U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement Benefits Potato Industry

The United States reached a trade deal with Japan in late September which includes tariff reductions for U.S. potatoes and other agriculture exports. Details of the tariff concessions were released on Monday, October 7 and are expected to go into effect as early as January 1, 2020, though implementation details have not been released. Importantly, […]

Clock Ticking on House to Pass USMCA

Time is running out on the House of Representatives to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) Agreement. USMCA was negotiated to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and is the first trade agreement to be completed by the Administration. Passing it will be a strong sign that Congress and the White House can accomplish major […]

Zillman Family Greenhouse Officially Open

The University of Maine at Presque Isle marked the completion of its state-of-the-art, four-season Zillman Family Greenhouse with an official opening and dedication ceremony on Friday, Sept. 27. Work and learning in the new $935,000, 2,400-square-foot structure—which features a teaching classroom, two climate-controlled research labs, and a faculty office for the Dr. Robert Vinton Akeley […]

China Threatens New Potato Tariffs

In late August, China responded to prior U.S. tariff threats by releasing a new list of targeted American products. Among them were new tariffs on potatoes and potato products. “We have been urging all sides to come to the negotiating table rather than continue ratcheting up the pressure. A reasonable agreement can be achieved, but […]

Mainers Invited to Dispose of Unusable Pesticides

Free disposal with pre-registration by October 7 This October, Mainers can dispose of unusable and waste pesticides thanks to a project sponsored by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s (DACF) Board of Pesticides Control (BPC) and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The Obsolete Pesticides Collection Program, funded through pesticide product registration […]

Update from Maine Potato Board Agronomy

–Jake Dwyer Spore Trapping The spore trapping program is still ongoing and will conclude on September 23.  To date, no late blight spores have been detected from the 30 collection sites in Maine and New Brunswick.  Early blight spores have been detected throughout the season across the entire region with the highest counts detected earlier […]

Important Memo From Testing Lab

–Andrew Plant For growers wanting voluntary post-harvest testing for Blackleg or Bacterial Ring Rot, the lab will begin accepting samples directly at the lab beginning on September 16, 2019.  We strongly urge growers to have all samples into the lab by October 18, 2019.  The lab cannot guarantee testing results will be delivered prior to […]

Lajoie Farms Receives Champion Grower Nod

McCain Foods recognized its Top 10 Potato Growers Aug. 21 at its annual grower banquet at the Stone Ridge Event Center in Presque Isle. Over 300 guests were invited to celebrate the 2018 growing season and recognize the growers and their achievements. Champion Grower selection is based on the highest standing quality of the following […]

Congrats and THANK YOU!

Congratulations again to the D C Farms family of Mapleton, the Chandlers, who were recognized as the 2019 Farm Family of the Year at the MPB annual meeting held in July. Congratulations as well to Curtis Harrison, who was recognized as the 2019 Young Farmer of the Year. Both recognitions are well deserved, and we […]

Update from Maine Potato Board Agronomy

Spore Trapping The Maine Potato Board and McCain Foods have contracted the AIR Company of Quebec to provide spore trapping and reporting services across several sites in Aroostook County.  There are also several sites located in New Brunswick and Maine growers will receive the results from these locations as well. The sampling began on June […]

Moss Joins President Trump at Ag Trade Meeting

At the end of May, former NPC President Dan Moss joined President Trump at the White House for an ag trade meeting where new support was announced for producers impacted by retaliatory tariffs in China. “It was an honor to be included in this event at the White House,” Moss said. “The success of the […]

Potato Breakfast Provision Included in FY20 Ag Bill

At the end of May, the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee included a provision in their FY20 bill that prohibits USDA from excluding or limiting potato access to the school breakfast program. This provision seeks to resolve one of the last holdover issues from the Obama Administration that unfairly impacted potatoes. “We sincerely appreciate the bipartisan […]

Managing Potato Virus Y (PVY) in Potatoes

-Andrew Plant, Plant Pathologist, Maine Potato Board Potato Virus Y (PVY) is a pathogenic virus of potatoes.  Arguably, it is the single most important virus the potato industry (worldwide) deals with.  PVY affects not only crop yields, but tuber quality as well.  PVY can be spread and disseminated by infected seed, aphid vectoring, and by […]

NPC Files Comments on Pymetrozine

Last week the NPC filed comments with EPA that took issue with various provisions of a recent interim decision on pymetrozine. This decision could greatly limit the use of the product on potatoes. Specifically, NPC took issue with flaws in the risk modeling used by EPA to make their decision. “If acted upon to reduce […]

UMPI Hosts Groundbreaking for Ag Science Teaching and Research Greenhouse

State-of-the-art greenhouse to provide year-round research opportunities and support for the region’s agricultural industry; Maine Potato Board a partner in fund raising. The University of Maine at Presque Isle celebrated the forthcoming construction of its state-of-the art, four-season teaching and research greenhouse with a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, April 25. The greenhouse—a $935,000, 2,400-square-foot structure […]

USDA Reopens Continuous CRP Signup

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will accept applications beginning June 3, 2019, for certain practices under the continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) signup and will offer extensions for expiring CRP contracts. The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized CRP, one of the country’s largest conservation programs. FSA stopped accepting applications last fall for the continuous CRP signup […]

National Potato Council Announces New Executive Team

On April 5, the National Potato Council (NPC) announced a new executive team. Kam Quarles, the current Vice President of Public Policy and Communications for the NPC, will become the new Chief Executive Officer of the organization. Mike Wenkel, the current Executive Director of the Michigan Potato Industry Commission, will step into the newly-created role […]

‘Precision Ag’ is Future of Maine Farms and Rural Communities

Technology provides great hope and opportunity for farmers everywhere. It hinges on reliable broadband service and cell phone coverage, which can be a problem. Reprinted by permission of Maine Town & City March 2019, by Janet Pineo One of the newest inventions has the power to transform one of the oldest ones, once the federal […]

Tick Aware and Tick Alert

Warmer weather is on its way, which means that everyone needs to be doing their part to help prevent tickborne diseases. Providers reported over 1,400 cases of Lyme disease in 2018 (preliminary data as of 3/25/19). May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month each year in Maine—the perfect time to remind everyone to be “Tick Aware […]

Census of Agriculture 2017 Numbers Released

Last week, the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the 2017 Census of Agriculture. The Census is conducted every five years, and provides national, state, and county-level data that informs many federal farm programs, policies, and funding decisions. Maine’s Census Report contains some very alarming facts about the loss of farmland and farms. […]

Infrastructure Hearings Begin

The Senate Commerce Committee has begun hearings on infrastructure. Representatives from the rail, trucking and port industries, as well as a labor union leader, all reiterated their support for a gas tax increase. A substantial part of U.S. federal highway funding currently comes from the federal gas tax which is 18.4 cents on gasoline and […]

WOTUS Replacement Released

The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) replacement proposed rule was published in the Federal Register at the end of February. The public comment period is 60 days. This action is another step in the rulemaking process that was mandated by an earlier federal court decision that blocked the Administration’s outright repeal […]

Potato Provisions Included In Spending Bill

Recently, the President signed a final year-end spending bill that removes fears over another government shutdown.  Contained within the bill are key potato provisions that have been in play throughout 2018 and into the new year as the shutdown drama played out. “We are very pleased that both the school breakfast amendment and the potato […]

Lighthizer Pushes USMCA on Capital Hill

This week, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer met with the House Democratic Caucus in an effort to gain the necessary votes to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). After the meeting, it was reported that caucus members expressed a desire for Mexico to change its labor laws in advance of the implementation of the agreement.  Among the desired […]

President’s Budget Recommends Ag Cuts

This week, the White House released its recommended Fiscal Year 2020 budget.  The non-binding document suggested $8.9 billion in cuts to USDA’s conservation programs and a $28 billion reduction in crop insurance. As with all President’s budgets, the document is considered “dead on arrival” on Capitol Hill.  Asked about its actual impact, Senate Agriculture Committee […]

FDA Extends FSMA Ag Water Compliance Dates

On March 14, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a final rule that formally extends the compliance dates for the agricultural water provisions of the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA).  Larger farms are now required to comply by January 2022, while small farms have until January 2023 and very small farms until January 2024.   From the […]

MPB Farmer / Farm Family of the Year

The Maine Potato Board is looking for nominations within the Maine potato industry for the 2019 Farmer/ Farm Family of the Year award. The farmer / farm family will be selected on the following basis: *Over 40 years of age *Outstanding farming practices *Growth and advancement in farming operation, to include a willingness to try […]

Senator Collins Meets with Maine Potato Board

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins met with several members of the Maine Potato Board (MPB) in her Washington, D.C., office who were visiting our nation’s capital for the National Potato Council Fly-In annual meeting.  Senator Collins delivered remarks at the annual meeting to farmers from a range of potato-growing states. “I was delighted […]

NPC Comments on HHS Healthy People 2030

Feb. 15, 2019 – On January 17, NPC filed comments with the Department of Health and Human Services regarding its Healthy People 2030 process.  NPC focused its comments on ensuring that science is utilized to make recommendations about the food that is encouraged for consumption, instead of methods lacking in empirical rigor.   “NPC has a concern that […]

NPC Resumes Ag Labor Efforts

Feb. 15, 2019 – NPC has resumed its work with other major agricultural associations in pushing Congress and the Administration for agricultural labor reform.  There have been signals from Congressional negotiators that they may attempt to address some of the immigration crisis as part of three-week talks aimed at averting another government shutdown. “We are long-time […]

NPC Joins Letter Urging End to Trade Dispute

Feb. 15, 2019 – Recently, NPC joined a letter with 45 other affected industry associations urging an immediate end to the trade dispute with Mexico and Canada that has occurred as a result of U.S. “232” tariffs placed on steel and aluminum. “For many farmers, ranchers and manufacturers, the damage from the reciprocal trade actions in the steel […]

Farmworker and WOTUS Repeal Bills Introduced

Feb. 15, 2019 – Late January saw the introduction of separate bills designed to legalize the current improperly-documented agricultural workforce and also to repeal the Waters of the U.S. rule. The “Agricultural Worker Program Act” would allow farmworkers to earn a “blue card” that provides legal status while they work in agriculture.  Among the initial requirements, […]

Maine legislators promote potato industry in U.S. trade with China

Feb. 15, 2019 – Maine legislators have joined this bipartisan group, asking that the U.S. potato industry be considered in trade negotiations with China. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden signed a letter to the Trump administration, asking that the U.S. potato industry be a priority in discussions about […]

Congress Wants Potatoes in China Talks

Feb. 15, 2019 – Last week, fourteen Senators and twenty five House members joined together on a bicameral letter to the Administration urging that U.S. potatoes be included in any trade negotiations with China. “If access to China’s fresh potato market is granted to the United States, it is estimated that China could become a top five market […]

Congratulations…

Feb. 15, 2019 – Congratulations to the Gerritsen family and their Wood Prairie Family Farm! They received national recognition in January as they were awarded the 2019 “Green Thumb Award” for  introducing America’s top 2019 edible plant. The nationally-recognized organic seed farm was awarded a 2019 DGA Green Thumb Award for The Wood Prairie Organic Colossal Potato Collection, judged […]