Spudman January 2023 - 9

By Crystal Nay
In 2022, the National Potato
very growing season has its
challenges; trends, wins and
losses ebb and flow like any
other industry. Farmers by their very
nature are optimistic risk-takers, and
now there continues to be a spotlight
shining on the agricultural industry
with an increasingly significant level of
responsibility across all sectors.
Jared Balcom, National Potato
Council's 2022 president and fourthgeneration
grower and owner of
Balcom & Moe in Washington state,
is very familiar with the grower's
perspective on how 2022 went and
how 2023 is expected to go.
There has been a substantial
increase in costs for fertilizers, labor,
machine parts and other inputs.
Just as it was last year, inflation is
expected to be one of the largest -
if not the largest - impact on
farming operations in 2023.
" As a grower, we don't see a lot of
relief in the near future, " said Balcom.
" That concerns us, and we're going to
need to figure out how to make those
adjustments to try to compensate. "
Water was an issue the country
over, and there will always be water
issues - whether it's a strong need
for more snowpack or groundwater
recharge. The seasons themselves
affected planting and harvest times
(see " Seed Reports " in Spudman's
Nov/Dec 2022 issue).
What the seasons will look like for
2023 is anyone's guess, but what 2022
did cause was a situation of tight supply,
which will continue into the new crop.
" We're seeing good demand on
our export markets, which is a great
thing, " Balcom said. " We're going to
have to be very strategic in how we
stretch this crop out. Then we'll see
what happens with 2023. "
For growers, it's still a big
unknown moving forward. Having
a tighter supply and knowing
inflationary costs will continue to be
a challenge will force many farmers
to strategically work through these
conditions as best they can.
Council helped make history by
ending a 20+ year contention with
Mexico and opened the Mexican
border for more imports of fresh
U.S. potatoes. It required a lot of
time, tenacity and negotiation, and
was a momentous accomplishment
to have that market open again.
The potato industry as a whole
has been methodically building
that market ever since, particularly
with the help of Potatoes USA and
individual exporters.
The tighter supply has also
worked in favor of the relationship
with Mexico.
" Some of the opposition in Mexico
was a belief that there was going to
be this tidal wave of imports that
would go rolling into their country
and cause a great deal of negative
impact on the domestic growers, "
said Kam Quarles, CEO, National
Potato Council. " A lot of that was
overblown in the first place, but given
the relatively tighter supply in the
U.S., it really makes it mathematically
impossible to have that. "
From a Mexican producer's point
of view, a new, quality supplier such
as the U.S. could be an alarming
proposition, but Quarles explained
that it's more of a collaborative,
slow, methodical building of the
market that should help everyone,
including Mexican consumers, and
ultimately increase demand far
beyond previous levels.
" The battle isn't over, but we've
had some victories, and we're going
to have to keep at this for years to
make sure that we can have that
durable market we've all hoped for, "
said Quarles.
The USDA-APHIS report released
last year provided a sobering analysis
of the risk the U.S. faces regarding
potato wart entering the U.S. from
Prince Edward Island, Canada (PEI).
" We don't have potato wart, and
we never want to have potato wart, "
said Quarles. " Given the report that
APHIS put out, that's clearly their
goal as well. "
There has been a
substantial increase
in costs for fertilizers,
labor, machine parts
and other inputs.
A collaboration between USDA
and the Canadian Food Inspection
Agency to update the protocol for
export to the U.S. is the next logical
step in ensuring that the U.S. remains
without potato wart. The border
shutdown garnered a lot of attention
as disease threats from PEI grew, and
another shutdown is something the
industry is trying to avoid. Aside from
mitigating a disease risk, the effects
of such a significant trade disruption
creates a new series of complications.
" The U.S. needs that supply of
potatoes from PEI, but if they carry
disease with them, the impact to
our industry would be catastrophic.
The U.S. and Canada have to reduce
the risks that USDA's report has
identified, " said Quarles.
There are producers on both ends
of the potato wart spectrum: those
who are keen on protecting the U.S.
potato crop and its farmers, and those
who don't want to acknowledge that
the potato wart threat is a real one,
and an increasing one at that. But the
National Potato Council is hopeful
that responsible entities on both sides
of the border can manage disease
issues, and trade can continue to flow
in a responsible manner.
What the new Congress means for
farmers will continue to unfold. The
2018 Farm Bill is set to begin expiring
Sept. 30, 2023, which means the game is
on to put together a new one to replace
the previous one. Recommendations
to Congress for how to write that new
bill has come not only from the potato
industry in and of itself, but also as part
of the larger specialty crop industry.
" We've had a change in chairmanship
in the House, and that's not a reset
of the whole process, but it will alter
Spudman.com 9

Spudman January 2023

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Spudman January 2023

Spudman January 2023 - 1
Spudman January 2023 - 1A
Spudman January 2023 - 2A
Spudman January 2023 - 2
Spudman January 2023 - 3
Spudman January 2023 - 4
Spudman January 2023 - 5
Spudman January 2023 - 6
Spudman January 2023 - 7
Spudman January 2023 - 8
Spudman January 2023 - 9
Spudman January 2023 - 10
Spudman January 2023 - 11
Spudman January 2023 - 12
Spudman January 2023 - 13
Spudman January 2023 - 14
Spudman January 2023 - 15
Spudman January 2023 - 16
Spudman January 2023 - 17
Spudman January 2023 - 18
Spudman January 2023 - 19
Spudman January 2023 - 20
Spudman January 2023 - 21
Spudman January 2023 - 22
Spudman January 2023 - 23
Spudman January 2023 - 24
Spudman January 2023 - 25
Spudman January 2023 - 26
Spudman January 2023 - 27
Spudman January 2023 - 28
Spudman January 2023 - 29
Spudman January 2023 - 30
Spudman January 2023 - 31
Spudman January 2023 - 32
Spudman January 2023 - 33
Spudman January 2023 - 34
Spudman January 2023 - 35
Spudman January 2023 - 36
Spudman January 2023 - 37
Spudman January 2023 - 38
Spudman January 2023 - 39
Spudman January 2023 - 40
Spudman January 2023 - 41
Spudman January 2023 - 42
Spudman January 2023 - 43
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Spudman January 2023 - 45
Spudman January 2023 - 46
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