November 19, 2021
In This Issue:
  • Positive Steps Taken to Reopen Mexico for U.S. Fresh Potatoes
  • U.S. Industry Calls for Suspension of All PEI Exports Over Latest Wart Find
  • President Signs $1.2T Infrastructure Bill
  • OSHA Suspends Vaccine Mandate Enforcement
  • Learn How NPC is Fighting for You at Potato Expo
  • What are You Most Looking Forward to at Potato Expo 2022?
Positive Steps Taken to Reopen Mexico for U.S. Fresh Potatoes

On Saturday, November 6, Mexico's National Service for Agricultural Health, Food Safety, and Agri-Quality (SENASICA) published the Phytosanitary Requirement Sheet for U.S. potato imports to the entirety of Mexico.

While the publication of the HRF does not allow for immediate importation of U.S. potatoes to the entirety of Mexico, NPC CEO Kam Quarles told The Packer he is “cautiously optimistic” about progress this decades-old effort to open the Mexican market for U.S. fresh potatoes. “Seeing some forward momentum is definitely a good sign. The ideal of the USMCA and NAFTA before it was that you would have this one unified trading bloc, and this is one of those key pieces to really validate that all the countries are going to adhere to their commitments.”

The requirements in the requirement sheet include:
  • Shipments must comply with the “Operational Work Plan for Export of Fresh Potatoes for Consumption or Processing from the United States to Mexico;”
  • Have a Phytosanitary Certificate issued by officials authorized by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) that the shipment was found free from regulated pests in the work plan;
  • Potatoes must be brushed, washed, sorted and free of soil;
  • Fresh potatoes must be packed for export to Mexico in packages of 20 pounds (9.09 kg) or less, identified with traceability data; and
  • Shipments must be sealed at the inspection point.

"It is important to recognize the tireless efforts of USDA-APHIS, USTR and the U.S. Embassy staff in Mexico City. Their work has been essential to getting these positive results on this long-standing trade issue,” said Jared Balcom, NPC Vice President of Trade Affairs.
U.S. Industry Calls for Suspension of All PEI Exports Over Latest Wart Find

As reported in last week’s newsletter, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced the suspension of seed potato exports from Prince Edward Island (PEI) to the United States after potato wart was detected in two fields where potatoes were being grown for processing.

In response, this week NPC and 13 state potato organizations sent a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack asking for the U.S. government’s support to prevent the spread of potato wart to the United States by suspending the importation of all potatoes grown in PEI, not just seed potatoes.

Noting that CFIA’s efforts were a positive first step, the group argued that the Canadian government’s action does not appear to comprehensively address the situation as “the most recent detections are in processing fields, not seed fields. Furthermore, CFIA does not appear to be instituting any new measures for other Canadian provinces receiving potatoes or equipment from PEI.”

The group noted that should potato wart be transmitted to the United States, the U.S. potato industry would likely lose access to all international fresh potato markets, costing the industry over $225 million in annual sales.

They wrote, “Recognizing the potential impact and the clear evidence through repeated detections that PEI’s potato wart disease situation is not under control, we urge USDA to undertake the following preventive measures;
  1. Immediately suspend all exports of potatoes to the U.S. from PEI to address the most recent area of detection.
  2. Restrict equipment working in PEI potato fields from crossing the border into the U.S.
  3. Engage with CFIA to limit the ability for PEI potatoes to inadvertently transmit potato wart disease through other provinces via seed, equipment, or other pathways.”

The full letter can be found here
President Signs $1.2T Infrastructure Bill

On Wednesday, President Biden signed the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act into law, providing $550 billion in new spending on physical infrastructure over the next five years. It also extends existing transportation programs, bringing the total projected spending over 10 years to $1.2 trillion.

The bill includes:
  • $110 billion in long term funding for improvements of millions of miles of roads, highways, and bridges;
  • $65 billion to help close broadband internet service gaps throughout the nation, particularly in underserved rural communities; and,
  • $17 billion in port infrastructure and waterway funding.

“The National Potato Council welcomes the Infrastructure Bill’s significant investments into areas vital to the long-term health and prosperity of our family farms and operations of our industry partners,” said Dominic LaJoie, NPC President and potato grower from Maine. “NPC has long advocated for upgrades to our nation’s roads, bridges, port facilities, ocean shipping, and railroad capacity to improve the production and movement of crops from our fields to dinner tables all around the world.” 
OSHA Suspends Vaccine Mandate Enforcement

On Wednesday, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced it is suspending enforcement of the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for large private businesses. The decision came after a federal appeals court upheld a stay on the mandate last week.

OSHA said in a statement that although it remains confident in its authority to protect workers in emergencies, “OSHA has suspended activities related to the implementation and enforcement of the ETS pending future developments in the litigation.” 
Learn How NPC is Fighting for You at Potato Expo

Since the start of the pandemic, the National Potato Council, together with the state potato organizations, have delivered unprecedented results for this industry. All told -- in response to government-mandated food service disruptions -- your voice in Washington delivered more than $350 million in federal assistance to potato growers and industry partners. And this historic level of assistance is only the tip of NPC’s policy-focused iceberg.

Don’t miss the Potato Expo 2022 Breakout Sessions focused on the policy issues that matter to you!

  • Can Congress Provide a Solution to the U.S. Ag Labor Crisis?                  
  • Threats and Opportunities: 2022 Federal Policy Outlook for the Potato Industry       
  • Potato Access to Mexico and Other Key International Markets                    
  • Potato Industry Sustainability: Learning, Creating, and Telling our Story 
  • Nutrition Regulations – How Will They Impact Your Business?

Check out the full schedule and register to join us in Anaheim at
What are You Most Looking Forward to at Potato Expo 2022?

Here's what a few growers have to say...
Send an email to [email protected] and let us know what you are most looking forward to at Potato Expo 2022, and include a photo of you on your farm or in your office.

Everyone who sends in a quote and photo by Dec. 1 will be entered to win a suite upgrade at the Anaheim Marriott!
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National Potato Council
202.682.9456 | [email protected]