February 2021 Badger Common'Tater

Page 1

$22/year | $2/copy | Volume 73 No. 02 | FEBRUARY 2021



Dvorachek Farm & Industry of Brillion, Wisconsin, shared the image of debris being cleared from a field using a John Deere 323E Compact Track Loader, available from Riesterer & Schnell.


STEVE BOEHM Riesterer & Schnell



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The scientific explanation. Calcium is a required element for tuber development. A calcium deficiency in plants results in dividing cells being unable to stay bound together. This causes poor quality potatoes such as reduced size, growth cracks and hollow heart.

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On the Cover: As dawn broke in brilliant hues of orange, purple and blue, Dvorachek Farm & Industry, LLC, an agricultural service in Calumet County, Wisconsin, could be found clearing plant debris from a field. Models like the John Deere 323E Compact Track Loader being employed in the front cover image, minus the dirt and mud, are available from Riesterer & Schnell.


Riesterer & Schnell, Inc. Corporate Sales Manager Steve Boehm, center, celebrates Halloween with Koy and Kyan, sons of Lee and Katie Van Der Geest of Van Der Geest Dairy, Wausau, Wisconsin. The Van Der Geests are longtime customers and friends of Boehm. When Riesterer & Schnell started out as a small family business, it had strong roots in the community. Boehm says the business remains not only about customer service, but in always striving to be the best.

DEPARTMENTS: AUXILIARY NEWS............... 63 BADGER BEAT.................... 64 MARK YOUR CALENDAR...... 6


Breeders seek desirable traits in potato germplasm


Fresh Wisconsin potato sales beat expectations in Chicago Jewel Osco stores


Enjoy Pulled Pork Potato Latkes with Apple Chutney & Horseradish Sour Cream

FEATURE ARTICLES: 16 WPVGA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR proudly works for farmers, producers and suppliers

NEW PRODUCTS................ 58 NOW NEWS....................... 38 NPC NEWS......................... 49 PEOPLE.............................. 46 PLANTING IDEAS.................. 6

24 VIRTUAL POTATO EXPO 2021 presented insight, innovation, technology & trends


60 WORLDWIDE POTATO DIPLOID breeding project benefits growers and consumers

WPIB FOCUS...................... 50


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Seed Potatoes Certified and Foundation WHITES

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• Dark Red Norland • Red Prairie

Call Mike Shafel

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WPVGA Board of Directors: President: Rod Gumz Vice President: Bill Guenthner Secretary: Wes Meddaugh Treasurer: Mike Carter Directors: John Bustamante, Randy Fleishauer, Dan Kakes, Charlie Mattek & Alex Okray Wisconsin Potato Industry Board: President: Heidi Alsum-Randall Vice President: Richard Okray Secretary: Bill Wysocki Treasurer: Keith Wolter Directors: John Bobek, Andy Diercks, Cliff Gagas, John T. Schroeder & Tom Wild WPVGA Associate Division Board of Directors: President: Kenton Mehlberg Vice President: Paul Cieslewicz

Secretary: Julie Cartwright Treasurer: Rich Wilcox Directors: Chris Brooks, Kristi Kulas, Sally Suprise & Justin Yach Wisconsin Seed Potato Improvement Association Board of Directors: President: Jeff Fassbender Vice President: J.D. Schroeder Secretary/Treasurer: Jeff Suchon Directors: Roy Gallenberg & Matt Mattek Wisconsin Potato Growers Auxiliary Board of Directors: President: Kathy Bartsch Vice President: Devin Zarda Secretary/Treasurer: Datonn Hanke Directors: Jody Baginski, Brittany Bula, Deniell Bula & Marie Reid

Mission Statement of the WPVGA: To advance the interests of WPVGA members through education, information, environmentally sound research, promotion, governmental action and involvement. Mission Statement of the WPVGA Associate Division: To work in partnership with the WPVGA as product and service providers to promote mutual industry viability by integrating technology and information resources. Badger Common’Tater is published monthly at 700 Fifth Avenue, Antigo, Wisconsin 54409

WPVGA Staff Executive Director: Tamas Houlihan Managing Editor: Joe Kertzman Director of Promotions & Consumer Education: Dana Rady Financial Officer: Karen Rasmussen Executive Assistant: Julie Braun Program Assistant: Jane Guillen Spudmobile Education & Outreach Administrator: Doug Foemmel

WPVGA Office (715) 623-7683 • FAX: (715) 623-3176 E-mail: wpvga@wisconsinpotatoes.com Website: www.wisconsinpotatoes.com LIKE US ON FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/WPVGA

Subscription rates: $2/copy, $22/year; $40/2 years. Foreign subscription rates: $35/year; $55/2 years. Telephone: (715) 623-7683 Mailing address: P.O. Box 327, Antigo, Wisconsin 54409 Or, subscribe free online: http://wisconsinpotatoes.com/blog-news/subscribe/ ADVERTISING: To advertise your service or product in this magazine, call (715) 630-6213, or email: Joe Kertzman: jkertzman@wisconsinpotatoes.com. The editor welcomes manuscripts and pictures but accepts no responsibility for such material while in our hands. BC�T February




FEBRUARY 9-22 17-18 23-25


8-11 30-4/1

POTATOES USA ANNUAL MEETING The Brown Palace Hotel Denver, CO 60th ANNUAL WPS FARM SHOW POSTPONED one year due to COVID-19 coronavirus


11th WORLD POTATO CONGRESS & EUROPATAT 2021 POSTPONED one year due to COVID-19 coronavirus

18 24-26

WSPIA SPUD SEED CLASSIC GOLF OUTING Bass Lake Golf Course Deerbrook, WI UNITED FRESH CONVENTION & EXPO 2021 Los Angeles Convention Center Los Angeles, CA

13 15 20-22

PUTT-TATO OPEN GOLF OUTING Lake Arrowhead Golf Course Nekoosa, WI RHINELANDER STATE FARM FIELD DAY Lelah Starks Elite Foundation Seed Potato Farm Rhinelander, WI FARM TECHNOLOGY DAYS Silver Spring Foods, Huntsinger Horseradish Farm Eau Claire, WI


ALSUM TATER TROT 5K & FALL FESTIVAL Alsum Farms & Produce Friesland, WI


PMA FRESH SUMMIT 2021 Ernest N. Morial Convention Center New Orleans, LA


2022 GROWER ED CONFERENCE & INDUSTRY SHOW Holiday Inn Convention Center Stevens Point, WI









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Planting Ideas I honestly didn’t even notice. It occurred seamlessly behind the scenes during the 2021 Virtual Potato Expo, January 5-7. Although, if I had been in Washington, D.C., on January 6, like many of the National Potato Council (NPC) members who were running Potato Expo, it might not have felt seamless at all. Quite the contrary, I would say.

Following is an excerpt from what NPC Chief Executive Officer Kam Quarles (above) had to say about the day that turmoil descended upon Capitol Hill. “While the Potato Expo provided the industry a forum for unity and celebration, we would be remiss if we went without addressing the actions that caused our office to be evacuated on Wednesday afternoon.” “On January 6, the nation experienced a day impaired by turmoil … just three blocks from the National Potato Council office. During the chaos, Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser ordered a 6 p.m. city-wide curfew.” At 2:55 p.m., while the NPC was hosting the 2021 Virtual Potato Expo, Quarles asked staff to leave for home and resume managing the event remotely. Thankfully, all staff made it home safely. And few attendees, myself included, noticed that the staff had moved or traveled home. “The team’s concern was with ensuring that the attendees of the Expo had their experience unimpacted by the drama unfolding around us. The dedication and resilience of Hollee, Hillary, Mike and Mark were evidenced so seamlessly that it would have gone unnoticed, except that I won’t allow it and want everyone to know how proud I am of their actions,” Quarles said. Kudos to the NPC staff. And what a fantastic Virtual Potato Expo it was! See full coverage of the event in this issue. Congratulations, also, to Quarles, who was recently appointed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to serve as an advisor on the Trade in Fruits and Vegetables Committee, one of six Agricultural Technical Advisory Committees that provide guidance on trade matters from the perspective of their specific product sectors. For more on Quarles’ appointment, see “NPC News” within this issue of the Badger Common’Tater. Please email me with your thoughts and questions. If you wish to be notified when our free online magazine is available monthly, here is the subscriber link: http://wisconsinpotatoes.com/blog-news/subscribe.

Joe Kertzman

Managing Editor jkertzman@wisconsinpotatoes.com


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Interview STEVE BOEHM,

corporate sales manager, Riesterer & Schnell By Joe Kertzman, managing editor, Badger Common’Tater

NAME: Steve Boehm TITLE: Corporate sales manager COMPANY: Riesterer & Schnell LOCATIONS: Fourteen in northeast and central Wisconsin—Hortonville, Chilton, Pulaski, Denmark, Pound, Neenah, Antigo, Stratford, Campbellsport, Fond du Lac, Stevens Point, Westfield, Marion and Shawano HOMETOWN: Wausau, Wisconsin TIME IN PRESENT POSITION: Eleven years PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT: Fifteen years with a different brand ACTIVITIES/ORGANIZATIONS: Partners for Progressive Agriculture board member FAMILY: Wife, Jennifer; three kids, Mikayla (25), Braiden (23) and Jake (18); and two step-kids, Jordan (25) and Logan (18) HOBBIES: Working, snowmobiling, watching the Green Bay Packers and old cars 8

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Brothers Frank and John Riesterer and their fishing companion, Henry Schnell, opened a filling station in Chilton, Wisconsin, in 1931, expanding to milk handling, a car dealership, and in 1939, entering the farm business. Fast forward to today, and Corporate Sales Manager Steve Boehm says the fact that Riesterer & Schnell is, “the premier John Deere dealer for northeastern, eastern and central Wisconsin, with 14 locations, is incredible.” When Riesterer & Schnell started out as a small family-and-friend business, it had strong roots in the community. Boehm says, no different than it was in 1931, the business remains not only about customer service, but in always striving to be the best. “I feel this is instilled in all the employees when they are hired, and this history of Riesterer & Schnell is something we are all proud of,” Boehm remarks. “Anyone can start a business,” he adds, “but to grow and thrive through good times and bad requires a lot more than just showing up for work every day. I feel we all try to live the ‘coming through for you’ motto each day.” At different times in the company’s history, Riesterer & Schnell dealt

in Ford Ferguson tractors and New Holland Equipment. Is Riesterer & Schnell solely a John Deere dealer today? Yes, we knew that John Deere, being a leader in agriculture, was the brand to align with and we felt that John Deere’s business ethics also align with Riesterer & Schnell’s, which has made the partnership very strong. Riesterer & Schnell has been a John Deere dealer since 1960. We are a full-line John Deere Ag and CCE (Compact Construction Equipment) dealership. Above: Steve Boehm, corporate sales manager for Riesterer & Schnell, stands in front of a John Deere 5100E Four-wheeldrive utility tractor from the 5E series. Boehm says John Deere’s business ethics align with Riesterer & Schnell’s, which has made the partnership strong.

Are there any other manufacturer brands that the company sells? While John Deere is our main brand, we do carry several other lines that complement our business. These products are not offered by John Deere. The other lines of equipment that we currently retail and service are Degelman, Grouser, H&S, Meyer, Drago, Oxbo, Diamond Mowers, Stihl products and Kuhn, at select locations. What is your own background in agriculture, Steve, and how did you become corporate sales manager of Riesterer & Schnell? I grew up in Winneconne, a small town in northeastern Wisconsin. Winneconne had several dairies located just outside of town, and as a teenager, I would help at a local farm with chores and fieldwork. Even though I did not grow up on a farm, I have always had a passion for the farming business. After high school, I had an interest in mechanics, which lead me to a local Ford dealership that sold vehicles and Ford tractors. This was my introduction into dealerships, and after a couple of years, because of family and other

events, I ended up at a Ford and New Holland dealership in Waupaca. I started with the company in lawn and garden parts, and after a short time, was in agriculture sales. I found out that I had a strong passion for selling and a love for agriculture, so it ended up being an excellent fit. After 15 years with that dealership, transitioning from parts to sales and then store manager, I was offered a


position at Riesterer & Schnell. It has been a great fit and an unreal ride to see how agriculture and doing business in agriculture has changed over the past 26 years! My passion for farming as a youth continued on pg. 10


N7158 6TH DRIVE P.O. BOX 215 PLAINFIELD, WI 54966 OFFICE: (715) 335-6660 FAX: (715) 335-6661





Above: The Riesterer & Schnell crew poses when a fleet of new John Deere 9RX Series Tractors is delivered to the dealership.









Interview. . .

continued from pg. 9

transitioned into a lifelong career of working with others at Riesterer & Schnell, adding value on the farm and providing innovations to make growers’ operations more efficient and successful. How many years have you been with Riesterer & Schnell, and what location do you work out of? I have been with Riesterer & Schnell for 11 years and I currently have an office in Marion. I also travel to many of the other locations throughout each month. Are John Deere tractors your number one products sold to potato and vegetable growers in Wisconsin? Yes, John Deere has several different models to fit the need of the potato and vegetable market in every application. John Deere also offers a liquid and dry box spreader that has been widely accepted in the potato and vegetable industry. What kind of technology does Riesterer & Schnell offer its potato and vegetable growers? We offer the John Deere Greenstar Precision Farming suite of technologies. We also partner with a company that has given us the ability to provide our technology and support on most

equipment brands. We offer GreenTronics yield monitoring that allows growers to map the yield of root crops. We have our own RTK (Real-Time Kinematic) Network that growers can access. We also provide data management services built upon the John Deere Operations Center and a few other software programs. What are some examples of new technology for the upcoming growing season that would benefit growers? The focus continues to be on automation. For example, to

Above: A John Deere 8320R row-crop tractor readies a field at Cheeseville Dairy off of Trading Post Trail in West Bend, Wisconsin.

help inexperienced operators, we now offer technology that allows the harvesters to control the cart tractor’s speed and direction. We’ve offered the technology in combines for years and are excited to bring it to this market that doesn’t always unload on the left. We are also seeing an increased focus on automating data collection tasks. For example, we recently added the

Riesterer & Schnell hosts a career day at its Campbellsport, Wisconsin, location. 10 BC�T February

ability to send work orders wirelessly to a display and have it set up to automatically record accurate data, including setting product rates or loading a prescription. The work data is then streamed back to the office for reporting and to help with management decisions. How important is service after the sale and why? Service after the sale is the most important part. It may not seem like it at times, but the sale is the easy part. What separates one dealership from another is the support after the sale. You can sell the best piece of equipment in the world, but if you cannot support it properly, your chances of selling another are slim to none. Not only does Riesterer & Schnell invest highly in their technicians to make sure they are up to date on all the latest technology and equipment,

“I take pride in being involved in one of the greatest industries in the world, where we help feed the planet.” – Steve Boehm but we also have product specialists to help assist in optimizing the equipment for your operation to ensure it provides the performance you expect to receive.

people in the fields after the sale? We have a large team of support staff that includes our technicians, product specialists, information system consultants and sales consultants.

Agriculture is a 24/7/365 industry. To stay up and running in the field, our customers depend on us to work as hard as they do.

We pride ourselves in not only making sure our equipment is delivered ready to perform, but also to support our current and past customers in the best way we know how.

We value the trust our customers place in us, and our team members work to take care of their needs at the most critical time of their operation.

It may be firing up and outfitting a new or used tractor, planter or sprayer to make sure the equipment

Are you or some of your service

continued on pg. 12

Teaming with growers to make more money and take less risk


Ray Grabanski


Penney Hammer

At Progressive Ag, we understand your concerns. We are Risk Management Specialists focusing on potato and vegetable crops. Being prepared means not only avoiding and/or minimizing negative events, but also being able to take advantage of profit opportunities. You see, at Progressive Ag we make it our business to know your farm operation. We are committed to help you “Make more money and take less risk” To find out more, talk with one of our agents or call 1-800-450-1404 • www.progressiveag.com “This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer.”

BC�T February 11

Interview. . .

continued from pg. 11

is optimized for your operation or training your staff on operation and technology. We also understand that downtime costs a significant amount of money and we strive to eliminate as much of it as possible. We have mobile support out of all our ag and turf locations and offer 24/7 service in peak seasons to eliminate as much downtime as possible. To say we are out in the field after the sale would be putting it mildly. We are in the field before, during and after the sale to ensure our product performs! How important is agriculture and Riesterer & Schnell’s role therein, in central and northcentral Wisconsin?

Agriculture is the backbone of the state of Wisconsin, as well as of Riesterer & Schnell. We have 14 locations throughout central and northeastern Wisconsin. We strive to be a great partner for all our customers, and we work daily to make them more efficient in their jobs either with aftermarket support, equipment needs or working to provide the data they need to understand their land. What do you most take pride in, Steve, in the company and industry? Having been with Riesterer & Schnell for 11 years, what drew me to them in the first place is the passion the company has for agriculture and

Above: John Deere implements, technology and equipment are set up at a past WPS Farm Show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

taking care of its customers. It is that simple! Along with that comes innovation and adapting to a changing marketplace. This company does not stand still and strives to be Wisconsin’s most progressive dealership. I take pride in being involved in one of the greatest industries in the world, where we help feed the planet. I take pride in working sideby-side with the most passionate group of individuals in the industry. It puts a smile on my face when I think about it!



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12 BC�T February

Riesterer & Schnell has been a member of the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association for many years. Why is it important for you to support the association, and industry in general? People who drive communities forward are families, community members, leaders and companies. We are here to support you as families and communities, just as you support our stores and business. Partnering with the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association is important for us to align with our customers to understand their industry better and work to support them where needed. Have you made a lot of lifetime friends in this business? I would say that most of my friends and lifelong friends come from the business. I have been to weddings, baptisms, funerals, vacation and everything in between with this group of friends.

As one sales consultant said in a meeting the other day, “This is not a job; this is a lifestyle.” I think that statement really sums it up. Why should potato and vegetable growers put their trust in Riesterer & Schnell? Riesterer & Schnell has been supporting our customers for

Above: A new John Deere 7250R tractor is put to work at Horsens Homestead Farms, LLC, in Cecil, Wisconsin.

90 years and we continue to learn and develop new ways to support them, and this is not going away. continued on pg. 14


BC�T February 13

Interview. . .

continued from pg. 13

The Riesterer & Schnell dealership sign in Pound, Wisconsin, gets full cooperation from the sun as it glows like a beacon in the brilliant sky.

14 BC�T February

We have a dynamic team that works across all our locations to ensure we know the importance of support after the sale. We strive every day to work on “Coming Through for You,” our customer.

Left: In a show of appreciation to its customers, Riesterer & Schnell hosted a Partners in Progress Event at the Experimental Aircraft Association Museum Founders’ Wing in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, each afternoon following a past WPS Farm Show.

Anything you’d like to add, Steve, that I might have missed? I’m sure it comes through in several questions you asked, but I cannot stress how working in agriculture is just not a job or a career even. It is a way of life, and I am sure that many of your readers can understand that.

RIght: Full access was granted to a John Deere 7R Series Tractor during the Riesterer & Schnell 2020 Roadshow.

I consider myself a fortunate person to be involved in agriculture and I look forward to many more years.

John Miller Farms, Inc Minto, ND

All Lots PVX, PVY & Non-GMO Tested

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Dryland Grown‌Northern Vigor! We are now offering shipments in 2,000 lb. totes and are currently contracting for 2021 and beyond if interested.

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Contact John Miller: (701) 248-3215

Message from the Executive Director Highlighted here, WPVGA had a successful 2020 as an organization By Tamas Houlihan, WPVGA Executive Director They say that hindsight is 20/20, but I think I speak for many of us when I say let’s put the year 2020 in the rearview mirror and not look back! The global pandemic disrupted life as we know it and forever changed the future of many businesses and industries, not to mention the countless cases of illness and massive loss of life. The size and scope of the changes that have occurred in the past 12 months may have altered how we live, how we work and how we play for a long time, and in some cases, permanently. While working remotely became the new norm for millions of Americans, others lost jobs or were laid off for long stretches. But farmers and the agricultural industry continued to work as hard as they always do, going about their essential duties of feeding the world. I am proud to say I work for farmers, food producers and their suppliers, who form the backbone of our

The 2020 Wisconsin potato growing season was on-time, with a lot of potatoes in the central and southern areas of the state being planted in early- to mid-April and continuing throughout the month. Potatoes are shown being planted on Schroeder Bros. Farms, Inc., in Antigo, Wisconsin.

country. Potato and vegetable growers serve on the front lines in the battle for food security and the overall health of our nation. Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) members all help an

GALLENBERG FARMS, INC. N4528 Clover Road • Antigo, WI 54409

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715-623-7018 or 715-627-2906 rgallenberg@hotmail.com

16 BC�T February

industry that grows food and feeds a hungry world. You should be proud! Despite all the disruptions due to COVID-19, the WPVGA had a successful year as an organization. Following are some of the highlights for the industry in 2020. Above-Average Growing Conditions; Excellent Harvest Season The 2020 Wisconsin potato growing season was a welcome relief compared to the previous two years. The planting season was on-time, with a lot of central and southern Wisconsin potatoes being planted in early- to mid-April and continuing throughout the month. This was followed by several weeks of cold, wet and cloudy weather, which caused a delay in emergence.

The crop quickly caught up, however, with normal temperatures arriving by late May and remaining through mid-June. In late June and early July, Wisconsin had two to three weeks of extreme heat, which may have led to a reduction in overall yields. Weather conditions returned to normal in mid-July and continued for the remainder of the growing season throughout the Central Sands. Cool nights throughout the month of August helped with tuber bulking. Fortunately, harvest conditions were excellent in August, September and October, and there was not a deep frost until very late October, which allowed the vast majority of the Wisconsin potato crop to be harvested without losses. Growers reported average to above average yields with a large size profile, excellent quality and very few defects.

Another 2020 highlight of the Promotions Committee was the huge promotion of Wisconsin potatoes at 188 Jewel Osco stores, in Chicago, during the month of October. The promotion featured billboards (example shown), digital posters, elaborate potato displays in stores and employees wearing “Powered By Wisconsin Potatoes” T-shirts, along with frequent postings on social media.

There were no serious issues with late blight in 2020. Late blight was confirmed on one potato field in Adams County on August 10. It was immediately managed to prevent any

further outbreaks. Wisconsin growers harvested 62,000 acres of potatoes with an continued on pg. 18

Maximize Your Farm’s


In the heart of potato country. Serving all of Agriculture.

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Shop: (715) 335-6652 • Cell: (715) 498-6651 E-mail: paul@sandcountyequipment.com 8364 Monica Road, PO Box 228 • Bancroft, WI 54921


BC�T February 17

Message from the Executive Director. . . continued from pg. 17

average yield of 425 hundredweight (cwt.)/acre. That puts the crop at 26,350,000 cwt., an increase of 2 percent over 2019. Wisconsin is Well-Positioned in the Marketplace Strong demand and high prices along with various government support programs all helped strengthen the Wisconsin potato industry in 2020. While COVID-19 led to a virtual shutdown of the foodservice industry and significant volume cuts for Wisconsin’s process potato growers, that business recovered quickly and did not result in big losses for our growers. The frozen process sector of our industry is about 20 percent of total production, and of that, a significant portion is sold to retail markets. Furthermore, the drive-through

business at quick-serve restaurants was robust, which helped boost French fry consumption. Meanwhile, the fresh, chip and seed potato sectors were all quite healthy, with potato products (and even canned vegetables) flying off the shelves at grocery stores. Add to that our advantage in freight costs due to our central location, and you can see why Wisconsin continues to be a national leader in the potato and vegetable industry. Many potato growers out West were not as fortunate, however, as their reliance on the foodservice market is much greater and their losses were more severe. We hope this sector continues to recover and we wish our fellow potato growers nothing but the best.

Governmental Affairs, Research and Water Task Force Focus on Water Quality As part of the effort to address groundwater issues and protect drinking water and public health across Wisconsin, the Department of Natural Resources is working with key public and agriculture industry stakeholders to update Chapter NR 151 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code. The NR 151 rule modification is to develop a targeted performance standard to abate nitrate pollution in sensitive areas of the state for the purpose of achieving compliance with the nitrate groundwater standards. The rule revisions will define sensitive areas in the state and the performance standards needed to protect groundwater quality

The Hancock Agricultural Research Station wishes you a great 2021 crop and storage year! Hancock Ag Research Station N3909 County Rd. V, Hancock, WI 54943 Tel. (715) 249-5961 Email: hancock@cals.wisc.edu

Also, a big Thank You! We want to thank many businesses and individuals who in 2020 contributed time and resources for the success of our research and outreach activities. We are thankful for your generosity as you help us sustain our research farm and Storage Facility activities. Among these are: • AgRay Inc. • AMVAC Chemical Corp. • Coloma Farms • Case IH Program • Farmers Implement LLC • Gramma Miller’s • Heartland Farms • McCain Foods • MWFPA • Medius Ag • Nelson’s Vegetable Storage Systems • Nutrien Ag Solutions • Paul Miller Farms

18 BC�T February

• Potatoes USA • Roberts Irrigation • Swiderski Equipment, Inc. • Syngenta • Twin Creeks Nursery & Greenhouses • Vantage North Central • Waushara County Master Gardeners • Willis Family • WPVGA • WPVGA Associate Division

in these areas. The potato and vegetable industry is well-represented on the NR 151 Technical Advisory Committee by grower Larry Alsum along with University of Wisconsin (UW) Horticulture Professor Dr. Jed Colquhoun. The WPVGA Governmental Affairs Committee, led by co-chairs Mike Carter and Steve Diercks, continues to closely monitor this issue, along with the WPVGA’s lead attorney, Jordan Lamb. Research related to reducing nitrogen (N) use on potatoes has been the focal point of the WPVGA in recent years. UW scientists Yi Wang and Matt Ruark continue to work on low N trials for various potato varieties. Wang is also leading a project funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, which involves collecting and processing data using hyperspectral imaging to determine in-season nitrogen status and assist growers with management.

managed by Knuteson continues to evolve. A component focusing on water quality and quantity was added for 2020-’21. Deana also helped create an online Water Stewards training course. This six-module course focuses mainly on water quantity issues within Wisconsin, but water quality is also discussed in many of the modules since the two are closely linked. The WPVGA also continues to cooperate with Discovery Farms on a phosphorus reduction project in Antigo, and plans are underway to team up on a nitrate reduction project in Central Wisconsin.

With leadership from Plover River Farms, the group includes Feltz Family Farms, Firkus Farms, Myron Soik & Sons, Okray Family Farms and Worzella & Sons. With matching funds from the WPVGA and working closely with Robin Rothfeder at UW-Stevens Point-Extension, the group was successful in securing a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection in 2020. This partnership envisions a healthy and productive working landscape in Wisconsin’s Central Sands region.

WPVGA Group Receives ProducerLed Watershed Protection Grant Six farms in Central Wisconsin have joined together in an effort to protect the watershed that includes the Little Plover River and a portion of the Wisconsin River.

Through on-farm conservation and collaborative partnerships, the group seeks to promote innovative stewardship practices that benefit the watershed, the landscape and land managers themselves. continued on pg. 20

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NITROGEN USE IN POTATOES Paul Mitchell and Deana Knuteson are beginning to work on an economic impact statement related to N use on potatoes. Troy Fishler, the new Superintendent at the Hancock Ag Research Station, is also conducting an extensive potato variety trial with Jeff Endelman looking at elite new cultivars in a low nitrogen environment. The WPVGA Water Task Force works closely with Ankur Desai of the UW Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Department on his Eddy Covariance Flux Tower research. This state-of-the-art technology is used to gain even more accurate measurements of evapotranspiration (ET), which is directly related to crop water use and can be utilized to help reduce nitrate leaching. The Healthy Grown program

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Message from the Executive Director. . . continued from pg. 19

WPVGA Uses $2 Million in Matching Funds to Establish two Endowed Chairs at UW Thanks to the generosity of John and Tashia Morgridge, a $70 million matching gift became available for faculty professorships, chairs and distinguished chairs at UW-Madison in 2020. The Wisconsin Potato Industry Board acted on this opportunity by signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the UW Foundation whereby it will provide a dollar-for-dollar match for two $2-million endowed faculty Chairs. Gifts to support endowed faculty positions help the university attract and retain the best thinkers, teachers and researchers in an increasingly competitive hiring market. The two Potato & Vegetable endowed chairs will support faculty whose research is in potatoes and/or vegetables, and the impact of these crops on water, economics and the environment. The Chairs will also be named to

Harvest conditions were excellent in August, September and October, and there was not a deep frost until very late October. Shown here, potatoes are harvested on Mortenson Bros. Farms, Inc., west of Plainfield, Wisconsin.

honor the work of potato industry research icons Larry Binning, Dave Curwen, Keith Kelling, John Schoenemann, Walt Stevenson and Jeff Wyman. Process Growers Agree to Terms on Two-Year Contract The WPVGA Process Frozen Committee worked together to coordinate improved contract

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terms for all growers with its potato processing partner in Plover. The contract talks were entirely cordial and have led to a muchimproved relationship between growers and McCain Foods. With both sides collaborating, a compromise was reached on a mutually beneficial two-year deal. As the economy continues to recover from the COVID-19 crisis, we look forward to increasing business in this sector of the industry. Political Campaign Funding Pays Dividends One of the most effective tools used by the Association to help growers is its conduit fund. This fund is managed by the WPVGA and its legal partners, DeWitt, LLP and Michael Best Strategies, and is used to support state legislative candidates who support agriculture. Many of these candidates were successful in their 2020 campaigns and we look forward to working with a favorable legislature for years to come. Promotions Committee Shifts Gears Although the Spudmobile was

effectively put into storage in 2020, it did make appearances at a few key events (the Wisconsin State Fair and the Portage County Fair), and even served as a billboard while parked at several businesses. The WPVGA Promotions Committee further shifted gears in the new COVID-conscious environment by utilizing more electronic media. A new TV commercial was developed and aired frequently along with prior commercials in multiple markets; online and social media promotions were greatly increased; and radio advertising was also used effectively.

and foremost, two summer field days were cancelled in 2020 along with the annual Industry Show, which was set for February 2021. And it was with great disappointment that we made the decision to postpone the WPVGA Member Development Program for one year. This has proven to be one of the most valuable leadership training and networking programs offered by

the Association, with 25 members graduating from the 2018-’19 class. Many of these graduates are now serving on various industry boards and committees. Plans are in place to conduct the program over the fall and winter of 2021-’22. Despite the concerns with COVID-19, the industry held two highly continued on pg. 22

An amusing and entertaining television episode of Mad Dog & Merrill’s Midwest Grill’n was produced and aired this fall and featured WPVGA members Eric Schroeder, Mike Carter, Doug Posthuma and Gary Beadles, along with Promotions Director Dana Rady. A new billboard was created and displayed along I-39 between Stevens Point and Hancock, while a previous billboard was moved to the I-41 corridor between Green Bay and Milwaukee.

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Chicago Means Business with Wisconsin Potato Promotion Another 2020 highlight of the Promotions Committee was the huge promotion of Wisconsin potatoes at 188 Jewel Osco stores, in Chicago, during the month of October. Already a primary target market for Wisconsin potatoes, this promotion featured billboards, digital posters, elaborate potato displays in stores and employees wearing “Powered By Wisconsin Potatoes” T-shirts, along with frequent postings on social media. Sales data are not yet finalized, but according to early reports, potato volume and dollar sales increased tremendously. Some Events Cancelled, but Golf Outings Go On With health and safety concerns first

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Message from the Executive Director. . . continued from pg. 21

successful outdoor events in 2020— the Spud Seed Classic and Putt-Tato Open golf outings. Both events drew over 100 golfers and were conducted with extensive safety protocols in place. The events raised thousands of dollars for the Wisconsin Seed Potato Improvement Association and the WPVGA Associate Division. New Trap Shoot Event Hits the Target To engage more members, the Associate Division brought a new idea to fruition in 2020—the first annual Trap Shoot event at the Wausau Skeet and Trap Club in Brokaw. The Associate Division knows that not everyone is a golfer, so plans were made to offer an alternative activity that is certainly popular with many members.

virtual meeting formats. One such meeting was a virtual Langlade Ag Research Station Field Day, featuring multiple reports from the researchers whose projects were underway, in Antigo, over the summer. The Grower Education Conference planning committee also decided to conduct the upcoming 2021 conference virtually via Zoom. The conference will still offer the same outstanding educational presentations along with timely research reports and have additional online content on a dedicated conference website that will be beneficial to growers.

The Trap Shoot was held safely and was a big success, with a full flight of 15 five-person teams. The event also served as one more fundraiser for the organization, which provides scholarships and grants among its many programs.

Another New Potato Variety For the second year in a row, the SpudPro Committee, led by Dr. Jeff Endelman and Mike Copas, named a new potato variety: the W94331rus potato is now called “Lakeview Russet.” A dual-purpose russet, good for fresh and fry use, it is a remarkable early bulking variety that yields well.

Virtual Field Day Reports on Research; Grower Ed Conference Plans Virtual Event I’m sure there’s one word everyone became a lot more familiar with in 2020: Zoom. With “virtually” no inperson meetings held after the onset of COVID-19, plans quickly changed to offer Zoom conferences and other

With top-notch editorial content and loaded with color photos of industry people, places and events, this trade

Uncommonly Good Magazine WPVGA Managing Editor Joe Kertzman keeps the industry well-informed by consistently producing the outstanding Badger Common’Tater magazine.

The SpudPro Committee, led by Dr. Jeff Endelman and Mike Copas, named a new potato variety, “Lakeview Russet.” A dualpurpose russet, good for fresh and fry use, it is a remarkable early bulking variety that yields well.

publication is widely recognized as the best in the business. National Potato Industry Leadership Wisconsin also had excellent representation on national industry organizations in 2020, with Larry Alsum serving as the Immediate Past-President of the National Potato Council, while Heidi Randall and Mike Carter served on the Potatoes USA Executive Committee. Brian Bushman served as Chairman

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of the United Potato Growers of America in 2020. Farming for the Future An exciting new venture founded by the Pavelski family, Farming for the Future Foundation is dedicated to helping families understand and appreciate their food and the people who grow it. The Food and Farm Exploration Center will be a place for education, unforgettable family experiences and great, wholesome food. A tremendous resource for teachers and schools, it will be an excellent destination for families and agritourists as well as school groups. It will offer a unique way to learn about careers in agriculture. In keeping with its mission, the Foundation will also continue the creation of plans to increase agricultural literacy in Wisconsin

classrooms. Stay tuned for more about this project and the discovery center, which will serve as a hands-on educational learning facility with interactive exhibits focused on various areas of crop production and cutting-edge technology used in agriculture. Plans are to break ground on land donated by the Worzella family, in Plover, in 2021. Teamwork Leads to Success Vince Lombardi said, “Individual commitment to a group effort— that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” That is also what makes the WPVGA work. Working in concert with all our members, each individual on our staff contributed to the organization’s success in 2020. I want to thank Dale Bowe, Julie Braun, Doug Foemmel,

Jane Guillen, Joe Kertzman, Dana Rady and Karen Rasmussen for their hard work and dedication to the Association. Of special note is Financial Officer Karen Rasmussen, who celebrated her 25th anniversary at the WPVGA on December 1, 2020. Congratulations, Karen! In closing, I would like to thank all the members of the WPVGA, along with our outstanding Board of Directors led by President Rod Gumz. I am proud of how we all worked together to meet the challenges of 2020. Be thankful for each new challenge because it will build your strength and character. The bigger the challenge, the bigger the opportunity for growth. Sincerely,

Tamas Houlihan Executive Director, WPVGA

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Potato Expo 2021 Came to the People Virtual event presented insight, innovation, technology and trends affecting the industry By Joe Kertzman, managing editor, Badger Common’Tater The agriculture industry could not attend Potato Expo 2021, so the National Potato Council brought the event to the people—and they all had front-row seats! “The National Potato Council worked hard to take advantage of the unique opportunities a virtual Potato Expo

had to offer,” said Jason Stoddard of Stoddard Farms, Inc., in Grace, Idaho. “I looked forward to hearing from what promised to be the most highprofile lineup of presenters the Expo has ever had,” Stoddard stated. The Virtual Potato Expo, January 5-7, 2021, did not disappoint in that or

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any regard. As is tradition, the event kicked off with the Potato Business Summit on Tuesday, January 5, and a comprehensive analysis of the global and North American potato industry. The annual Potato Business Summit is co-sponsored by United Potato Growers of America, the Potato Marketing Association of North America and the United Potato Growers of Canada. Kevin MacIsaac, general manager of the United Potato Growers of Canada, pointed out that, due to COVID-19, “None of the brightest

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minds in the world could have prepared us for the changes in our potato markets since last March.” MacIsaac said the pandemic taught us the value of communicating and helping the sectors of table, process, seed and chips react to changes in the marketplace. LOCALLY GROWN FOOD “One positive outcome from COVID has been the support and willingness of consumers to understand the importance of locally grown food on their grocery shelves,” MacIsaac noted. Dale Lathim, president of the Potato Marketing Association of North America, said, “Every crop year in the potato industry is a challenge. 2020 has raised that challenge bar to a new high, not only for our growers, but our processors, their customers and consumers.” “Therefore, the information presented in the Potato Business Summit is more important than ever,” Lathim concluded. Stephen Nicholson of Rabobank gave an economic outlook, there was a European market update by Cedric Porter of World Potato Markets, and a consumer and frozen market overview from John Toaspern, chief marketing officer of Potatoes USA.

a farming technology outlook, and Mark Klompien, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of United Potato Growers of America, gave a fresh potato market outlook. On each day of Potato Expo 2021, Potatoes USA conducted a Total Tater Fitness Challenge that registered attendees could choose to participate in on their own during the event. The Trade Show portion of the Virtual Potato Expo, with product showcases, ran Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Registered guests could visit booths online, chat, ask questions of booth holders, review

Above: Potatoes USA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Blair Richardson (main photo) moderates a virtual Potato Expo 2021 panel discussion on “The New Consumer at Retail and Foodservice.” Panelists include, from left to right along the bottom of the screen image, Jonna Parker, principal, Fresh Center of Excellence; Potatoes USA Chief Marketing Officer John Toaspern; Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, registered dietician nutritionist, and president and CEO of Produce for Better Health; and Jack Li, haiku master, Datassential.

products and information, and click links to websites and social media pages for each company. continued on pg. 26

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Potato Expo 2021 Came to the People . . . continued from pg. 25

Back by popular demand, guest speaker Roy Spence, co-founder and chairman of GSD&M advertising agency, and co-founder and CEO of The Purpose institute, was the most talked-about keynote speaker from the 2019 Potato Expo, held in Austin, Texas, where he discussed the “Power of Purpose.”

POWER OF POTATOES Spence continued the discussion on the Power of Purpose in Business and Life (and potatoes!) at the Virtual Potato Expo, qualifying his speech with “during these crazy times.” He said he is moved by how few growers produce so much to feed America and the world. Foodservice

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Mike Wenkel, chief operating officer for the National Potato Council, moderated a general discussion session, complete with several panelists, titled “Preserving the Future of Agriculture: How supply chain is scaling up efforts to address climate change and sustainability.” Left: Roy Spence, co-founder and chairman of GSD&M advertising agency, and cofounder and CEO of The Purpose institute, discussed the “Power of Purpose in Business and Life (and potatoes!)” at the Virtual Potato Expo, qualifying his speech with “during these crazy times.” Right: As is tradition, Potato Expo 2021 kicked off with the Potato Business Summit on Tuesday, January 5, and a comprehensive analysis of the global and North American potato industry. Dale Lathim, president of the Potato Marketing Association of North America, a co-sponsor of the event, is shown speaking at the summit.

Panelists included Chuck Conner of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, Barb Glenn, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, Rod Snyder of Field to Market and Brandy Wilson, global sustainability director of J.R. Simplot Company. Conner said it is a changing world out there as far as sustainability and climate, but we’re up to that challenge. The debate should not be feared, and we should do quite well in providing economic opportunities for farmers and producers in the future as a united voice for agriculture. Major supply chain companies— Walmart, PepsiCo, etc.—set sustainability goals. They need to work with farmers, Conner suggested, and those realizations have grown in the last five to 10 years.

PRODUCER-SET GOALS Wilson suggested, instead of companies setting percentage goals for growers, she would rather collaborate with producers and let them tell J.R. Simplot Company what goals they can hit and what they might have trouble with. Sustainability challenges vary from region to region. Tuesday wound down with a

Above: In a Thursday Potato Expo Breakout Session, Eric Snodgrass of Nutrien Ag Solutions discussed “Predicting Chaos: Weather Risk in Potato Cultivation.”

Washington Update titled “The Future of Credit: Politics and policy debates impacting agriculture and rural communities,” presented by Todd Van Hoose, president and CEO continued on pg. 28

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Potato Expo 2021 Came to the People . . . continued from pg. 27

Left: Winners of the “Let’s Get Cooking Potatoes Competition” were “Big Sky Bakers” and Kalispell, Montana, seed potato growers Jill and Steve Streich, of Streich Farms. Top Right: Ph.D. Kiran Shetty of Syngenta Crop Protection presented a Thursday Breakout Session titled “Fungicide Resistance Management Techniques and the Value of Premixes.”

of Farm Credit Council.

to govern.

A topical subject, Van Hoose pointed out that there’s been an erosion of trust between people and government, making it difficult for incoming President Joe Biden

“Sides are divided,” Van Hoose stated. “An unprecedented amount of money was spent on congressional and national campaigns. We had record voter turnout levels, and a

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huge and motivated turnout in the presidential election.” Acknowledging President Biden’s pick of Tom Vilsack to return for another stint as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Van Hoose said, “Vilsack is a wellknown and trusted hand in the USDA.” The day concluded with a Potato Association of America Poster Session “Meet the Researchers.” The Wednesday, January 6, presentations included “The New Consumer at Retail and Foodservice,” moderated by Blair Richardson, CEO, Potatoes USA. It included panelists Jack Li, haiku master, Datassential; Jonna Parker, principal, Fresh Center of Excellence, IRI; Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RDN, president & CEO, Produce for Better Health Foundation; and Toaspern. GOOD POTATO POSITION Richardson noted that potatoes have come out in a good position during the coronavirus pandemic, with 28 percent of shoppers planning to cook more meals at home than they had in late summer. “Eighty one percent of meals are being prepared at home,” he said.

28 BC�T February

“Forty percent of food dollars were spent away from home in August, down from 52 percent in February, but up from 32 percent in April.” Parker said two million new consumers for fresh potatoes came into the marketplace since the COVID-19 pandemic began. “Having folks know what to do with a fresh potato and make it a focus of a meal is something we need to get into the conversation,” she said. Li remarked, “COVID has been like a nuclear bomb for foodservice and the restaurant industry. Mandated closures reaffirmed to everyone that maybe it is not safe to go into a restaurant at all. Our government is telling me restaurants shouldn’t be open right now.” We have a high level of concern today, he noted, in consumer sentiment on safety and COVID. People turned quickly toward delivery


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In one Breakout Session sponsored by Simplot, Wisconsin’s own Dr. Paul Bethke (main image) presented “The Benefits of Diploid Breeding and True Potato Seed.” Moderated by Andrew W. LaVigne (upper right), president and CEO of American Seed Trade Association, other panelists included Amy Charkowski, Ph.D., Colorado State University; Ian Puddephat, Ph.D., PepsiCo; and Jeremy Singer, Ph.D., Simplot Plant Sciences.

service, and more restaurants than ever before jumped onto the delivery bandwagon.

2021, to bottom-line performance. Restaurants want to generate greater profits.”

“A majority of even rural restaurants now offer delivery,” Li said. “More and more attention will be paid, in

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Potato Expo 2021 Came to the People . . . continued from pg. 29

safety, followed by immunity and health, and then a response to meal fatigue and boredom.” She asked, “What are people searching for, and how do we make sure produce and potatoes are top of mind?” CONSUMER ENGAGEMENT Richardson questioned, “Will we see consumers getting tired of potatoes, or can we innovate to keep consumers engaged? That’s our job at Potatoes USA.” Toaspern said it has been a fascinating period of time and one that has required everyone to pivot or make changes. “We have spent a lot of time teaching consumers how to store potatoes at their houses and how to cook with them, basic recipes,” he noted.

Trevor Mecham (main image), vice president of global technology strategy and industry relations, Valmont Industries, and Darren Siekman (upper right), vice president of water delivery and business development for Valley Irrigation, conducted a breakout session titled “Foresight is 20/20: the future of Irrigation is Predictive.”

media and on our website. In addition to fresh potatoes, the biggest uptick was with processed— frozen, dehydrated and even canned potatoes,” Toaspern said. Potatoes USA focused on pizzerias, built for take-out, and helped them

“We saw a huge uptick on social

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advancement; online potato variety selection resources for the potato industry; and image recognition of pests and diseases. One session, “The Benefits of Diploid Breeding and True Potato Seed,” was sponsored by Simplot and moderated by Andrew W. LaVigne, president and CEO of American Seed Trade Association (ASTA). Dr. Paul Bethke, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison plant pathologist, USDA Agricultural Research Service, talked about diploid potato breeding as a business opportunity for some, and a way to breed new varieties. “It makes things simpler,” he stated, “when breeding potatoes.” “How do you take all the good genetic material found it tetraploid potatoes and bring it into diploid potatoes?” he proposed. “You can do it through pollination and genetic tricks, creating diploid potatoes from tetraploids.” FAVORABLE ALLELES “We can eliminate traits and select for favorable alleles or genetics while removing unfavorable traits within current germplasm,” Dr. Bethke said. Amy Charkowski, Ph.D., professor and department head, Colorado State University, said some true seed pathogens that we do not see much anymore could make a comeback with true seed production. “We can adopt practices from pathogen management and manage risks at the beginning as we learn what the challenges are,” she recommended. Another breakout session, sponsored by Zimmatic and Lindsay, was titled “The Revolution is Here: The Center Pivot as an Agronomic Management Tool.” Wednesday wound down with a general session “Getting Potatoes into the Mouths of Consumers.” continued on pg. 32 BC�T February 31

Potato Expo 2021 Came to the People . . . continued from pg. 31

A “Let’s Get Cooking Potatoes Competition” was held live from competing teams’ kitchens, sponsored by Washington Potatoes and hosted by Chef Joel Gamoran. Fourteen teams, representing all U.S. potato growing regions, participated in the cooking competition, including

Mike, Ali and Alayna Carter, from Wisconsin, who made olive-filled potato croquets with herbed goat cheese and dilled yogurt sauce. Judges were Chef R.J. Harvey, culinary director for Potatoes USA, Susan Comstock Holt, chef and owner of CulinAerie, and Brandy Tucker,

director of marketing and operations for the Washington State Potato Commission. AND THE WINNERS WERE … The winners, taking home a 2021 Potato Expo cast iron pan, were Kalispell, Montana, seed potato growers Steve, Jill and Paul Streich of Streich Farms. Thursday’s schedule included presentations on “Political Landscape, Police and Trade,” “Pandemic Support for Fruits and Vegetables,” “Ag Labor Solutions” and “Enhancing U.S. Potato Exports.” Breakout sessions covered “Trending issues in Farm Succession Planning,” “Predicting Chaos: Weather Risk in Potato Cultivation,” sponsored by Nutrien Ag Solutions, and “Fungicide Resistance Management Techniques and the Value of Premixes,” sponsored by Syngenta. Yet more breakout sessions involved Valley Irrigation and “Foresight is 20/20: the future of Irrigation is Predictive;” AMVAC with “Fumigation and the Path to Soil Health and Soil Nutrition;” “The Future of Sustainability: what do Consumers Want to Know?” and “Potato Policy Predictions—a Closer Look at Biden’s Food Policy Priorities.” A final General Session on Thursday titled “Trends in Farming Technology” was moderated by R.J. Andrus, NPC’s vice president of legislative affairs and senior manager, raw material procurement, Idahoan.

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Panelists included Rainer Borgmann of Spudnik; Gustavo Oberto, Lindsay Corp.; Julian Sanchez from John Deere; and Simcha Shore of AgroScout. One technology that Rainer stressed is the crop cart and the use of it in the field, attaching booms, cleaning

32 BC�T February

tables, seed fillers or spreaders. With a crop cart and a holding tank or under-harvester boom, growers can load two trucks more per hour, a big efficiency gain if everything works perfect. Oberto talked about smart pivots and the technology used to turn them on or change positioning, in turn helping growers across the world make better use of their time and resulting in less wear and tear on vehicles. QUALITY POTATO CROPS “Not having to check on the status of equipment means spending more time growing quality potato crops,” he said. Shore stressed how amazing it is to see a tremendous revolution in agriculture. AgroScout is a service working with farmers around the world to utilize sensing and intelligence in the field, enabling

growers to have better data and information to make decisions.

tremendous amount of advancement in camera and perception systems.”

“We are moving to a time when we’ll be able to look at every plant every day as if the finest agronomist were standing next to that plant,” Shore predicted.

“As a farmer, your most powerful sense is your vision,” Sanchez reasoned. “If you can see it as a human, you can imagine developing an AI vision system that also sees it, and in some cases, can see it even better. I ask our engineers what they would train a computer to do if it could see like a grower.”

“We work with small commercial drones and use mobile phones for data collection, upload the data to the Cloud and send it to endless servers for agronomists to look at,” he explained. “You can have agronomists in Idaho working with farmers in Mexico. We’re starting to see emergence of smart agriculture,” Shore concluded. Sanchez from John Deere added to those sentiments. “We just got done mentioning artificial intelligence, a key trend happening all over world,” he said. “Why now? Because of computing power. We’ve seen a

The Potato Expo 2021 Closing Celebration took the form of a fastpaced, family friendly virtual trivia game with prizes for winners in four rounds, including Amazon and Best Buy gift certificates, a Nintendo Switch and even an iPad. Insight, innovation, technology and trends were repeated themes, and consistently part of the Virtual Potato Expo 2021 conversation.

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2021 Virtual Potatoes USA Winter Meeting Held Week After Potato Expo Traditionally held in conjunction with national trade show, Zoom allowed for flexibility Zoom provided the platform for the 2021 Virtual Potatoes USA Winter Meeting, January 12-14, 2021, with the national potato marketing board making the best of the format and opportunity.

The Potatoes USA Executive Committee Meeting was held Tuesday, January 12, followed by Domestic Marketing, International Marketing and Research committee meetings and presentations, January

Above: Getting “More People Eating Potatoes in More Ways” was an overarching theme and marketing objective presented during the 2021 Potatoes USA Winter Meeting. Social media and television commercials are just one way to get the “Potatoes so Many Ways” message across, with several spots already created to drive home the point.

13, and Industry Outreach, Finance and Policy, and Administrative committee meetings on January 14. As Potatoes USA Chief Marketing Officer John Toaspern noted about retail and foodservice during the

Potatoes USA Chief Marketing Officer John Toaspern talks about his team’s “Real Food. Real Performance” campaign encouraging athletes to fuel up using America’s favorite vegetable. 34 BC�T February

Domestic Marketing Committee Meeting: “One’s up; one’s down.” With 50 percent of school-age children, college students and adults working from home, more meals are being prepared in the kitchen, positively affecting retail sales and having a huge negative impact on foodservice. Two million new consumers started buying fresh potatoes since March. This skewed mainly for people 35 years old and older, Toaspern noted before asking, “So, how do we attract younger buyers, millennials and Gen C?”

out that home cooks are looking for how-to’s and what-to’s. People are bored, tired of cooking at home and looking for new ideas. Rittenberg suggests “embracing potatoes and harnessing that potato love.” Eighteen-to 44-year-olds are active on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, so Rittenberg and her team oversaw the production of creative, humorous social media videos themed “Potatoes So Many Ways!”

Health and wellness continue to be top of mind for consumers. Potatoes USA continues to spread information and inspiration, actively promoting potatoes as fueling performance to credible reporters at key times of the year. Potatoes USA is also working with world-renowned chefs to showcase potatoes in their menus and offering resources and ways people can serve continued on pg. 36

Other devastating numbers include 87,500 restaurants closed for good, representing 12 percent of the national total. The industry lost 1.1 billion pounds of French fry sales in the first three quarters of 2020, with the worst being in the second quarter of the year. By the third quarter of 2020, the market saw improvement. There may be a strong pent-up demand for foodservice. Americans still love potatoes. They are on 84 percent of all foodservice menus, and overall demand remains strong. CUTTING BACK ON CARBS As far as potato nutrition, Toaspern says people are cutting back on carbohydrates, fast food and fried appetizers, partly a reflection of misinformation and mischaracterization from academic influencers. The biggest problem is from the Glycemic Index, a flawed measure of carb quality, which could lead to a tightening of the food regulatory environment with on-pack labeling. Potatoes USA’s solution: protect and promote. “We are not going back on defense,” Toaspern says. “We are aggressively changing that misinformation and putting forward the correct information.” Jill Rittenberg, Potatoes USA senior global marketing manager, pointed BC�T February 35

2021 Virtual Potatoes USA Winter Meeting . . . continued from pg. 35

potatoes through websites and social media. Potatoes USA Chef R.J. Harvey and his global foodservice marketing team are developing recipes for center store sales, restaurants, carry-outonly establishments, and other retail and foodservice outlets. MORE POTATOES The International Marketing Committee is also striving to get more consumers eating more potatoes in more ways, increasing U.S. potato

exports across the globe. Some market access successes include getting chip stock to China, year-round chip stock to Japan, frozen fry tariff reductions in Japan and improvements with table stock going into Korea. The international marketing team also got a seed import protocol into Cuba, acting as interlopers between the two governments and implementing seed potato variety trials there.

Above: Potatoes USA Executive Chef R.J. Harvey and his global foodservice marketing team are developing potato recipes for center store sales, restaurants, and other retail and foodservice outlets.

There is a lot to be done in this area and Potatoes USA has met with the National Potato Council and aligned what the organizations want to work on, including fresh potato access to Mexico. “Potato Markets Newshour� video segments, anchored by Toaspern and Global Retail Marketing Manager Kayla Dome, have helped with national and international messaging. The goal is increased retail sales across every international market, particularly with consumers staying at home internationally just as they are in the United States. The International Marketing Committee is focused on recipe inspiration and able to do online and in-store promotions and online cooking demonstrations. FOODSERVICE SUFFERING The international foodservice market has suffered, according to Marketing Manager Kendra Keenan, with a 6090 percent drop in sales across the globe. Consumers gravitated toward larger

36 BC�T February

chains rather than independents, she noted, and fine dining establishments took the brunt of the market decline, closing outlets. Recovery is happening, Keenan says, and there is a lot of sales growth with delivery friendly items such as pizza and fried chicken. KFC in Japan reported a 27 percent sales increase year over year. Though there has been a drop in U.S. French fry sales, they have done considerably well because of fast food restaurants and limited takeout and delivery. Potatoes USA has over a million followers in international markets on social media pages, which include recipe videos, live or livestreaming cooking events, cooking how-to information and recipes. And the team uses food influencers,

bloggers and chefs to get messaging out to all markets, so recipes and information flow well and are accurate. The recipes are then posted on PotatoGoodness.com. Similarly, influencers, dieticians, nutritionists, athletes and health experts are employed to develop potato nutrition messages and online content.

Above: Potatoes USA global marketing managers Kendra Keenan (left) and Kayla Dome (right) lead a discussion on increasing retail potato sales across every international market, particularly with consumers staying at home internationally just as they are in the United States.

It is all being done in an effort to protect and enhance the good reputation of potatoes and the U.S. potato industry.

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Now News

WPVGA Group Receives Watershed Grant DATCP Awards $750,000 in grants to 30 producer-led groups The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has awarded $750,000 in producer-led watershed protection grants to 30 farmer-led groups. Grants support producerled conservation solutions by encouraging innovation and farmer participation in on-the-ground efforts to improve Wisconsin’s soil health and water quality. Six farms in Central Wisconsin have joined together to form the Central Wisconsin Farmers’ Collaborative

(CWF) with the goal of protecting the watershed that includes the Little Plover River and a portion of the Wisconsin River. With leadership from Plover River Farms, the group includes Feltz Family Farms, Firkus Farms, Myron Soik & Sons, Okray Family Farms and Worzella & Sons. Starting with matching funds from the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) and working closely with Robin Rothfeder at the University of WisconsinStevens Point-Extension, the group

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Above: With leadership from Plover River Farms, the Central Wisconsin Farmers’ Collaborative includes Feltz Family Farms, Firkus Farms (shown here), Myron Soik & Sons, Okray Family Farms and Worzella & Sons.

was successful in writing and securing a grant from DATCP in 2020. This partnership envisions a healthy and productive working landscape in Wisconsin’s Central Sands region. Through on-farm conservation and collaborative partnerships, the group seeks to promote innovative stewardship practices that benefit the watershed, the landscape and land managers themselves. HEALTHY LANDSCAPE “We envision a healthy and productive working landscape in Wisconsin’s Central Sands region, achieved through coordinated actions that enhance natural resource quality while simultaneously creating social and economic opportunities for farmers and communities,” wrote Rothfeder and WPVGA Executive

Director Tamas Houlihan in the grant proposal. “Our partnership with DATCP’s producer-led program is one of our core assets,” says Chris van Someren of Jon-De Farm and the Western Wisconsin Conservation Council, a producer-led group. “The cost-sharing part of the program is extremely helpful in motivating our members to experiment with and implement practices that protect soil and water health,” van Someran continues. “Beyond the capacity for funding, the program brings the added benefits of education, communication and collaboration between farmers across the state.”

• Central Wisconsin Farmers’ Collaborative: $19,800 • Lake Wisconsin Farmer Watershed Council: $15,000 Previously Funded Projects Receiving New Grants • Bear Creek/Chippewa Farmer Groundwater Group: $23,475 • Buffalo-Trempealeau Farmer Network: $40,000 • Buffalo County Conservation

Farmers: $14,984 • Calumet County Ag Stewardship Alliance: $6,250 • Dodge County Farmers for Healthy Soil & Healthy Water: $39,093 • Eau Pleine Partnership for Integrated Conservation: $30,000 • Farmers for Lake Country: $15,000 • Farmers of the Sugar River: $14,700 • Farmers for Tomorrow: $30,000 continued on pg. 40

“This kind of cooperation between government and farmers will be a critical part of Wisconsin’s conservation efforts moving forward,” van Someran concludes. New to the grant program this year is a conservation benefits tracking component. DATCP will use this to measure the water quality benefits associated with the conservation practices implemented by participating farmers throughout the state. This is the sixth round of grant awards since funding started with the 2015-’17 state budget. During the first year, 14 producer-led groups submitted applications totaling over $242,000. In response to an increase in applications and interest in the program since its inception, Gov. Tony Evers increased the annual program funding to $750,000 in the 2019-’21 state budget. For more information about current producer-led projects and contact information for groups, visit https:// datcp.wi.gov/Pages/Programs_ Services/ProducerLedProjects.aspx. First-Time 2021 Grant Award Recipients • Biological Farming Friends: $16,500 BC�T February 39

Now News . . .

continued from pg. 39

• Farmers of Barron County: $17,200 • Farmers of Mill Creek: $31,749 • Farmers for the Upper Sugar River: $31,749 • Horse Creek Farmer-Led Watershed Council: $28,950 • Lafayette Ag Stewardship Alliance: $30,000 • Ozaukee County Clean Farm Families: $30,000 • Peninsula Pride Farms: $30,000

• Producers of Lake Redstone: $30,000 • Red Cedar Conservation Farmers: $30,000 • Sauk Soil and Water Improvement Group: $30,000 • Sheboygan River Progressive Farmers: $35,000 • The Shell Lake - Yellow River Farmer-Led Watershed Council: $12,750

• S outh Kinni Farmer-Led Watershed Council: $15,000 • T ainter Creek Farmer-Led Watershed Council: $30,000 •U plands Watershed Group: $13,000 •W atershed Protection Committee of Racine County: $40,000 •W estern Wisconsin Conservation Council: $30,000 • Y ahara Pride Farms: $30,000

Tuition Guarantee for Farm & Industry Short Course UW-Madison announces funds for students with family incomes below $60,000 Training future farmers on the latest science-based management and production techniques is at the core of the University of Wisconsin (UW)Madison College of Agricultural & Life Sciences’ mission.

prevent Wisconsin residents from pursuing their dreams to learn about agribusiness, and UW-Madison is pledging funds to ensure all state students can pursue a career in agriculture.

Since 1886, the college has provided training to tens of thousands of agricultural professionals through the Farm and Industry Short Course (FISC) program.

Through a new financial assistance

Financial limitations should not 40 BC�T February

program called the “Farm and Industry Short Course Tuition Promise,” the university will guarantee all FISC students from Wisconsin with family incomes below $60,000—the median income in the state—will have their tuition funded by gifts and grants.

Above: Farm and Industry Short Course (FISC) students visit a greenhouse at Natural Beauty, a wholesale floral operation in Denmark, Wisconsin, in November 2017. A new financial assistance program, “Farm and Industry Short Course Tuition Promise,” guarantees that all FISC students from Wisconsin with a family income below $60,000 will have their tuition funded by gifts and grants.

“We are excited to demonstrate our strong commitment to training future farmers and agricultural professionals through this new financial assistance program,” says Kate VandenBosch, dean of the College of Agricultural & Life Sciences. “In light of the recent financial hardships facing many of those in Wisconsin agriculture, we are pleased to make this commitment to training future generations of agricultural leaders,” VandenBosch adds.

& Life Sciences. Participants take courses on the UW-Madison campus during the stretch of time between fall harvest and spring planting. The curriculum covers topics such as crops, dairy, meat animals, agricultural engineering, farm business planning, agribusiness, human relations and communications. Coursework

involves lectures, hands-on labs and tours. Students can apply now to FISC for fall 2021 courses. Scholarship decision announcements, including FISC Tuition Promise, begin in the spring. For more on the program, visit fisc. cals.wisc.edu. continued on pg. 42

AFFORDABLE FLAGSHIP UNIVERSITY The FISC Tuition Promise program shares the same goal as UWMadison’s Bucky’s Tuition Promise: to ensure the state’s flagship public university is affordable for Wisconsin students and families. Unlike Bucky’s Tuition Promise, however, the FISC program does not involve federal financial aid, so FISC students do not need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Instead, students qualify by completing a FISC scholarship application after they have been admitted to the program. “Due to the success and generosity of our graduates and supporters, FISC has been able to provide scholarships to our students for decades,” says Director Jennifer Blazek. “With the launch of the FISC Tuition Promise, we are strengthening our commitment to ensuring that students with the greatest need are not discouraged from applying and attending.” Additional scholarships will continue to be available for students who do not qualify for the FISC Tuition Promise. All admitted students are strongly encouraged to complete a FISC scholarship application to be eligible for support. Farm and Industry Short Course is the primary farmer-training program offered by the College of Agricultural BC�T February 41

Now News. . .

continued from pg. 41

Robot Tells Growers When to Water Crops Autonomous unit samples plant leaves and measures water potential A group of researchers from the University of California (UC)Riverside and UC Merced have received a grant for more than $1 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the National Science Foundation’s National Robotics Initiative. Representing the group from UC Riverside are Assistant Professor Konstantinos Karydis and Professor Amit K. Roy-Chowdhury, both from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. UC Merced, which leads the effort, is represented by Stefano Carpin, professor of computer science, and Joshua Viers, professor of environmental engineering. The group is developing a robotic pressure chamber that can autonomously sample leaves and immediately test them on site to provide the freshest data. The system will work to gather data even in large fields, and over time, rather than just providing a snapshot. Frequently updated data can help growers better plan irrigation schedules to conserve water, optimize the time and effort spent by crop specialists tasked with determining and analyzing lead water potential, and help decrease some of the costs in the food production chain. Current measuring techniques involve collecting leaf samples and transporting them to an offsite location where testers can use accurate, expensive pressure chambers, or sampling and analyzing

42 BC�T February

leaves in the field using hand-held pressure chambers. TRAVELS ALONG ROWS The project builds on an existing robot developed at UC Merced and UC Berkeley called the Robot-Assisted Precision Irrigation Delivery, or RAPID, system, which travels along rows of crops adjusting irrigation flows according to sensor data that tells the robot precisely what is needed for each plant. The new mobile unit will use the same base robot as in RAPID but equip it with a custom-made robotic leaf sampler and pressure chamber being designed by the researchers at UC Riverside, and pair it with drones that can survey the fields and direct the robot to areas of interest.

Above: The base robot for the new plant-moisture-measuring system that researchers are developing will navigate rows of crops to reach individual leaves and stems.

The researchers plan to have the first set of automated pressure chamber prototypes fabricated by spring 2021, and to evaluate their performance and refine designs in controlled settings over spring and summer 2021. They expect to have a completed setup by winter 2022 so they can begin controlled field testing. To read the whole story, visit https:// news.ucr.edu/articles/2020/11/19/ robot-tells-growers-when-watercrops-way.

Coalition Researching Kernza

Goal is to adopt and produce America’s first commercial perennial grain A multi-state coalition of researchers, farmers, educators, industry leaders, policy experts and climate scientists, including researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was recently awarded a competitive fiveyear, $10 million grant. The grant is through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) program on sustainable agricultural systems. The grant helps fund the research, production, awareness and commercialization of Kernza®, the first commercial perennial grain in the United States. Kernza is the trademark name for the perennial grain harvested from new varieties of intermediate wheatgrass (Thinopyrum intermedium), a forage grass that has been used by farmers across the United States for decades. As a perennial, Kernza is planted once and provides several years of harvestable grain. It has a deep root system that provides multiple environmental benefits, including improving water and soil quality and reducing soil erosion. Additionally, research has shown that this new perennial grain can increase farm income due to decreased inputs and costs from reduced tilling, pesticide requirements and nutrient runoff. “Developing agroecosystems that provide healthy food while reducing environmental impacts in the face of climate change is a top global priority for agricultural research,” says Valentín Picasso, an assistant professor in the UW-Madison Department of Agronomy and a coprincipal investigator on the grant.

Valentin Picasso, assistant professor in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Agronomy, stands in a field of Kernza®. Photo courtesy of Picasso

HUMAN & LIVESTOCK CONSUMPTION “Cropping systems that include perennial forages and grain crops, such as Kernza, can contribute to food for humans and feed for livestock while reducing environmental impacts and increasing resilience to climate change relative to annual cropping systems,” he says. Picasso has years of Kernza research experience as part of his efforts to assess the management of perennial dual-purpose crops in sustainable forage and grazing systems. Since graduate school, he has been an active collaborator with The Land Institute, the non-profit agricultural research organization that developed Kernza. As leader of the new AFRI project’s agronomy-focused objectives, Picasso will oversee efforts to explore Kernza variety evaluation, fertilizer optimization and on-farm research continued on pg. 44


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Now News. . .

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to develop best management practices. Other members of the UW-Madison team include Michael Bell, professor of community and environmental sociology; Julie Dawson, associate professor and extension specialist in the Department of Horticulture, and Carrie Labowski, professor and extension specialist in the Soil Science Department. The team also includes Diane Mayerfeld, outreach specialist in the UW-Madison Division of Extension; Samuel Pratsch, researcher with Extension; Gene Schriefer, outreach specialist with Extension; and Dave Stoltenberg, professor of agronomy. Beef farmers John and Dorothy Priske, owners of Fountain Prairie Farm, are partners on the project. PERENNIAL PRODUCTION The long-term goal of the AFRI project, formally titled “Developing and Deploying a Perennial Grain Crop Enterprise to Improve Environmental Quality and Rural Prosperity,” is to develop a blueprint for U.S. agricultural perennial production systems. By building the support system necessary to successfully increase Kernza acres, this project aims to improve the environmental sustainability of food production and demonstrate the viability of new perennial crops as real economic opportunities for farmers and rural communities. “The Land Institute [Kansas] launched the research and development of Kernza nearly two decades ago,” explains Rachel Stroer, acting president of The Land Institute, a partner in the project.

44 BC�T February

“This grant is built on years of active collaboration among the stakeholders and is an exciting step toward our vision for Kernza and other future perennial grains being developed at The Land Institute and partner institutions globally,” she says. This project, informally called the Kernza Cap project, brings together partners from multiple states to form teams that will lead research and activities focused on breeding, agronomics, environmental quality, supply chains and education. Each team is composed of academic and non-academic experts, including researchers, industry leaders, farmers, educators and policymakers representing 10 universities and 24 non-profit and farm and food organizations. A sixth team focused on integration will be charged with ensuring that the project’s many partners are communicating and crosscollaborating effectively and efficiently. INTEGRATION Dr. Jacob Jungers, assistant professor in the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics at the University of Minnesota and leading coordinator of the project, explains, “A critical part of the Kernza Cap is integration.” “The project will align research, education, commercialization and implementation efforts to operate in concert on a local to national scale,” Jungers says. “This project will simultaneously advance the genetics of Kernza, guide farmers on how to grow it, and partner with companies on how to use and market it.” “We envision this collaborative approach will ensure that Kernza

is agronomically sound, economically viable and environmentally sustainable,” Jungers states. Results from the Kernza Cap will include new cultivars that yield more grain and enhance critical ecosystem services, a better understanding of those ecosystem services, best agronomic management practices for Kernza production, as well as multiple operating regional supply chains and increased national market demand for the grain. Additional goals of the project include developing a wide range of educational materials for teaching perennial agriculture concepts in not only grades K-12, but also higher education and adult learning contexts, as well as piloting opportunities and approaches for state and federal policies that support increased Kernza production. The Kernza Cap project officially launched on September 1. More information on Kernza, the project partners, updates and reports on research findings, additional press materials, and field day demonstration information can be found on https://kernza.org/ kernzacap/. The project progress will also be shared regularly through Twitter: @MKernza, IG: umn_sustainable_ crops and the hashtag #KernzaCAP. This work is supported by AFRI Sustainable Agricultural Systems Coordinated Agricultural Program (SAS-CAP) grant no. 2020-6801231934 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

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Elizabeth Gallenberg Passes Away

She worked in potatoes and at the Pea Canning factory in Antigo Elizabeth Gallenberg, of Bryant, Wisconsin, died Thursday, January 7, 2021, at home under the care of her family and LeRoyer Hospice. She was 91 years old. She was born on March 3, 1929, in the town of Rolling, a daughter of Joseph and Martha (Babler) Drexler. She married James Gallenberg on June 7, 1947, at St. John Catholic Church in Antigo. He preceded her in death on April 26, 2000. She attended Fernwood Grade School and worked in potatoes and at the Pea Canning factory, in Antigo, prior to marriage. She and her husband operated a dairy and potato farm in the town of Neva. She enjoyed fishing, completing puzzles, knitting and crocheting. Survivors include three daughters, Janet (Leonard) Fleischman, Antigo, Mary Gallenberg, Rochester,

Minnesota, and Jeanne Gallenberg, Rochester, Minnesota; six sons, Donald (Sue) Gallenberg, Wausau, David Gallenberg, Bryant, DeWayne (Pat) Gallenberg, Rochester, Minnesota, Dale (Pam) Gallenberg, River Falls, Dennis (Kim) Gallenberg, Elk River, Minnesota, Darwin Gallenberg, Bryant; a sister, Frances Gallenberg, Antigo; 13 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by one grandson; three sisters, Anna Cronen, Martha Gallenberg and Lorraine Kirsch; and six brothers, Ray, Clarence, Jim, Donald, John and Joseph Jr. A funeral mass was held on Saturday, January 9, at St. John Catholic Church, with Rev. Charles Hoffmann officiating. Burial took place in Queen of Peace Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to St. John Catholic Church,

Elizabeth Gallenberg March 3, 1929 – January 7, 2021

415 Sixth Ave., Antigo, WI 54409, or LeRoyer Hospice, 112 East Fifth Ave., Antigo, WI 54409. Online condolences can be left at www.bradleyfh.com.

Karen Rasmussen Reaches 25 Year Milestone WPVGA recognizes loyal financial officer for hard work and dedication On December 1, 2020, Financial Officer Karen Rasmussen marked her 25th year working full-time for the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA).



46 BC�T February


The industry is fortunate to have such a hardworking,

dedicated and loyal employee. On behalf of the entire industry, we’d like to offer a sincere “Thank You” to Karen for her outstanding service as well as “Congratulations” on reaching this milestone. Great job, Karen!

Spudman Introduces Dream Team

Rookie of the Year also honored during virtual presentation

Beau Hartline Farm Manager, Alsum Farms & Produce

Chad Hutchinson Global Director of Potato Research & Market Support, TriCal Group

Spudman magazine, a publication dedicated to the U.S. potato industry, recently announced the winners of its second-annual Dream Team awards program. The program was created in 2019 to 21-02 Badger Common'Tater (7x5).v1.pdf honor outstanding individuals across

Sastry Jayanty Colorado State University, Potato Postharvest Physiology Professor

all facets of the potato industry. The Dream Team awards are sponsored by Yara North America. “This year’s team is a collection of six potato industry all-stars doing fantastic work. All play a key role in 1 2021-01-07 AM their individual 11:34 organizations, but

David Johnson Production Supervisor, Potandon Produce

also in the U.S. potato industry and its ongoing mission to help feed the world,” says Spudman Managing Editor Zeke Jennings. “Thank you to everyone who took the time to nominate this year’s team,” continued on pg. 48

BC�T February 47

People. . .

continued from pg. 47

Jennings adds. “We’d also like to extend special thanks to the folks at Yara North America for their continued support.”

at Potandon Produce in Idaho.

David’s ability to think from every angle of production, from field to retail, and his leadership This year’s Spudman are what set him apart, Dream Team: says Larissa Dawson Beau Hartline, Field of HZPC Americas. She Manager, Alsum Farms remarks, “David is direct Grant Morris Rookie of the Year: Guthry Laurie & Produce, Friesland, when he needs to be Co-Owner, Schneider Farms Farm Manager, Walther Farms Wisconsin direct and hilarious when Hartline is a field manager the situation allows. for one of the Midwest’s biggest Sastry Jayanty, Extension SpecialistThat makes him a relatable linchpin Postharvest Physiologist, Colorado potato growers. Larry Alsum, CEO between an array of people.” State University of Alsum Farms & Produce, says Grant Morris, Co-Owner, Schneider Jayanty is one of the industry’s allBeau’s standout characteristics Farms-Pasco, Pasco, Washington stars when it comes to postharvest are his savvy ability at making the Morris has emerged as a leader in research. right technology application for the his home state of Washington on the A member of the team at the San given situation, which comes from a Washington State Potato Commission Luis Valley Research Center in balance of instinct and experience, and at the national level as a delegate as well as his positive can-do attitude. Colorado, Jayanty’s extensive work and committee member of the in maximizing potatoes in storage, National Potato Council. Chad Hutchinson, Global Director including research on shrinking of Potato Research & Market and pressure bruising, has helped A partner at Schneider Farms, Morris growers around the world avoid Support, TriCal Group is called one of the “premier growers countless monetary losses. He has Hutchinson is a master of soil in the Columbia Basin” by Mike also contributed to the development health, crop nutrition and disease Hawley of Hawley Farms. of nine new cultivars. suppression. He is one of the Rookie of the Year: Guthry Laurie, David Johnson, Production industry’s leaders in research of the Farm Manager, Walther Farms, Cass Coordinator, Potandon Produce, emerging fumigant, chloropicrin. City, Michigan Idaho Falls, Idaho Hutchinson is not shy about sharing Logistics is a key part of any A new aspect to the Dream Team his research to aid others, as he is perishable food supply chain, and this year, the Rookie of the Year is often a speaker at potato-related Johnson is proving to be a master to recognize someone taking their in his role as production coordinator educational events, like Potato Expo. career to new heights.

SUPPORT YOUR FELLOW WPVGA MEMBERS When you need goods or services, please consider asking our Associate Division Members for quotes or explore what they have to offer. Together, we make a strong organization and appreciate how wonderful we are as a group. 48 BC�T February

Laurie, who manages one of Walther Farms’ operations in Michigan, participated in the 2020 Potato Industry Leadership Institute, where he was voted as the standout member of the group by his peers. Laurie also became a commissioner of the Michigan Potato Industry Commission in 2019. To see the awards presentation video, visit spudman.com/videos. Spudman has more on this year’s Dream Team honorees in its February 2021 issue.

NPC News

Quarles Appointed to USDA/USTR Committee NPC CEO Kam Quarles to advise on trade in fruits and vegetables On January 14, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer announced the appointment of 67 members, including National Potato Council CEO Kam Quarles, to serve on seven agricultural trade advisory committees.

existing trade agreements and the negotiation of new agreements.

The Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee is comprised of senior representatives from across the U.S. agricultural community who provide advice to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and USTR on trade policy matters, including the operation of

“I’m honored to be appointed to this committee and to join Jared Balcom [NPC representative on the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee] in representing the national potato industry on trade

Members of the six Agricultural Technical Advisory Committees provide advice and guidance from the perspective of their specific product sectors. Quarles will serve as an advisor on the Trade in Fruits and Vegetables Committee.

continued on pg. 50

National Potato Council CEO Kam Quarles will serve as an advisor on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Trade in Fruits and Vegetables Committee.


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BC�T February 49

NPC News. . .

continued from pg. 49

matters,” Quarles says. “With over 20 percent of our production destined for foreign markets, it is essential that we remain fully engaged in these trade issues on behalf of U.S. growers.”

This group of appointed advisors will serve until 2025. Applications are encouraged at any time and will be considered for future appointments. Application information and a

complete list of committee members are available by visiting https://www. fas.usda.gov/topics/trade-advisorycommittees.

Diercks Represents NPC on Potato Sustainability Alliance Andy Diercks of Coloma, Wisconsin, was elected to the Potato Sustainability Alliance Executive Committee for a two-year term as secretary. In January, Mark Darrington of Delco, Idaho, and Chris Olsen of Othello, Washington, were elected to the Board of Directors of the Potato Sustainability Alliance (PSA) to represent the National Potato Council (NPC). In addition, Diercks, an NPC representative, was elected to the PSA Executive Committee. Darrington and Olsen replace Ed Schneider of Pasco, Washington, and Dan Moss of Rupert, Idaho, as NPC representatives on the

PSA Board. Schneider and Moss have been engaged with NPC’s initial sustainability efforts since 2009 through the first year of the newly formed Potato Sustainability Alliance. They will continue their leadership within other sectors of the U.S. potato industry. “We are excited to have both Mark and Chris representing the U.S. potato industry and the organization on helping to define sustainability in potato production. They are prepared to fill the roles being vacated by Dan and Ed, who have become known in the industry as the experts on sustainability efforts,” states NPC COO Mike Wenkel.

Andy Diercks of Coloma Farms was elected to the Potato Sustainability Alliance Executive Committee.

For more information on NPC’s sustainability efforts, visit https:// www.nationalpotatocouncil.org/ benefits-of-potatoes/sustainability/.

WPIB Focus

Wisconsin Potato Assessment Collections: Two-Year Comparison





























































50 BC�T February

Importing New Potato Genetic Material

Plant Germplasm Quarantine Program improves industry and U.S. Potato Genebank collection By Michelle E. Marks, Ph.D., plant pathologist, Plant Germplasm Quarantine Program (PGQP), USDA-APHIS-PPQ-Field Operations; Ronald D. French, Ph.D., lead plant pathologist and potato program manager, Plant Germplasm Quarantine Program (PGQP), USDA-APHIS-PPQ-Field Operations; and John Bamberg, Ph.D., professor and USDA/ARS geneticist, plants, project leader, U.S. Potato Genebank All photos courtesy of USDA-APHIS-PPQ-FO-PGQP. U.S. potato breeders, horticulturists, pathologists and researchers are constantly searching for desirable traits in diverse potato germplasm, which includes living plants, true seeds or tubers and the genetic resources contained within. Easy access to such germplasm, and the ability to import plant materials with traits of interest to the United States, is critical for the continued success and viability of the U.S. potato industry. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ)

Field Operations (FO) Plant Germplasm Quarantine Program (PGQP), in Beltsville, Maryland, facilitates the introduction of new potato germplasm. The germplasm is to be used in support of U.S. potato production by academia, state, federal and private industry, among others. Some germplasm that is of common domain or freely available worldwide will also be maintained at the USDA ARS U.S. Potato Genebank, located in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. When potato germplasm of interest is not already present within the United

States, the first step is importation through PGQP via its Potato Germplasm Quarantine Program. At PGQP, potatoes or tuber-bearing Solanum spp., in addition to many other plant types including certain grasses, stone fruits, pome fruits, sweet potatoes, woody ornamentals and more, are tested for a variety continued on pg. 52

Above: Potato pathogen testing includes visual observations of leaves, stems and tubers recorded at harvest, in addition to molecular, serological and bioassay-based tests that were carried out during the season. BC�T February 51

Importing New Potato Genetic Material. . . continued from pg. 51

Left: Viral particles are observed using transmission electron microscopy as part of the Plant Germplasm Quarantine Program. Right: Accessions of potato and other tuber-bearing species of Solanum are maintained in tissue culture as part of the Plant Germplasm Quarantine Program.

of pathogens of quarantine importance before they are released into the United States.

significant pathogens and facilitate the safe international movement of propagative plant material.

The quarantine process protects against the entry and establishment of economically and environmentally deleterious pests.

Each individual potato accession received, or a subsample of a potato seed lot, is tested using several different diagnostic methods.

The PGQP is capable of processing both clonal (plant, tissue culture or tuber) potato germplasm as well as botanical seed, known as true potato seed (TPS), at no cost to the importer.

Over 100 individual clonal accessions and seed lots are tested each year in the program by staggered testing, to maximize space, personnel and infrastructure availability. Under ideal conditions, PGQP can test 75 clonal accessions and 50 TPS lots in a season.

Anyone wishing to import prohibited genera for propagation, including individuals, companies, state or federal researchers, repositories or arboreta, and university scientists, must use PGQP to import foreign plant material. ONLY LEGAL MEANS Currently, PGQP is the only legal means to import propagative material of prohibited genera, such as potatoes. Two major goals of PGQP are to protect U.S. agriculture and its natural resources against the entry, establishment and spread of economically and environmentally 52 BC�T February

Diagnostic methods include molecular-based assays capable of detecting phytoplasmas, and bacterial, viral and viroid pathogens. Diagnostics involve techniques such as amplification of target pathogen genetic material through polymerase chain reaction (PCR), reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR), quantitative PCR (qPCR) and dot-blot hybridization. Serological-based ELISA (enzymelinked immunosorbent assay) tests detect primarily viral and some

bacterial pathogenas. Extensive biological assays are also conducted, using up to 10 different species of indicator plants including six Nicotiana spp., two Chenopodium spp., Datura stramonium and Gomphrena globosa. These indicator plants can show symptom development that may or may not be present in the potato accession, especially if the potato is tolerant or has good resistance to the pathogen. TESTING PROGRAM Transmission electron microscopy is also used to visualize viral particles in plant extracts. Newer techniques, such as High-Throughput Sequencing (HTS), are beginning to be used regularly as part of the testing program. The first release of potatoes tested by HTS occurred in 2020 with select potato introductions. HTS is a technology used to detect the DNA or RNA of viruses and other potential pathogens that are found by sequencing the nucleic acids in plant extracts.

Some of the most frequently encountered pathogens in the testing program include Potato virus S (PVS), Potato virus M (PVM), and Potato virus Y (PVY). Detections of Potato virus X (PVX) and Potato leaf roll virus (PLRV) are also common. Though many potato pathogens already exist in the United States, there is always the potential for new strains, races or populations that might be more aggressive and destructive to potatoes and other plants that serve as hosts for these pathogens, many of which are transmitted or vectored by insects and other arthropods. Any plant accessions found to be infected by one or more pathogens, usually viruses, can undergo tissue culture therapy upon request to eliminate the pathogen(s). Ideally, therapy will be done in time to re-test these accessions the following testing season. Plants from therapy can use up to twice the space and resources as the newly arrived plant material to make sure that success in therapy occurred on at least one tissue culture copy of the infected accession. Meristem-tip culture, chemotherapy (antiviral) and thermotherapy (heat) are currently being used to eradicate plant pathogens, such as viruses, from infected imported plant material. In addition to performing therapies, the tissue culture lab transfers and stores incoming clonal accessions and maintains them in tissue culture until they are tested and released. U.S. POTATO GENEBANK Fortunately, stakeholders do not always need to import potato germplasm from abroad to work with traits of interest. The U.S. Potato Genebank (USPG) serves as a central repository to receive, house, evaluate and distribute potato germplasm stocks and data. Its services are available to both private and public institutions and individuals. Some of the plant

“Some of the most popular potatoes grown today have their roots in the U.S. Potato Genebank, including Atlantic and Yukon Gold.” material that is imported via PGQP ends up at the USPG if there are no proprietary restrictions or agreements. Strong support from the Wisconsin potato industry and research community, in the late 1940’s, led to the USPG being established in the state, and Sturgeon Bay was chosen because it is in an area removed from the main potato production regions in Central Wisconsin. Today, the USPG still has strong ties to the University of Wisconsin system. The USPG boasts some impressive statistics that highlight how

important it is to the U.S. potato production industry. Approximately 70 percent of potatoes grown in the country were bred using material obtained from the USPG somewhere in their lineage. Additionally, some of the most popular potatoes grown today have their roots in the USPG, including Atlantic and Yukon Gold. Significant advancements in potato resistance to several pathogens have also been made by taking advantage of resistance genes present within exotic species such as Solanum continued on pg. 54

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Importing New Potato Genetic Material. . . continued from pg. 53

The Vegetable Germplasm Quarantine Program team inoculates indicator plants with sap from imported potato plants to find pathogens difficult to detect in resistant germplasm.

chacoense and S. andigena held by the USPG (https://www.ars.usda.gov/ ARSUserFiles/‌274/Bamberg‌%20Docs/ NRSP6_Impact.pdf). The cultivar Atlantic is an excellent example of how collaborations between PGQP and USPG can be highly beneficial for the U.S. potato industry. ATLANTIC ANCESTRY The “grandparents” of Atlantic were imported in 1949 and 1953 from Argentina and England, respectively, and would have gone through plant quarantine procedures in what was then the equivalent of PGQP before

being stored in the USPG. Released in 1976, Atlantic was still among the top 10 certified seed acres, in 2018, and the payoff to U.S. agriculture since its development is nearly incalculable. Yukon Gold, another cultivar extremely common on American plates, also has germplasm that passed through the PGQP and USPG in its lineage. Repositories like the USPG also play a key role in the protection of crop diversity and robust agriculture. As the various pressures on potato

production change, having a wide pool of germplasm in which to easily draw from has tremendous value. Further, by maintaining and distributing germplasm that was cleared for release and, if necessary, cleaned of pathogens by PGQP, the lengthy and costly process of moving potato germplasm through quarantine does not need to be repeated with every new request for the same genetic material. Together, the Plant Germplasm Quarantine Program and the U.S. Potato Genebank provide potato scientists, breeders and other potato enthusiasts two avenues for obtaining and storing novel Solanum germplasm. The PGQP and USPG protect U.S. potato production and natural resources from harmful and invasive pathogens that might have otherwise been introduced if such quarantine programs did not exist.

Left: Symptoms of Potato virus X in Gomphrena globosa are evident two weeks after inoculation with sap from an infected potato plant. Right: Potato seedlings from imported botanical seed (true potato seed, TPS) grow in a Plant Germplasm Quarantine Program greenhouse. Lots must achieve greater than 50 percent germination to continue in the quarantine testing process. 54 BC�T February

For more information about importing potato germplasm, please visit https:// www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/ planthealth/import-information/permits/ plants-and-plant-products-permits/ prohibited/Importation-of-Plant-Parts-forPropagation/ct_contact. Contact Ronald French, vegetable program leader, ronald.d.french@usda.gov. More information can be found about the U.S. Potato Genebank at https://www. ars.usda.gov/midwest-area/madison-wi/ vegetable-crops-research/people/johnbamberg/bamberg-lab/.


By Dana Rady, WPVGA Director of Promotions and Consumer Education

Fresh Wisconsin Potato Sales Exceed Expectations WPVGA Promotions Committee partners with Chicago Jewel Osco stores Fresh Wisconsin potato sales more than doubled during a period in which the WPVGA Promotions Committee partnered with a major retail chain in the Windy City last fall.

wearing their shirts beyond the promotion. The retail chain also confirmed continued on pg. 56

Above: The impressive Wisconsin potato display was prominently located during a promotion that took place at 188 Jewel Osco stores in the Chicago area, October 14 to November 3, 2020.

As the dominant retail chain in Chicago, Jewel Osco reports a 58.5 percent increase in dollar sales and an 89.8 percent increase in units between October 14 and November 3, 2020, compared with the same period the previous year. The data includes sales of russets, reds and yellows that are part of the chain’s brand, Signature Farms. The promotion across Jewel Osco’s 188 stores included in-store displays and banners, T-shirts for employees, consumer ads, a static billboard and two digital posters, all strategically placed in areas with high-traffic volumes. The displays and ads lasted three weeks, though Jewel confirmed many produce employees continued

Digital posters located at Addison Street and on Clark and Diversey, in Chicago, provide the repetition needed to make an impact on consumers in the Chicago market, encouraging them to enjoy Wisconsin potatoes! BC�T February 55

Marketplace. . .

continued from pg. 55

potato sales overall remained up over 10 percent from the end of the promotion through December 2020. STORE LEVEL This is a statistic that Bushmans’ Inc. Director of Business Development Michael Gatz says would not have occurred without effective implementation at each store. Bushmans’ Inc. is the main potato

56 BC�T February

brokerage for Jewel Osco and purchases potatoes from a number of Wisconsin growers who are part of its supply group. “It all comes down to execution at the store level to make [promotions like these] successful,” Gatz says. In general, fresh potato sales have remained consistent since COVID-19 took hold in the United States, in

Current and Opposite Page: Jewel Osco employees proudly wear their Wisconsin potato shirts while posing next to in-store displays during the potato promotion, October 14-November 3, 2020.

early 2020. However, Gatz says the sales data from Jewel in the fresh potato category were still higher than reports from other retail chains in the same period.

“We did not see this spike in sales at other retail stores of the same size during the same timeframe,” Gatz remarks, a point that indicates an expansion on top of the alreadyexisting increase attributed to COVID-19. Ultimately, this means more Wisconsin potatoes getting into the hands of more consumers, as recognition of the importance of buying local spreads. And that is certainly something worth celebrating!

United Potato Growers Meeting to be Held Virtually As the necessity of virtual gatherings continues in 2021, the United Potato Growers Cooperative of Wisconsin is following suit by holding its annual meeting online. The meeting will be held via Zoom on Thursday, February 18, 2021, beginning at 11 a.m. The format will be condensed to two hours to provide information in a more digestible amount of time. Like previous years, the first part of the meeting will be open to members and non-members with the latter half reserved for members only.

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Contrary to previous years, no paper invites will be mailed. Instead, all information will be provided in the Badger Common’Tater and WPVGA’s weekly electronic newsletter, Tater Talk. If you have questions about the meeting or would like technical assistance with Zoom in advance of the meeting, please contact Dana Rady at drady0409@gmail.com or via phone at 715-610-6350.


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come with increased warranty coverage, which encompasses: • 8-year coverage for tire workmanship and material with prorated refund based on years in service and percentage of wear • 2-year, no-cost replacement • New 1-year field hazard protection plan • 2-year stubble damage protection plan • Certain exclusions apply For more information, visit www.titan-intl.com.

Its rugged zero-degree bar with supported lug center creates superior durability and longevity. Additional features include: • Non-directional pattern design provides maximum traction in both forward and reverse • Designed for self-cleaning to decrease rolling resistance while in the field • Available sizes include 290/85R38 and 380/85R24 • New 8-Year Warranty All radial agriculture Titan Tires, including the Hi-Dration Lug, now

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58 BC�T February

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Electric Motors Coupled with Pumps

High-horsepower single-phase units ensure “out of box” productivity Single Phase Power Solutions, the world’s only manufacturer of highhorsepower (HP) single-phase electric motors, matches them to pumps, providing instant productivity. Available from 30 to 100 HP, the pump solutions are easily installed by simply connecting to available singlephase utility power. They do not require a phase converter or Variable Frequency Drive (VFD). The company incorporates its Belle Single-Phase MotorT, which uses Written-PoleR technology to power standard suction-end centrifugal, rotary-gear and turbine pumps in horizontal and vertical configurations. These pump solutions are ideal for irrigation, drinking water distribution, well pumps, aquifer management, water treatment, and wastewater pumping, collection, treatment and discharge, as well as other water and wastewater processing applications. With expertise in systems design and manufacturing, the Single Phase Power Solutions team helps determine the correct materials and style of pump to suit specific application requirements. Available in ratings from 30-100 HP, Belle MotorsT are a far more

economical alternative to powering pumps with a genset in areas where three-phase power is not readily available. Operating costs savings, coupled with elimination of expenses for fuel, filters, maintenance and more, allow fast payback. With much lower startup inrush amperage, they are more utility friendly than using VFD’s or phase converters. IDEAL FOR AGRICULTURE Belle MotorsT are ideal for many industrial, agricultural, mining, municipal, and oil and gas applications. In addition to pumps, they are perfect for compressors, injection wells, blowers, fans, dryers, water and wastewater processing, and more. “We’ve been helping customers match pumps to motors for years, so coupling them at the factory on a skid for fast and easy installation was a logical progression,” says Single Phase Power Solutions President Drew Abbott. “These pump systems are designed together, so they take the guesswork out of selecting components,” Abbott adds. “Simply connect to available single-phase utility power, set it and

forget it.” Single Phase Power Solutions manufactures the world’s only large horsepower single phase motor. The company’s use of patented Written-PoleR technology delivers a robust and reliable solution for many agricultural, industrial, municipal, oil and gas, and emerging market applications requiring large horsepower motors. This capability frees customers from the restrictions of only having access to a single-phase power line. In addition to a full range of Belle MotorsT, from 30 to 100 HP, Single-Phase Power Solutions also manufactures a 1-to-3 PowerSourceT solution that generates clean, highquality three-phase power from a single-phase line. It is ideal for packaged equipment requiring a three-phase power source. For additional information, visit www. sppowersolutions.com, or contact sales@sppowersolutions.com, 877-430-5634, Single Phase Power Solutions, LLC, 5460 Muddy Creek Road, Cincinnati, OH 45238. BC�T February 59

Reinventing Potato as a Diploid Crop

Worldwide breeding project promises benefits to growers and consumers By Caroline Schneider, University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS), Office of External Relations

Potatoes are a widely loved vegetable. Baked, mashed, fried or chipped, they are a tasty treat. But they are not perfect. Potatoes present a big challenge for the plant breeders who work on the crop, trying to develop new varieties that are more savory, sustainable, storable or growable. “Potato is the world’s leading vegetable crop, but it hasn’t

realized the genetic gains needed to keep pace with industry and consumer demands,” says Jeff Endelman, associate professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) Department of Horticulture, and head of the potato breeding program. One of the main hurdles when breeding potatoes is its tetraploid genome. Tetraploids inherit two sets of chromosomes from each parent

instead of just one set, like humans and most animals. “Tetraploidy is common enough among flowering plants that scientists believe it has advantages on evolutionary time scales,” says Endelman. “But for plant breeders, it makes it difficult to understand the genetics of traits and get rid of unfavorable genes through selection.” POTATO 2.0 To circumvent the challenges of tetraploidy, potato breeders around the world are working to reinvent cultivated potato as a diploid crop, an effort informally known as “Potato 2.0.” UW–Madison is playing an important role in this effort as the lead institution for a national project titled “Developing a New Paradigm for Potato Breeding Based on True Seed.” The project was made possible through a $3 million award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI), along with $3 million in matching funds from PepsiCo and the eight universities and research institutions involved. The first step of the project is to produce diploid potatoes that still have the optimal genetics of their tetraploid relatives. This is done by pollinating tetraploid potato with special diploids that already exist and can act as “haploid inducers.” Haploid induction is a technique used in many crop species

60 BC�T February

to reduce chromosome numbers, resulting in an embryo without the chromosomes of the pollen donor. “Our goal is to create and sequence the genomes of 100 diploid potatoes, representing the russet, chip and red market types that comprise most of U.S. potato production,” Endelman explains. The next step is to create lines that can be maintained as “true seed,” which is potato jargon for what everyone else simply calls seed. SEED POTATOES The seeds currently used in potato production are pieces of tuber, each with at least one eye, from which sprouts develop to generate the next crop. continued on pg. 62

RIght: Diploid potatoes are crated after harvest at the Hancock Agricultural Research Station. Each crate is a different variety, showing variation in size and yield. Image courtesy of Filipe Matias


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Reinventing Potato as a Diploid Crop . . . continued from pg. 61

Shown at the Hancock Agricultural Research Station Field Day, in 2017, Jeff Endelman and many potato breeders around the world are working to reinvent cultivated potato as a diploid crop, an effort informally known as “Potato 2.0.”

Seed tubers are bulky, expensive to transport and potential carriers of disease.

is a big challenge in diploid potatoes, as is selecting for traits that potato growers want in those inbred lines.

“It takes about 2,000 pounds of seed tubers to plant one acre, but the amount of true seed needed would fit in the palm of your hand,” Endelman says.

That process took decades in the early 20th century for corn breeders, but Endelman hopes to do it more quickly in potato now that researchers have the genomic tools needed.

Another major focus of the project is to produce inbred, or selfpollinated, lines. Although it may sound trivial, this

Endelman is excited to see the future impacts of the overall project across the potato industry, in Wisconsin

Jeff Endelman, associate professor, UWMadison Department of Horticulture, and head of the potato breeding program, says, while potato is the world’s leading vegetable crop, it hasn’t realized the genetic gains needed to keep pace with industry and consumer demands.

and beyond. “This project marks a turning point for ‘Potato 2.0’ in the U.S.,” Endelman concludes, “and everyone is enthusiastic about the potential to more efficiently deliver genetic improvements for disease resistance, climate resilience, nutritional value and more.”

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Auxiliary News By Devin Zarda, vice president, WPGA

Hello, friends! It is weird

knowing that, at this time last year, we had just met up at the 2020 Industry Show. This year, there was no Industry Show, and the Grower Education Conference is being held virtually. It feels like everything has gone virtual or been canceled lately. But as an organization, the Wisconsin Potato Growers Auxiliary remains strong. I was recently cleaning out my kitchen cabinets when I found a recipe book that my mother-in-law had given to me. This funny looking potato-shaped cookbook is stained, pages are marked with notes, and I believe it is over 40 years old. I could not find an exact date on when this volume was published, but I was told that they were assembled on the pool table in the basement

at our farm. Whether this is a family myth or the truth, I know that I am not the only person who still has this cookbook. When I page through it, I see names like Dianne Somers with her “Easy Twice Baked Potatoes” recipe or Avis Wysocki’s “Stuperts.” RECIPES FROM AFAR There are recipes from women who lived in towns stretching from Galloway (Mrs. John Bushman) to Waukesha (Marge Fandre), Milwaukee (Elaine Damato) to Antigo (Mary Gallenburg), and my favorite creative lady, Ann Knuettel, of Iola. Ann’s recipe for “Potato Wine” is pictured here and has an uncanny (or uncorked?) appeal. These women have left an amazing legacy within the Auxiliary. While you may not find Gerri Okray’s

When Devin Zarda was cleaning out her kitchen cabinets, she found this recipe book her mother-in-law gave her. The potatoshaped cookbook is stained, pages are marked with notes, and Zarda believes it is over 40 years old. The recipes are from women who lived in towns stretching from Galloway to Waukesha, Wisconsin, with Zarda’s favorite creative lady, Ann Knuettel, being from Iola. Knuettel shared her appealing recipe for “Potato Wine.”

“Delmonico Potatoes” or Mary Lou Sargent’s “Potatoes and Meatballs” on a menu at any restaurant, you know that these recipes were created with love to feed the ones they love the most. The women then shared the recipes with others to make for their families. And this concludes today’s trip down memory lane. If you don’t hear from me in the next month, it may be because I have perfected Knuettel’s recipe for Potato Wine and won’t be leaving the farm until it wears off. Until next time,


BC�T February 63

Badger Beat Studying Potato Growth and Nitrogen Uptake Patterns

Researchers gather data on Russet Burbanks grown in nitrogen stressed and non-nitrogen limited conditions By Matt Ruark and Ashmita Rawal, University of Wisconsin (UW)-Madison Department of Soil Science

As we seek to fine-tune

nitrogen (N) fertilizer recommendations for potato in Wisconsin, empirical data to develop growth (above and below ground) and nitrogen uptake curves for commonly grown varieties is needed. During the 2020 growing season, we started research to develop growth and N uptake curves for Russet Burbank grown under N stressed conditions (where no N fertilizer was applied in season) or under non-N


Nitrogen uptake (lb/ac)

300 250

limited conditions (where 300 pounds [lbs.] of N/acre were applied during the growing season). For the 300 lbs. N/acre plots, we applied 100 lbs. N/acre three separate times (at emergence, at

tuber initiation and two weeks after tuber initiation). Preliminary data presented in Figures 1 and 2 demonstrate total N uptake patterns between late June and early August. When no N was applied, tuber bulking occurred early in the growing season (early July), with most of the continued on pg. 66

Vine Tuber Total Plant

200 150 100 50 0 6/18/20







Figure 1. Nitrogen is charted for Russet 2020, atResearch the Hancock Agricultural Figure 1: Nitrogen uptake isuptake charted for Russet Burbank, in 2020, atBurbank, the Hancockin Agricultural Station when no fertilizer was applied. N Nfertilizer was applied. 64 BC�T February


Research Stat

N fertilizer was applied.


Nitrogen uptake (lb-N/ac)

300 250

Vine Tuber Total Plant

200 150 100 50 0 6/18/20







Figure 2. Nitrogen for Russet Burbank, inAgricultural 2020, atResearch the Hancock Agricultural Figure 2: Nitrogen uptake uptake is charted is forcharted Russet Burbank, in 2020, at the Hancock Station when 300 N/acre was lbs.lbs. N/acre wasapplied. applied.

Research Statio

As expected, the unfertilized potatoes died out much earlier in the growing season compared to the fertilize (Figures 3 and 4).


This led to lower yields in the non-fertilized plots relative to fertilized plots (400 versus 515 cwt./acre) with a from small potatoes (>6 ounces) to more potatoes in the 6-10- and 10-13-ounce size classes (Figure 5). THE LINEUP TO TAKE 2021 TO THE





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BC�T February 65 12/11/20 10:07 AM

Badger Beat. . .

continued from pg. 65

N plant uptake in mid-July being in the tuber. Based on the total N uptake determined when no in-season N was applied (although 33 lbs. N/acre was applied at planting), there is still a tremendous amount of N available for uptake through irrigation, soil mineralization and plant decomposition. However, the total amount of N uptake may be overestimated here based on our sampling design. At this point in the analysis, we would encourage evaluation of the pattern in N uptake rather than the quantity. When fertilizer was applied, the N uptake in the vines was much greater compared to the plots when no N was applied, but the N uptake in the tubers didn’t start to take off until

Figure 3: Russet Burbank plants are shown, on August 6, 2020, after receiving no in-season fertilization at the Hancock Agricultural Research Station.


potatoes (Figures 3 and 4).

As expected, the unfertilized potatoes died out much earlier in the growing season compared to the fertilized

This led to lower yields in the nonfertilized plots relative to fertilized plots (400 versus 515 cwt./acre) with

Figure 4: The Russet Burbanks, pictured on August 6, 2020, received 300 lbs. N/acre of in-season nitrogen fertilizer at the Hancock Agricultural Research Station. 66 BC�T February

a large shift from small potatoes (>6 ounces) to more potatoes in the 6-10- and 10-13-ounce size classes (Figure 5). But what are the bigger implications of this work? First, this data will help future nutrient modeling efforts to guide in-season N management. There is a lack of growth and N uptake data in the region to calibrate these models. Other varieties are also being evaluated. Second, it helps us understand how timing and rate of N fertilizer affect the timing of tuber bulking as well as what to evaluate in order to understand the yield potential of the crop. At what point in the growing season is it most important to biomass an N uptake of the crop? This data would imply that potato might be a good scavenger of N in the soil system, but this scavenging does not translate into economically desirable

Figure 5: The graph shows size distribution of Russet Burbank potatoes that received 0 or 300 lbs. N/acre of in-season nitrogen fertilizer, in 2020.

yields (based both on yield and size distribution). Lastly, it highlights the need for future N-based research to be conducted outside of the Hancock

Agricultural Research Station. While this comes with challenges (from an experimental design standpoint), it is essential to understand how potatoes respond to N given different background levels of N.

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www.potatoseed.org BC�T February 67

Potatoes USA News Make Every Bite Count with Potatoes

Dietary Guidelines stress increased nutrient-dense vegetable consumption It’s official: the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans have yet again confirmed the importance of eating more vegetables such as potatoes that provide potassium and vitamin C.¹

For more information on potato nutrition and preparation please visit PotatoGoodness.com.

The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations focus on increased nutrient-dense vegetable consumption. Americans can take simple steps toward eating healthier by choosing potatoes. As a nutrient-dense vegetable, potatoes support all three healthy eating patterns—Healthy U.S., Healthy Vegetarian and Healthy Mediterranean—defined in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Potatoes’ versatility also means they can easily fit into meals across a variety of personal and cultural preferences for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For the first time in the history of the committee’s guidance on nutrition and health, the Dietary Guidelines also cover specific recommendations for individuals under two years old, supporting potatoes as a healthy first food for babies and toddlers, as well. Potatoes are a good source of potassium, providing 15 percent of the daily value per serving in addition to being an excellent source of vitamin C, with 30 percent of the daily value per serving. BOOST IMMUNE SYSTEM Vitamin C can help support the body’s immune system,² which is likely to be especially top-of-mind for Americans as we head into 2021. What’s more, research shows that you’re likely to feel full for longer³⁻⁵ and support your body with the 68 BC�T February

nutrients it needs when you choose good carbohydrates like potatoes. A serving of potatoes has 26 grams of high-quality carbohydrates that can help fuel an active lifestyle. Carbohydrates are the key fuel utilized by the brain and by muscles during exercise.⁶ Many Americans are moving to plantbased diets⁷, and obtaining enough high-quality protein is important in this process. Potatoes contain 3 grams of a complete protein that can easily be absorbed by the body.⁸-⁹ Many Americans are struggling with food insecurity and are not meeting recommendations for fruit and vegetable intake.¹⁰ Research suggests that potatoes are an affordable, nutrient-dense vegetable that provides more nutrients per penny than most other vegetables.¹¹ Potatoes are a nutritious, affordable option that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, including simple, delicious preparations with few ingredients, making them easy to incorporate into a healthy diet.

Citations: 1. U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. December 2020. Available at DietaryGuidelines.gov. 2. Vitamin C: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements website. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/ VitaminC-HealthProfessional/. Updated February 27, 2020. Accessed June 11, 2020. 3. Gelibter A, et al. Satiety following intake of potatoes and other carbohydrate test meals. Ann Nutr Metab. 2013; 62:37-43. 4. Akilen R, et al. The effects of potatoes and other carbohydrate side dishes consumed with meat on food intake, glycemia and satiety response in children. Nutr. Diabetes. 2016 ;6:e195. 5. Holt SHA, et al. A satiety index of common foods. Eur J Clin Nut. 1995; 49:675-690. 6. Thomas DT, Erdman KA, Burke, LM. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and athletic performance. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2016; 116(3):501-528. 7. 2020 Food and Health Survey. International Food Information Council website. https://foodinsight.org/wp-content/ uploads/2020/06/IFIC-Food-and-HealthSurvey-2020.pdf. Last Updated June 9, 2020. Accessed November 18, 2020. 8. Woolfe JA. The Potato in the Human Diet. 1987. Cambridge University Press. 9. King JC, Slavin JL. White potatoes, human health, and dietary guidance. Adv Nutr. 2013; 4(3):393S-401S. 10. Lee-Kwan SH, Moore LV, Blanck HM, Harris DM, Galuska D. Disparities in State-Specific Adult Fruit and Vegetable Consumption — United States, 2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2017; 66:1241–1247. Drewnowski A. New metrics of affordable nutrition: Which vegetables provide most nutrients for least cost? J Acad Nutr Diet. 2013; 113(9):1182-7.

Ali's Kitchen Please Pass the Pulled Pork Potato Latkes With Jalapeño Apple Chutney and Horseradish Sour Cream, they’re too good not to share

Column and photos by Ali Carter, Wisconsin Potato Growers Auxiliary I recently enjoyed a somewhat competitive and fun Sunday afternoon in the kitchen with my family. Inspiration was most definitely flowing as we took turns excitedly tossing out ideas to one another on how we might build upon a particular classic potato recipe. The result of our time and creativity

is one that we all agree is too delicious not to share with you! This recipe lifts the beloved potato latke from favorite side dish to a filling and flavorful main course. Crispy potato latkes are piled high with shredded smoked pork, then topped with a spicy-sweet homemade jalapeño apple chutney and a dollop of horseradish sour cream.

Ingredients: Apple Chutney • 3 apples, peeled and chopped • 1 jalapeño pepper, de-seeded and diced • juice from 1/2 lemon • 1/4 tsp. apple cider vinegar • 4 Tbsp. butter • salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients: Horseradish Sour Cream • 1/4 cup prepared, white horseradish • 1 cup sour cream • 1 dash Worcestershire sauce • 1/2 tsp. salt • 1/4 tsp. pepper

Ingredients: Latkes • 2 large russet potatoes, washed and peeled • 1/2 yellow onion • 2 eggs • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder • 1 tsp. salt • 1/4 tsp. pepper • canola oil for frying • smoked pulled pork to top the latkes

continued on pg. 70 BC�T February 69

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Ali's Kitchen. . .

continued from pg. 69

Ali Carter’s daughter, Alayna, jots down ideas and ingredients for what was to become Pulled Pork Potato Latkes with Jalapeño Apple Chutney and Horseradish Sour Cream.

Directions: Preparing the Latkes Shred the potatoes and onions using a food processor with a coarse grating disc. A large box grater can be used if you do not have a food processor. Squeeze the excess liquid from the shredded potatoes and onions by spreading them on a clean kitchen towel, wrapping the towel around the potatoes and onions, and twisting to wring out as much liquid as possible. Discard the liquid and transfer the shredded potatoes and onions to a large bowl. Stir in eggs, garlic powder, salt and pepper until all is well combined. In a large skillet, over medium heat, pour enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Once oil is hot, drop spoonsful of the potato mixture and press lightly to make 1/4- to 1/2-inchthick patties.

the process with the remaining batter. Preparing the Jalapeño Apple Chutney Place all ingredients into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally and cooking for about 10 minutes to soften the apples. Remove the saucepan from heat, cover and let sit until ready to use the Jalapeño Apple Chutney on top of the latkes. Preparing the Horseradish Sour Cream Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside until ready to use. Assembling the Deliciousness Place a latke onto a serving plate, pile on a generous amount of shredded smoked pork, top with a couple tablespoons of Jalapeño Apple Chutney and add a dollop of Horseradish Sour Cream. Serve immediately.

Cook until golden brown on each side, approximately 3-5 minutes.


Transfer the latkes to paper towel and keep them warm while you repeat

Find more recipes at www.LifeOnGraniteRidge.com.

70 BC�T February

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