including Christmas trees and mosquito control. These changes are effective in six months. Though the ruling doesn’t directly impact potatoes as chlopyrifos isn’t registered or used on the crop, in March the National Potato […]

Bipartisan Ag Labor Reform Complicated by Reconciliation

Efforts to resolve the agricultural labor crisis have been complicated by the partisan Reconciliation Bill that kicked off last week. Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Mike Crapo have been working on a bipartisan basis to improve on the House-passed Farm Workforce Modernization Act.  That bill was approved by nearly every Democrat in the House and 30 […]

USTR’s Tai Presses Mexico on Potato Access

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai met with Mexican officials in late July to discuss trade frictions between the two countries, including ag-related challenges. In a readout after the meeting, USTR reported that Ambassador Tai pressed her counterpart for an update on the country’s progress on increasing access for U.S. fresh potatoes. In response to the […]

Maine Potato Board Hiring

Agricultural Engineer Technician Introduction: The Agricultural Engineer Technician is responsible for carrying out the duties as outlined by the Executive Director, under the direction of the Maine Potato Board.  The position reports directly to the Agricultural Engineer of the Maine Potato Board. Duties: The duties of the Agricultural Engineer Technician are, but not limited to, […]

Senate Passes Infrastructure and Begins Reconciliation

Earlier this month, the Senate took two major steps forward on the Biden Administration’s priorities for economic recovery in the wake of the pandemic. The bipartisan Infrastructure Bill includes $550 billion in new spending for roads, rails, bridges, commercial seaports, waterways and water infrastructure. It was passed 69-30 by the Senate and now faces an uncertain schedule […]

SNAP Benefits Increased Substantially

Last month the Biden Administration increased the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) payments by 27% over pre-pandemic levels. This increase was in response to the upcoming expiration of a 15% increase in SNAP (formerly called the “food stamp program”) benefits that was made by Congress last year in response to COVID.  That prior plus-up was due […]

2021 Annual Meeting Held

The Maine Potato Board held its annual meeting in late July. Guests enjoyed the “meet and greet” opportunity to spend time with industry colleagues.  One of the highlights of the meeting is always the presentation of the outgoing president’s President’s Award. Due to Covid-19, no annual meeting was held in 2019, so outgoing 2019 board […]

NPC 2021 Annual Potato Yearbook Released

The 2021 edition of the Annual Potato Yearbook was released this week highlighting progress on NPC’s national legislative, regulatory, and marketing priorities, in addition its work to deliver more than $350 million in federal government support to the potato industry since the start of the pandemic. The Yearbook also features updated U.S. and world potato […]

Biden Administration to Reverse Trump’s Definition of WOTUS

On June 9, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of the Army announced their intent to revise the definition of “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) after concluding the Trump Administration’s rule is causing “significant environmental degradation,” according to EPA Administrator Michael Regan. In a press release, the Biden Administration said the definition was […]

Maine Potato Board Seeking Agricultural Engineer Technician

Introduction: The Agricultural Engineer Technician is responsible for carrying out the duties as outlined by the Executive Director, under the direction of the Maine Potato Board.  The position reports directly to the Agricultural Engineer of the Maine Potato Board. Duties: The duties of the Agricultural Engineer Technician are, but not limited to, the following:   […]

Potato Industry Priorities Included in Ag Appropriations Bill

Last week, the House Appropriations Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Subcommittee marked up its Fiscal Year 2022 funding bill that included two priority issues for NPC and the U.S. potato industry: SCRI funding and a prohibition on excluding potatoes from the federal school breakfast program. Since the 2018 Farm Bill […]

Register Now for NPC’s Virtual Summer Meeting

Please join us for our virtual 2021 Summer Meeting Virtual committee and board meetings, July 26-28. All Board of Directors and committee members are strongly encouraged to participate as we work to achieve our mission of Standing Up for Potatoes on Capitol Hill.  Schedule of Events Monday, July 26 11:00am-12:00pm ET – Finance Committee Meeting […]

Senate Passes NPC-backed Climate Bill

On Thursday, June 24, the Senate passed the S. 1251, the Growing Climate Solutions Act (GCSA), by a vote of 92-8. The bipartisan legislation reduces technical entry barriers for producers and forest owners interested in participating in voluntary carbon markets. The bill will now head to the House. “As stewards of the land and our […]

Upcoming Vilsack-Villalobos Meeting to Include Potato Discussion

It was reported last week that Mexican Agriculture Secretary Víctor Villalobos Arámbula is expected to travel to Washington, D.C. in early August to meet with his American counterpart, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. The meeting is expected to include a discussion of the decades-long issue concerning Mexico’s ban on the full importation of fresh U.S. potatoes. […]

Spore Trapping Program Underway

The spore trapping program for the 2021 growing season is underway.  Spore collections began in Maine on Monday, June 21 and will continue for the next 9 weeks. The reports will be emailed to growers via the Maine Potato Board mailing list.  If anyone would like to sign up to receive the weekly updates, please email […]

Senator Collins Urges Agriculture Secretary to Reconsider Proposed Cut to Potato Research Funding

As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Collins pledged to work to preserve this critical funding that supports Maine potato farmers At a recent Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee hearing, U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) questioned U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack on why the department’s proposed Fiscal Year 2022 budget has eliminated […]

The Potato is Back!

Men’s Health published an 8-page feature spread on the nutritional value – and delicious taste – of potatoes in its recent May issue.* The article addresses long-standing myths and misinformation that potatoes are anything but a nutrient-dense vegetable and good carb.  The authors state, “One medium-sized baked potato delivers six grams of protein and four grams […]

NPC, Ag Groups Promote Farm-Friendly Tax Provisions

Prior to a House Ways and Means Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee hearing that took place last week, NPC joined a group of 40 national agriculture organizations on a letter to House and Senate leadership outlining the industry’s position on tax provisions under consideration that could put family farms in jeopardy. The group writes, “As Congress […]

New Podcast: Good Leaders Never Stop Learning

The Leadership Institute Alumni Summit, July 13-15, will bring together Potato Industry Leadership Institute graduates to network, refresh skills, and learn new techniques to better position themselves for success in the potato industry. Two of the three sessions will be led by Laurie Richards – a familiar face to Institute grads – as she has […]

Coalition Urges Continued Availability of Pesticides to Combat Climate Change

On last Thursday, NPC joined a broad group of stakeholders with a strong interest in continued access to safe, affordable, effective pesticide products on a letter to USDA urging the department to consider the value of pesticides as a tool to combat climate change. While many conservation practices support efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, […]

Potatoes USA Appoints 2021-2022 Research Committee Co-Chairs

Jennifer Gogan of Houlton, Maine, and Jared Smith of Alamosa, Colorado, were elected to the Potatoes USA Executive Committee as Research Committee Co-Chairs at the organization’s Annual Meeting. This is Gogan’s second year on the board and her first year on the Executive Committee. Smith is serving his fourth year on the board and his […]

Members of Congress Urge Tai to Consider Joining New TPP

Earlier this month, a bipartisan group of House and Senate members wrote to U.S. Trade Representative Tai urging her to “consider the merits and demerits of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which was signed by the 11 other TPP countries in 2018 without the United States.” The group argued that that […]

The New Normal for Potatoes

In the midst of a year full of change, understanding shopping habits for all potato categories at retail is critical. Potatoes USA, in partnership with Kantar Insights Consulting, conducted a Total Store study that identified opportunities for potatoes across the whole store, including the perimeter and the center of the store. In 2020, sales in […]

What’s New On the Table? Loaded Fries!!

According to Datassential, loaded fries have seen a 54% growth on menus over the past four years and a 15% growth in the past year. Although consumers have been cooking at home more since the start of the pandemic, fries remain an away-from-home treat as consumers rely on restaurants to make fries for them. To […]

NPC Voices Opposition to Truck-only Vehicle Miles Tax

In a letter issued earlier this month to Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID), NPC joined dozens of national and regional agricultural organizations to offer its support of broad-based funding mechanisms in future transportation reauthorization bills. “Large volumes of commodities and agricultural products are transported from mostly rural […]

NPC Calls for COVID Mitigation Funding

On March 31, NPC joined national and local agriculture organizations on a letter to USDA Secretary Vilsack advocating for additional support for food and agricultural businesses as they continue to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. In the letter, the group strongly encourages USDA to consider standing up and funding the following recommended priority areas: COVID […]

U.S. Potato Industry Raises Questions About Lifting Suspension of Imports from PEI

NPC and 13 state potato organizations sent a letter this week to USDA Deputy Secretary Osama El-Lissy thanking him and the staff at USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service for their rapid efforts to address the detection by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) of the virulent potato wart disease (Synchytrium endobioticum) in two […]

NPC Blasts Obvious Political Interference in Mexico Potato Suits

Last week, Mexico’s Supreme Court was scheduled to finally rule on a set of cases that could allow for the full importation of fresh U.S. potatoes; however, the court once again postponed deliberations on the appeals. While the delay itself is nothing new, the inaction came on the heels of a request issued by the […]

Directors Award Grants

At the March MPB meeting, directors awarded a total of $107, 258 in research grants.   Back to Newsletter Articles

Position Posted

The MPB is seeking an agricultural engineer technician. That position is responsible for carrying out the duties as outlined by the executive director, under the direction of the Maine Potato Board members. The position reports directly to the Maine Potato Board’s agricultural engineer.  Duties:  The duties of the Agricultural Engineer Technician are, but not limited to, the […]

Dominic LaJoie Elected NPC President

Courtesy St. John Valley Times Growing up on his father’s potato farm in Cyr Plantation, Dominic LaJoie said he never could have imagined the size his family’s company, LaJoie Growers LLC, would reach. He also never planned on getting into politics.  Nonetheless, the National Potato Council elected LaJoie, a fourth-generation St. John Valley potato farmer, […]

2020 Celebrated Record Sales for Potatoes at Retail

Total potato sales at retail were at five-year record highs for both dollar and volume sales in 2020. Dollar sales increased by 16% compared to 2019 and all categories, except deli-prepared sides, grew by double-digit dollar sales. Dehydrated potatoes recorded the highest sales increases in dollars by 30% and volume sales by 25%. Canned and […]

NPC, Agriculture Industry Groups Raise Alarm on U.S.-Mexico Trade Relationship

Deteriorating relationship impacting competitiveness of U.S. agriculture The National Potato Council and 26 leading food and agriculture associations sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai on March 23 communicating growing concerns over the rapid deterioration of the U.S.-Mexico trade relationship. The letter calls attention to alarming recent developments […]

Senators Bennet and Crapo Maintain Momentum on Ag Labor Reform

Moments after the House action on the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) released a joint statement announcing they will introduce companion legislation in the U.S. Senate. “We applaud our colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives — on both sides of the aisle — for their work on […]

2020 Post Harvest Testing Completed

Andrew Plant has shared final results. The Maine Seed Potato Certification’s 2020 Post Harvest Test was completed in January.  This marks the third crop in which the test was completed entirely in its Disease Testing Laboratory.  In the laboratory, ELISA is used to serologically test sprout sap to provide infection level estimates for PVY and […]

Evolutions in Potato Breeding

The “art” of plant breeding is ancient. For ages, humankind has sown seeds collected from favored plants, slowly but surely evolving more nutritious, higher-yielding crops. Breeders, such as Luther Burbank, were quite effective in operating within this intuitive world of breeding.   Genetic “science” and the understanding of the transmission of traits is relatively new. Gregor […]

U.S. Potato Exports See Recovery

U.S. potato exports continue to recover but remain behind previous year levels.  Exports for the first six months of the marketing year, July – December 2020, are behind the record levels set in 2019. However, exports for October, November, and December are far less distressed than they were in the July – September period. Frozen […]

Food, Ag, and Rural Aid Included in Latest COVID-19 Relief Bill

After seven hours of deliberation on last Wednesday, the House Agriculture Committee finished marking up the agriculture and nutrition title of the COVID-19 relief bill making its way through Congress. The Committee reported favorably – by a 25-23 vote – to the House Budget Committee its 17-page bill.   Provisions in the package, among other items, include:   Grants and loans to purchase personal protective equipment, […]

NPC Urges Mexico Court to Overturn Ban on US Fresh Potato Imports

Majority of five-member panel must agree during February 24 hearing  WASHINGTON – On Wednesday, February 17, 2021, the Mexican Supreme Court released a draft ruling that would overturn a 2017 lower court decision preventing the Mexican federal government from implementing regulations to allow for the importation of fresh U.S. potatoes throughout the country. The case […]

Can People with Diabetes Eat Potatoes?

People with diabetes have long been told to avoid potatoes because of their high glycemic index (GI) value, however, scientific evidence is building that counters this notion and supports the inclusion of potatoes in a diabetic-friendly diet. New research provides even further insight: a first of its kind study, funded by the Alliance for Potato Research […]

Position Open at Maine Potato Board

The Maine Potato Board has a position open for an agricultural engineer technician.  Agricultural Engineer Technician Introduction: The Agricultural Engineer Technician is responsible for carrying out the duties as outlined by the Executive Director, under the direction of the Maine Potato Board.  The position reports directly to the Agricultural Engineer of the Maine Potato Board.  […]

October – December retail potato sales show continued growth

Record potato retail sales continued from October to December 2020, the second quarter of Potatoes USA’s marketing year 2021.  All three months saw an increase in both dollar and volume sales, with the largest growth in December. Total store potato sales grew 9.3% in volume and 12.3% in value. Prices also increased for consumers by […]

President Signs COVID Relief and Funding Package

After days of uncertainty and threatening a veto, President Trump on Sunday, January 3 signed a year-end government spending bill, which included an additional $900 billion in COVID-19 relief. The package, supported by NPC, includes the Fiscal Year 2021 agriculture appropriations provisions as well as agriculture and nutrition program funding as part of the COVID relief […]

USDA Announces Additional $1.5 Billion in Food Box Purchases

USDA Secretary Perdue announced January 4 that the department will move forward with an additional $1.5 billion worth of food purchases as part of the Farmers to Families Food Box Program. Funding for this fifth round of the program was included in the COVID-19 relief package supported by NPC, which was passed and signed into […]

New Institute Alumni Summit Announced at Potato Expo

As part of the Potato Expo preview day, Potato LEAF announced the creation of a new program designed to support graduates of its Potato Industry Leadership Institute. The Institute Alumni Summit, open to past graduates of the Institute, will take place virtually, July 13-15, 2021. Over the three days, the Summit will provide alumni with engaging […]

NPC Applauds Dietary Guidelines for Americans’ Call for Increased Vegetable Consumption

Last week, USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services released the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which recommends the increased consumption of vegetables for all age groups. The National Potato Council welcomed the recommendations, which support the importance of including nutrient-rich vegetables, including potatoes, in all diets.  “We’re pleased the latest DGA is […]

Virtual Potato Expo 2021 Brings Industry Together Over Potatoes

From January 5-7, more than 1,000 U.S. and international potato industry members joined the first-ever virtual Potato Expo. The annual event that kicks off the year for the industry, was brought online for the first time in response to the travel challenges imposed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Despite the challenges, growers and supply chain […]

NPC Responds to Capitol Hill Violence

While this year’s Potato Expo provided the industry a forum for unity and celebration, we at NPC would be remiss if we were not to begin without addressing the actions that caused our office to be evacuated on Wednesday, January 6, afternoon. On January 6, the nation experienced a day impaired by turmoil as Congress […]

Potato Marketing Improvement Fund

At the January meeting, MPB Executive Director Don Flannery shared an overview of the annual PMIF report which is sent to Governor Janet Mills and ACF Commissioner Amanda Beal. From the time of initial authorization in 1981 through the 2019 fiscal year, the Maine  Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and the Maine Potato Board […]

Get Your First Potato Expo 2021 Sneak Peek

The Potato Expo 2021 will be complete with all of the incredible content you have come to expect at the potato industry event of the year! Speakers and sessions are coming together and being posted to potato-expo.com, so check back often.  Here’s a sneak peek at what’s in store for the Breakout Sessions at this year’s […]

DOT Clarifies Hours of Service Rules for Non-Processed Food

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published an interim final rule last week clarifying the definition of “agricultural commodity” for the purposes of the FMCSA’s “Hours of Service” regulations. The Nov. 24 interim final rule, effective Dec. 9, clarifies the terms “agricultural commodity,” “livestock,” and “non-processed food” to ensure that the Hours of Service […]

NPC Urges Congress to Correct Unexpected PPP Tax Burden in Lame Duck

NPC joined 564 national and regional business groups on Thursday calling for Congress to enact legislation before the end of the year that corrects the tax treatment of loan forgiveness under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).  In a letter to Congressional leadership, the group writes, “At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress responded with speed, cooperation, and […]

NPC Welcomes New House Agriculture Committee Leadership

Last week, NPC welcomed the selections of U.S. Rep. David Scott (GA-13) as the next Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee and Rep. Glenn ‘G.T.’ Thompson (PA-15) as Ranking Member.  “Throughout his tenure on the Agriculture Committee, Chairman-elect Scott has been a tireless advocate for our food-insecure citizens. Potato growers look forward to working with him on […]

The Founding of Aroostook Farm

Experiential farming at its best The December issue of Discover Maine magazine focuses on Aroostook and Northern Penobscot Counties. There is a great article by Charles Francis giving the reader a look at the founding of Aroostook Farm.  The article is reprinted in the MPB newsletter by permission.  Maine is an agricultural state. The first […]

Tom Vilsack to Return

NPC Statement on the Nomination of Tom Vilsack as USDA Secretary Potato industry looks forward to a productive relationship with returning Secretary  On December 11, National Potato Council CEO Kam Quarles issued the following statement congratulating Secretary Tom Vilsack on his nomination by President-elect Biden to return to his role as Secretary of the U.S. […]

Register for Potato LEAF “Giving Tuesday” Trivia Event

In celebration of “Giving Tuesday” – the annual global event that encourages people and organizations to help transform their communities and the world through the power of collective giving – we are proud to announce the inaugural Potato LEAF Trivia Event and fundraiser!      Please help us promote among the potato industry in Maine as an […]

Potato Expo 2021 Goes 100% Virtual

In light of on-going developments with COVID-19 and after thoughtful discussions with the Executive Committee and supporting companies, and through feedback via attendee surveys, NPC has decided to hold the Potato Expo 2021 as a Virtual Experience, held exclusively online. The show will take place on Tues., Jan. 5 through Thurs., Jan. 7, 2021. We believe this is the safest […]

Politico Reports on Ongoing Fresh Access Dispute with Mexico

The D.C.-based news outlet Politico featured a detailed report earlier this month on the ongoing challenges with gaining full access to the Mexican market for fresh U.S. potatoes. Politico writes (subscription required) that the failed deal with Mexico has cost the U.S. potato industry “tens of millions in lost sales, while Mexican avocados flooded the U.S. market with […]

Election Update: Presidential Transition

Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), who currently Chairs the House Agriculture Nutrition, Oversight and Department Operations Subcommittee, indicated this week she would be open to serving as Secretary of Agriculture in the Biden Administration. A Rep. Fudge spokeswoman said, “Congresswoman Fudge, if asked, would be honored to serve as Secretary of Agriculture in the Biden Administration.” […]

NPC Launches New Website Highlighting Industry Members and Priorities

NPC has released its new website at nationalpotatocouncil.org to better support its mission of “Standing Up for Potatoes on Capitol Hill.”  “This new website is an essential piece of our communications strategy. NPC Communications Director Mark Szymanski spent many hours overseeing our development team and providing input and direction in order to deliver an entirely new look that […]

Supporting Maine’s Farmers and Growing our Agricultural Economy

By: Sen. Susan M. Collins Having been born and raised in Aroostook County, I know how essential agriculture is to our state’s economy and our way of life.  Supporting Maine’s dairy, potato, and special crop industries—such as our wild blueberry growers—has always been one of my top priorities in the Senate. The Maine Farm Bureau […]

Potato LEAF, National Potato Council Announce Program Changes for 2021

The Potato Leadership, Education, and Advancement Foundation (Potato LEAF) Board of Directors announced on November 13 it has decided not to conduct a Potato Industry Leadership Institute class for 2021 given the health and logistical challenges surrounding COVID-19.   The 2021 class was originally scheduled to meet February 17-25, 2021 in Bakersfield, California, and Washington, D.C. A virtual program […]

More than $7 Billion Paid in Second Round of USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that in the first month of the application period, the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) approved more than $7 billion in payments to producers in the second round of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. CFAP 2 provides agricultural producers with financial assistance to help absorb some of […]

Support Potato LEAF When You Buy Through Amazon

Now, there are two ways you can support Potato LEAF and the future leaders of our industry. As always, you can make an end-of-year tax-deductible donation as an individual and/or business at pleaf.org. Second, you can make Potato LEAF your charity of choice on AmazonSmile. Then when your family or business makes an eligible purchase through […]

Letter from the Commissioner

Dear Friends: From shifting to online sales to going virtual for Open Farm Day, and from adjusting to socially distanced farmers’ markets to embracing new guidance for U-Pick operations, this has been a year of firsts for Maine agriculture. Farmers are adapting and meeting the challenges presented by the pandemic, and we anticipate that more […]

September 30 Deadline to Update Safety-Net Program Crop Yields

WASHINGTON, Sept. 8, 2020 – USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds farm owners that they have a one-time opportunity to update Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program yields for covered commodities on the farm. The deadline is September 30, 2020, to update yields, which are used to calculate the PLC payments for 2020 through 2023. Additionally, […]

NPC Concerns Over DOL Decisions May Impact the Viability of H-2A

On Thursday, September 3,  NPC and the members of the Agriculture Workforce Coalition wrote to U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Scalia requesting a review of the department’s recent decisions and policy interpretations that limit the viability of the H-2A program.   The group noted a number of recent decisions by the Department’s H-2A Certifying Officers, […]

NPC Calls on Congress to Restore PPP’s Tax-free Loan Forgiveness

In early September, NPC joined 171 business organizations in calling on Congress to reaffirm its original intent of loan forgiveness under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to be tax-free.   The groups write: “When the PPP was adopted as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act, Congress made clear that any […]

Administration Plans To Address Mexican Produce Dumping Concerns

On September 1,  the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), Department of Commerce, and USDA released a report detailing the Trump Administration’s plan to address concerns over Mexican exports of seasonal and perishable fruits and vegetables to the United States. The report’s release comes after the three departments held a pair of virtual public hearings […]

Secretary Perdue Says CFAP-2 Is Coming

USDA Secretary Perdue indicated on September 3 that the Department was preparing a new round of Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) funding.    Secretary Perdue said the department would announce the rules for the second round of payments next week but was clear that that losses by producers after April 15 (the current cut-off date […]

Retail Potato Sales See 32% Increase

Retail potato sales are soaring, increasing 31% in dollar sales and 32% in volume sales between March 16, 2020 and June 14, 2020, according to IRI. All potato categories across the retail store, except deli-prepared sides, increased in dollar and volume sales. The majority of potato categories saw double-digit growth in both dollar sales and […]

COVID Aid Efforts Suffer Setback in Senate

After a week of inter-party wrangling over details, Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) indicated Thursday that the Senate Republicans’ COVID-19 relief proposal will likely be introduced on Monday. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of staff Mark Meadows spent the week negotiating the package with Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY) and other Senate Republicans. The White House and Senate […]

NPC Hosts Virtual Agency Tour

Participants from EPA, USDA, and throughout the potato industry were provided information on pest management related to growing seed and in the pre-plant, planting, in the field, and post-harvest stages. Presenters included growers, extension educators, and researchers from across the country on weeds, bacteria, nematodes, fungi, and insects.   The annual tour was scheduled for the San Luis Valley this […]

House Expected to Pass FY21 Spending Bill

Late last week, the House began consideration of the first FY21 spending minibus, H.R. 7608, which contains the Agriculture-Rural Development-FDA, Interior-Environment, State-Foreign Operations, and Military-Construction bills. The chamber debated and passed by voice vote the ag spending measure, which included a number of amendments. The full appropriations package is expected to pass later in the month.  The approved measure retained $2.75 million for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) […]

Farm Service Agency County Committee Nominations Open June 15

WASHINGTON, June 10, 2020 – USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will begin accepting nominations for county committee members on Monday, June 15, 2020. Elections will occur in certain Local Administrative Areas (LAA) for these members who make important decisions about how federal farm programs are administered locally. All nomination forms for the 2020 election must […]

“State of the Industry” Meeting to be Broadcast on Facebook Live

The 2020 NPC Summer Meeting will be held as a one day, virtual event on June 25. Summer Meeting VIRTUAL is a free event for all members of the potato industry. But, you MUST PRE-REGISTER to attend. Join from anywhere to connect with the industry, get updates on key issues and to be a part of the conversation.  For more […]

NPC, State Potato Organizations Call for HOS Bill Supporters

In a letter encouraging members of Congress to join on as cosponsors of the legislation, the group notes that “Federal law currently provides an exemption from federal hours-of-service rules for the transportation of agricultural commodities within a 150 air-mile radius from the source of the commodities, during planting and harvesting periods, as determined by the […]

Specialty Crop Producers Underrepresented in CFAP Relief Payouts

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Reps. Jim Costa (D-Calif.), Stacey Plaskett (D-Virgin Islands), and Filemon Vela (D-Texas) wrote to Secretary Perdue this week expressing their concerns with USDA’s design and implementation of the program, noting the challenges faced by specialty crop producers in participating. Among the issues outlined in the letter, they write that […]

Potato Sales, At Retail, See An Increase In Volume

Fresh, frozen, dehydrated, and canned potatoes saw double-digit increases in both dollar and volume sales. Dehydrated potatoes had the largest increase in dollar and volume sales as dollar sales increased by 22% and volume sales increased by 15.2%. Many retailers removed parts of their deli-prepared sections since the beginning of March, contributing to the 4.7% […]

Outlook brighter for Maine’s Potato Industry

By David Marino Jr., The Star-Herald • June 8, 2020           Reprinted by permission Rather than going unsold, many more potatoes from the 2019 crop will end up on plates and trays across the country as restaurant-ready items such as french fries and mashed potatoes. Two months ago, many farmers were left with few […]

NPC Cautions USDA Against Potential Potato Import Surges

The letter states, “As we push toward reopening the economy, it is extremely likely that these surges will become even more intense. For example, prior to the food service shutdown, exports of European fries to the U.S. in the first two months of the year went from $9 million in 2019 to $20 million in […]