May 6, 2022
In This Issue:
  • U.S. Potato Industry Responds to USDA’s Decision to Resume PEI Imports
  • EPA Suspends Use of AMVAC’s Herbicide Dacthal (DCPA)
  • NPC Requests Extension on Overreaching New SEC Climate Rule
  • Senate Ag Committee Holds Farm Bill Hearing in Michigan
  • USDA Accepts Two Million Acres in Offers Through Conservation Reserve Program
  • White House Announces Nutrition Conference
  • NPC Summer Meeting to Feature Tri-State Dinner
  • Sign Up for the Potato LEAF Pedal Bar Party in Nashville
U.S. Potato Industry Responds to USDA’s Decision to Resume PEI Imports

On behalf of the U.S. potato industry, NPC and 11 state organizations wrote to Secretary Vilsack to express disappointment over USDA’s recent decision to allow for the resumption of Prince Edward Island (PEI) fresh table stock potatoes imports without additional protections to prevent the spread of potato wart to U.S. farms.

The group wrote, “In reviewing the information that APHIS provided following the announcement of a resumption of trade, the U.S. industry sees no significant additional measures to protect U.S. production from this highly destructive disease.”

Examples cited include not requiring the testing of individual PEI fields prior to their clearance for export; and failure to limit shipments to consumer packaging sizes and instead allowing bulk totes and super sacks that require repacking activities in the U.S., thereby generating waste product that can spread disease.

The only significant new measure was the unnecessary limitation of PEI shipments exclusively to U.S. Grade Standard #1. This limitation has no phytosanitary value since high grade potatoes are just as capable of carrying this disease as lower grade. “Had the U.S. industry been asked about this limitation, we would not have supported its inclusion. Establishing this limitation feeds into a false narrative championed by the PEI leadership that the export ban was due to politically motivated factors rather than a serious effort to deal with a disease situation that appears to be growing out of control.”

While recognizing the substantial political pressure that was applied to the U.S. by Canada, the group urged Secretary Vilsack to “reconsider implementing reasonable mitigation measures to deal with this unfortunate disease situation confronting potato production on PEI,” which can be done without impacting trade in clean product for the upcoming season.

The full letter can be found here
Hollee Alexander Recognized by The Packer as a 2022 Women in Produce Honoree

Hollee Alexander, Vice President of Industry Relations and Events for the National Potato Council, was honored today as one of The Packer’s 2022 Women in Produce.  

When asked about what advice she would give to young women just entering the industry, Hollee told The Packer that work ethic comes first. 

“All of the hard work and dedication you’ve invested to get to where you are today has helped to establish your place in the industry, and that can never be taken away from you,” she said. “You are just as deserving as anyone else who has worked hard in this industry. Continue to persevere through both the good times and the times where there is opportunity for growth — you are paving the way for the next generation of women in the industry.” 

Read more about Hollee’s recognition here and join us in congratulating her on receiving this honor by one of the leading publications in our industry!
EPA Suspends Use of AMVAC’s Herbicide Dacthal (DCPA)

On April 28, EPA issued a Notice of Intent to suspend (NOITS) the use of DCPA (dimethyl tetrachloroterephthalate), registered and marketed by AMVAC as Dacthal. When effective, the NOITS will “prevent the sale, distribution, and use of the technical-grade product containing the pesticide.” EPA’s notice continued that it is issuing this NOITS for DCPA because AMVAC, the sole registrant, has not provided the full complement of data the Agency required it to submit over nine years ago.

AMVAC issued a statement on April 29 acknowledging receipt of the NOITS and stating that they would like to clarify that there has been significant dialogue between EPA and AMVAC regarding DCPA over the last nine years. AMVAC states that: EPA received preparatory study data on the key toxicological endpoint on thyroid toxicity; the definitive study will be completed and submitted in June 2022; and EPA was fully aware of this proposed date for submission.

AMVAC writes that it “intends to file for the hearing as required by this notice and are committed to provide complete responses to the Data Call-In Notice (DCI). We want to assure all stakeholders that we have and continue to meet our obligations under the DCI on complex studies and that our commitment to keep this active ingredient registered has not changed.”

DCPA is an herbicide applied to control grasses and certain broadleaf weeds in both agricultural and non-agricultural settings. Agricultural use sites include cole crops (e.g., broccoli, kale, cabbage), cucurbits, tomatoes, onions, and herbs. Non-agricultural use sites include non-residential turf and ornamentals.
NPC Requests Extension on Overreaching New SEC Climate Rule

The National Potato Council joined more than 100 agricultural organizations on a letter requesting a 180-day extension to the comment period for the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Proposed Rule on The Enhancement and Standardization of Climate Related Disclosures for Investors. This proposed rule would require SEC-regulated entities and their suppliers, including family farms, to provide significant new public disclosures on climate related information.

In responding to the proposed rule, the request states, “Our members, who are entities ranging from small family farms to the largest multinational corporations, are nevertheless overwhelmingly not ‘registrants’ or otherwise subject in any way to the jurisdiction and oversight of the SEC. The proposed rule changes this.”

The proposed rule’s expansive treatment of the reporting of “Scope 3” greenhouse gas emissions not only directly impacts farm operations, but in doing so may create multiple, new sources of substantial costs and liabilities. These include almost certain reporting obligations, technical challenges, significant financial and operational disruption, and the risk of financially crippling legal liabilities. In doing so, the rule would have meaningful consequences to produce this country’s food, fuel and fiber as well as for the security and stability of U.S. agricultural supply chains.

The full letter can be found here
Senate Ag Committee Holds Farm Bill Hearing in Michigan

The Senate Agriculture Committee held their first Farm Bill field hearing in East Lansing, Michigan last Friday at Michigan State University. Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Ranking Member John Boozman (R-AR) heard from 16 Michigan stakeholders representing the agricultural industry. The witnesses were separated into two panels and were questioned on an array of topics from dairy and avian influenza to crop insurance and bio-based products, all linking back to improvements for the 2023 Farm Bill. The next Senate hearing over the Farm Bill will be held in Boozman’s home state of Arkansas – no date has been set yet.
USDA Accepts Two Million Acres in Offers Through Conservation Reserve Program General Signup

Secretary Vilsack announced on Tuesday that USDA is accepting more than two million acres in offers from agricultural producers and landowners through the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) General Signup. The General CRP Signup ran from January 31 to March 11, 2022. Through CRP, producers and landowners establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees, to control soil erosion, improve soil health and water quality, and enhance wildlife habitat on agricultural land.

The three other types of CRP—Grasslands, Continuous, and CREP—are still available for either working-lands or targeted, often smaller sub-field, offers. Producers have submitted offers on nearly 260,000 acres through the Continuous and CREP signup so far this year. The Grassland signup – which last year had its highest participation ever – closes May 13, 2022. Producers and landowners can apply by contacting their local USDA Service Center.
White House Announces Nutrition Conference

President Biden announced on Wednesday that the White House will host a “Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health” for the first time in 50 years this September. The conference, and the preparatory work leading up to it, will aim to “accelerate progress and drive significant change to end hunger, improve nutrition and physical activity, reduce diet-related disease, and close the disparities around them.” The Biden Administration has set a goal of ending hunger and increasing healthy eating and physical activity in the U.S. by 2030. The administration will also host listening sessions leading up to the conference.
NPC Summer Meeting to Feature Tri-State Dinner

Join potato industry friends for a fun night of Nashville music while celebrating the foods and drinks of Idaho, Maine, and Washington. We might have missed the opportunity to meet the last two years but that won’t stop us from recognizing the states of the 2020 (Britt Raybould, St. Anthony, Idaho), 2021 (Dominic LaJoie, Van Buren, Maine), and 2022 (Jared Balcom, Pasco, Wash.) NPC Presidents. Will lobsters shipped in from Maine make an appearance? Join us and see!

Friday, June 17
Renaissance Nashville Hotel
Sponsored by the Idaho Potato Commission, Maine Potato Board, and Washington State Potato Commission

Register for the Summer Meeting and book your hotel room today!
Sign Up for the Potato LEAF Pedal Bar Party in Nashville

The first-ever PILI Alumni Summit will bring together Leadership Institute graduates of all years to network, refresh skills, and learn new techniques to better position themselves for success in the potato industry. All past graduates of the Leadership Institute are invited to participate in the one-day workshop on June 18 in Nashville.

Sign up to celebrate the conclusion of the Summit with fellow attendees with a Nashville pub-crawl like no other. Participants will board one of the famous Nashville Pedal Tavern bikes and ride along the historic Broadway strip before ending their ride in the heart of downtown Nashville.

Secure your ticket to connect in a way that will surely be memorable!
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