Breakout Sessions

Thursday, January 10

Process, Seed, Chip and Fresh Breakout Sessions designed by growers address top issues in the potato industry marketplaces.

9:00am-10:50am - Process and Seed Breakout Sessions

Process Breakout Sessions

9:00am-9:30am Maximizing Soil Biology for Disease Suppression and Yield Gains: Who do you have, who do you want, and how do you get them?
9:40am-10:10am Eyes on the Fries: Trends Driving Potatoes
10:20am-10:50am Advances in Hyperspectral Systems for Pre-symptom Detection of Potato Diseases
Seed Breakout Sessions
9:00am-9:30am Safeguarding the U.S. Seed Potato Industry Against Emerging Seed Potato-Borne Pathogens That Impact Trade and Farm Viability
9:40am-10:10am Integrated Mineral Oil and Insecticide Spraying Reduces Current Season PVY Spread
10:20am-10:50am Potato Pest Surveillance Systems in Canada and the U.S.


2:00pm-3:50pm - Chip and Fresh Breakout Sessions

Chip Breakout Sessions
2:00pm-2:30pm Potato Breeding for Southern Chipping Production
2:40pm-3:10pm Panel Discussion: Exports and Opportunities
3:20pm-3:50pm Emerging Technology in the Chip Sector
Fresh Breakout Sessions
2:00pm-2:30pm Retail Metamorphosis: Potatoes and Meal Kits
2:40pm-3:10pm Fresh Potatoes in the Foodservice Sector
3:20pm-3:50pm You Say Potatoes, We Say Profits


A Focus on the process market

Ballroom F, Level 4

Maximizing Soil Biology for Disease Suppression and Yield Gains: Who do you have, who do you want, and how do you get them?
Richard Lankau, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Soils contain some of the most complex living communities on Earth, and these organisms play crucial roles in maintaining productive and healthy crops. However, our understanding of the biological components of soil health lags far behind our understanding of soil chemical and physical properties. In this session, Dr. Lankau will discuss some general aspects of soil biology, and present early results from his research on the microbial ecology of potato soils in the upper Midwest as it relates to suppression of common scab disease and maintenance of yield under nutrient stress. Finally, he will discuss potential applications of this knowledge for predicting disease and yield levels, and for actively promoting beneficial microbial communities in potato production fields.

Eyes on the Fries: Trends Driving Potatoes
Marie Molde, MBA, RDN, Client Solutions, Datassential

Datassential shares the latest trends driving potatoes that you need to know – from shifting consumer eating patterns, next-gen health & wellness and emerging flavors to inspirations from around the world. Marie Molde will review what’s new and growing on restaurant menus – top flavors, formats and applications for potatoes – along with best-performing potato menu items and limited time offers at major restaurant chains and retailers. Together, you will pin-point how to win with potatoes with today’s consumers.

Advances in Hyperspectral Systems for Pre-symptom Detection of Potato Diseases
Amanda Gevens, Ph.D., Associate Professor & Extension Specialist, Potato & Vegetable Pathology, Plant Pathology Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Hyperspectral systems have been used to remotely characterize plant physiological status for a number of years but have only recently been shown to be useful for disease detection in potato. Late blight, while sporadic, continues to be one of the most challenging diseases to sustainably and proactively manage. Through research, we established a non-destructive method of early late blight detection in potato-based on hyperspectral reflectance that can identify infected plants 2-4 days before visual symptoms, or during the pathogen’s biotrophic phase, with roughly 90% accuracy. Dr. Gevens will discuss how you can now distinguish latent late blight from both latent and symptomatic early blight and how these advances in pre-visual specific disease detection represent great potential for significant advancements in remote sensing for in-field disease management. Amanda Gevens, Katie Gold and Phil Townsend are co-authors of this presentation.

A Focus on the seed Market

Ballroom G, Level 4

Safeguarding the U.S. Seed Potato Industry Against Emerging Seed Potato-Borne Pathogens That Impact Trade and Farm Viability
Stewart Gray, Ph.D., Emerging Pest & Pathogens Research Unit, USDA, ARS; and, Professor, Plant Pathology & Plant-Microbe Biology, Cornell University

Potato virus Y is a perennial problem and the major reason for seed lots to be rejected for certification. Overall PVY incidence remains high for diverse reasons, but paramount are changes in virus strains and an inability to visualize disease incidence in the crop. Potato mop top virus (PMTV) and Tobacco rattle virus (TRV) are spreading and if left unchecked will further erode potato quality and trade opportunities. In this session, Dr. Gray will discuss while PVY can be managed by an upgraded seed certification approach, PMTV and TRV are not currently regulated by seed certification and that PMTV and TRV are retained by soil borne vectors that persist in the soil for many years in the absence of potato. Following their introduction to a field, viruses and vectors will remain undetectable for years, but can serve as inoculum sources to be spread to other fields. Clean farms and clean seed are vital to effective virus management. Hear how seed certification serves a critical need, but only if programs are allowed to evolve more quickly than the pathogen problems they address.

Integrated Mineral Oil and Insecticide Spraying Reduces

Current Season PVY Spread

Mathuresh Singh, Ph.D., Director, Agricultural Certification Services Inc.

Potato virus Y (PVY) causes major economic impacts to potato crops around the world. Dr. Mathuresh Singh will talk about how over the past decade a research group in New Brunswick, Canada has studied the effectiveness of management strategies to reduce PVY spread. In controlled experimental field trials, it was found that frequent (weekly) simultaneous foliar spraying with select insecticides and mineral oil strongly reduce in-field PVY spread. Using tank-mixed insecticide-oil spray was found to be most effective early in season during sensitive rapid crop growth and high aphid densities, and with particular insecticides. Dr. Singh will discuss how these trials were mirrored by observations in commercial seed fields, accounting for aphids, potato varieties and management regimes over five years with 16 collaborating.

Potato Pest Surveillance Systems in Canada and the U.S.
Russ Stewart, CCA, Agrologist, Promax Agronomy Services Ltd.; and, Carrie H. Wohleb, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Regional Specialist - Potato, Vegetable, and Seed Crops, Washington State University, WSU Grant-Adams Area Extension Office

An effective Pest Surveillance Program for insects such as potato psyllids, and diseases such as late blight, allows growers to make informed decisions on whether pesticide applications are necessary in the production of their potato crop. These decisions have a measurable impact on economic returns, agronomic responsibility regarding pest resistance, and perception and acceptance as it relates to the consumer. Russ Stewart and Dr. Carrie Wohleb will talk about how for a number of years, the growing regions of Washington State (U.S.) and Alberta (Canada) have run programs that help growers make pest management decisions. While these programs have some similarities they also have differences. In this session they will illustrate that there is more than one way to skin a cat!


A Focus on the chip Market

Ballrom G, Level 4

Potato Breeding for Southern Chipping Production
Craig Yencho, Ph.D., William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor, Department of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University; and, David Douches, Ph.D., W.J. Beal Distinguished Professor, Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences, Michigan State University

With the exception of North Carolina and Texas, the majority of U.S. potato breeding occurs in the north, with most selection occurring in these sites for 3-5 cycles before a clone ever reaches the southern U.S. for evaluation. The Early Generation Southern Selection (EGSS) project sponsored by Potatoes USA is focused on evaluating the variety potential of early generation materials from participating northern potato breeding programs in the south. Our goal is to identify early bulking, high specific gravity potatoes that will chip from the field in the south early in the breeding cycle and to advance these materials as quickly as possible. The project was initiated in 2017 with seven breeding programs sending a total of 258 clones for evaluation (MI=89; ME=64; WI=40; CO=26; NY=18; ID=14; and NC=7). These materials were planted in North Carolina as unreplicated 8 hill plots with Atlantic, Snowden, Pike and Lamoka as checks. All the plots were harvested and evaluated at the grader for total weight, cull weight, specific gravity, tuber shape, overall appearance, overall merit, and chip quality. In 2018, the program was continued with ca. 316 clones from 13 breeding programs and the breeding community plans to send more in 2019. In this session, Drs. Craig Yencho and David Douches will provide an update on this project and will discuss and listen to ideas for the future.

Panel Discussion: Exports and Opportunities
Moderator: Chris Hansen, Farm Manager, CSS Farms
Panelists: Mike Guidicipietro, PPQ Associate Director, USDA/APHIS; Brian Kirschenmann, Owner, Kirschenmann Farms; Matt Lantz, Vice President, Global Access, Bryant Christie; and, Weston Walker, Field Manager and International Sales, Gold Dust & Walker Farms

With 90 percent of consumers living outside of the U.S., growers may have the opportunity to find new customers. But what stands in their way? A labyrinth of international plant health and consumer protection regulations, for starters. In this session, potato exporters and regulatory experts from USDA and the private sector share the stage for a panel discussion that examines the opportunities and challenges associated with shipping fresh U.S. potatoes for chipping to overseas markets.

Emerging Technology in the Chip Sector
Moderator: Mike Wenkel, Executive Director, Michigan Potato Industry Commission
Panelists: Marco Azzaretti, Product Manager, Key Technology; Chris Farver, Global Director of Controls and Information, Heat and Control, Inc.; Jim Fitzgerald, Potato Manager, Utz Quality Foods; and, Phil Gusmano, VP of Purchasing, Better Made Snack Foods, Inc.

Chip production has become continually streamlined thanks to technology that has enabled processors to increase volume and efficiency. However, as always, there are new problems that evolve as old problems are solved. The theme of this session is: what new problems are processors facing from a production standpoint, and what technology is being developed today that will solve these new problems? This session will feature a panel of representatives from the chip processing industry who will discuss emerging technology and answer relevant questions from the audience. Topics such as the shortage of labor and the separation of potatoes from foreign materials will be discussed. While issues such as these may not be solved entirely by technological advances, new and innovative devices are being developed that will continue to improve the chip production process. This is an opportunity to open lines of communication between processors and other members of the chip sector as the industry continues to evolve.


A Focus on the fresh Market

Ballroom F, Level 4

Retail Metamorphosis: Potatoes and Meal Kits
Frank Jackman, CEO & Co-founder, Local Crate Meals

Local Crate delivers fresh, delicious, seasonal meal kits in partnership with award-winning chefs, local farmers, and passionate makers. Headquartered in Minneapolis and in over 240+ retail locations, including Target. Consumers are seeking out further convenience in retail as 85% of consumers don’t know what they are having for dinner until just hours before mealtime. This makes retail a prime channel to sell meal-kits to consumers at the moment they are making the purchasing decision. Frank Jackman, CEO of Local Crate, will share how meal kits are transitioning from online to on-shelf and why at least half of their meals contain a variety of potatoes. The future trends in meal kits and the opportunities and barriers to potatoes from a pioneer and leader in this category.

Fresh Potatoes in the Foodservice Sector
Moderator: RJ Harvey, RDN, CEC, Global Foodservice Marketing Manager, Potatoes USA
Panelists: Marie Molde, MBA, RDN, Client Solutions, Datassential; and, Brian Moses, Executive Chef, Olive & June

This panel discussion, led by RJ Harvey with Potatoes USA, will take a look at fresh potatoes and the foodservice sector; what does the market look like, what are the trends, what are the opportunities, and how can we optimize? At this session a local Austin chef and competitor in the SpudNation Throwdown will join food marketing expert Marie Molde to talk about foodservice’s demand for different potato varieties; what are chefs looking for, what are their thoughts on varieties, how can the industry help them use more?

You Say Potatoes, We Say Profits
Steven Petusevsky, Culinary Innovation for the Food Service Industry

Portability and convenience are tantamount to how consumers view foods at retail and food service. In this session, Steven Petusevsky will discuss how potatoes can and should be the foundation of pre-packaged, convenience, and ready-to-eat products. With potatoes at the root of globally inspired cuisines that include Peru, Spain, Japan, Poland and all points in between, Steven will talk about how we can increase potato usage by educating and inspiring buyers to expand their horizons by offering new methods and techniques to incorporate in any food service platform. Come and hear about how potatoes can be the most profitable and valuable tool to retail operations with high return margin capabilities!