Blog & News

Thank you for attending the 2021 Virtual WA/OR Potato Conference!

on Monday, 01 February 2021. Posted in Blog & News

Thank you for attending the 2021 Virtual WA/OR Potato Conference!

We would like to thank all of those who attended the 2021 Virtual Washington-Oregon Potato Conference this week. While we hoped we would be able to have an in-person event, it just wasn’t in the cards. The Conference Board found a platform that we thought would be easy to navigate and showcase our Exhibitors, Sponsors and Speakers. It seemed to work, we had four days of successful sessions and events that were highly attended. All session presentations will be available to view on-demand in the virtual conference platform for two weeks, using your login information. Presentations can also be found on this Conference web page,scroll down to find YouTube links which will be available for two weeks.

Because of the virtual platform we also saw attendees from other states that attended the WA-OR Conference for the first time. While we are proud of the success of the 2021 Virtual Conference, we look forward to seeing you all in person January 24-27, 2022. Please feel free to email Brandy Tucker, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., if you have any questions.

LEISURE AND HOSPITALITY JOBS DOWN IN WASHINGTON STATE

on Monday, 09 November 2020. Posted in Blog & News

LEISURE AND HOSPITALITY JOBS DOWN IN WASHINGTON STATE

According to a Pew Research study, Washington State has lost 30.5% of its leisure and hospitality jobs.  The U.S. overall lost 24.5% of those jobs. The toll the COVID recession has taken on the hospitality industry has been staggering.  Nationally, leisure and hospitality jobs have endured by far the largest losses of any major industry. A review of U.S. Department of Labor jobs data for August, however, shows vast differences in how the industry has held up across states.  Seven had incurred sharp reductions of a third or more from February's pre-pandemic employment totals.  A few others, meanwhile, had largely recovered from an initial wave of layoffs and were down less than 10%.  For areas that lean heavily on tourism and hospitality, how the industry recovers matters not only for regional economies, but also for the vital tax dollars generated to fund state and local government budgets. The Washington potato community suffers lost sales due to the decline in hospitality and leisure activities.  And we'd be remiss were we not to mention the potentially devastating effects of a large unemployment insurance tax hike on farms and business in 2021 due to these job losses.

FSA TEAMS LIVE EVENT FOR CFAP 2 (CORONA VIRUS FOOD ASSISTANCE PROGRAM) SEPTEMBER 28 AT 1 PM

on Friday, 25 September 2020. Posted in Blog & News

FSA TEAMS LIVE EVENT FOR CFAP 2 (CORONA VIRUS FOOD ASSISTANCE PROGRAM) SEPTEMBER 28 AT 1 PM

Please join FSA on Monday, September 28th, 2020 from 1 PM Pacific to 3 PM Pacific as we present the CFAP 2 program via TEAMS Live.  The event will cover how to apply for the program, what forms will be necessary for the program, what commodities are included in the program, and much more.  The event will be recorded so that all can view the seminar as they wish and will include a lengthy question and answer session.

Please join us by clicking the link below or dialing the call-in number and Conference ID listed below.  To invite your association members you can just forward this information with the links and phone numbers.

https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_NzRiYmM1MWMtMGU0OC00ZjM2LWFkYjItMWVhNzNmNGQ5Mzdl%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%22ed5b36e7-01ee-4ebc-867e-e03cfa0d4697%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%228c2c547e-4e1e-425c-babe-171e33b1e391%22%2c%22IsBroadcastMeeting%22%3atrue%7d

If you don’t have access to join by TEAMS you may join by calling 1-636-352-2946, and enter the code: 613474296#

WASHINGTON STATE POTATO FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES CPR, FIRST AID, AND AED TRAINING IN JANUARY - ONLY 20 SPOTS AVAILABLE IN EACH CLASS

on Friday, 04 December 2020. Posted in Blog & News

WASHINGTON STATE POTATO FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES CPR, FIRST AID, AND AED TRAINING IN JANUARY - ONLY 20 SPOTS AVAILABLE IN EACH CLASS

Go to the Potato Foundation website at www.potatofoundation.org/   to find the links to register for the classes on Jan. 26 and Jan. 28. Trainings will be conducted at Columbia Safety, 418 N. Kellogg St., Suite D in Kennewick. There are only 20 spots available for each class. If you have any questions contact Kellee Balcom, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." data-type="email">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or 509-528-4144.

VIRTUAL 2021 WA-OR POTATO CONFERENCE REGISTRATION

on Monday, 02 November 2020. Posted in Blog & News

VIRTUAL 2021 WA-OR POTATO CONFERENCE REGISTRATION

Due to the restrictions on gatherings to limit the spread of the Corona Virus, we will not be able to have our normal show at the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick.  We will be going to a 100% virtual show this year January 26-28, 2021 with some new and exciting things!

By going virtual, we will still be able to have all the normal general session, cultivar performance session, Spanish session, PAC auction, etc.   There will be opportunities for companies to have virtual trade show booths to showcase their products and services.  Continuing education credits will be available for those who participate in the general session.

Registration is still $5 per person.  You can register NOW to make insure you receive your Conference Swag Bag! REGISTER HERE

If you would like to Exhibit, please feel free to reach out to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." data-type="email">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more details.

We have found a virtual platform that will still allow attendees to visit the Exhibitors and have live face to face chats.  Over the years our many sponsors and trade show participants have supported us very well and have said they will continue to do so during our virtual Conference. We are excited for you all to see what the 2021 WA OR Virtual Potato Conference has to offer.  For continuing updates please go to www.potatoconference.com

USDA EXPANDS CORONAVIRUS FOOD ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (CFAP 2.0)

on Monday, 21 September 2020. Posted in Blog & News

USDA EXPANDS CORONAVIRUS FOOD ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (CFAP 2.0)

USDA EXPANDS CORONAVIRUS FOOD ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (CFAP 2.0)
An additional $14 billion dollars for agricultural producers who continue to face market disruptions and associated costs because of COVID-19 will be released soon. Signup for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2.0) will begin September 21st and run through December 11, 2020

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will use funds being made available from the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act and CARES Act to support row crops, livestock, specialty crops, dairy, aquaculture, and many additional commodities. USDA has incorporated improvements in CFAP 2 based on stakeholder engagement and public feedback to better meet the needs of impacted farmers and ranchers.

Producers can apply for CFAP 2 at USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) county offices. This program provides financial assistance that gives producers the ability to absorb increased marketing costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Producers will be compensated for ongoing market disruptions and assisted with the associated marketing costs.

CFAP 2 payments will be made for three categories of commodities – Price Trigger Commodities, Flat-rate Crops and Sales Commodities.

Price trigger commodities are major commodities that meet a minimum 5-percent price decline over a specified period of time. Eligible price trigger crops include barley, corn, sorghum, soybeans, sunflowers, upland cotton, and all classes of wheat. Payments will be based on 2020 planted acres of the crop, excluding prevented planting and experimental acres. Payments for price trigger crops will be the greater of: 1) the eligible acres multiplied by a payment rate of $15 per acre; or 2) the eligible acres multiplied by a nationwide crop marketing percentage, multiplied by a crop-specific payment rate, and then by the producer’s weighted 2020 Actual Production History (APH) approved yield. If the APH is not available, 85 percent of the 2019 Agriculture Risk Coverage-County Option (ARC-CO) benchmark yield for that crop will be used.

Crops that either do not meet the 5-percent price decline trigger or do not have data available to calculate a price change will have payments calculated based on eligible 2020 acres multiplied by $15 per acre. These crops include alfalfa, extra-long staple (ELS) cotton, oats, peanuts, rice, hemp, millet, mustard, safflower, sesame, triticale, rapeseed, and several others.

Sales commodities include specialty crops; aquaculture; nursery crops and floriculture; other commodities not included in the price trigger and flat-rate categories, including tobacco; goat milk; mink (including pelts); mohair; wool; and other livestock (excluding breeding stock) not included under the price trigger category that were grown for food, fiber, fur, or feathers. Payment calculations will use a sales-based approach, where producers are paid based on five payment gradations associated with their 2019 sales.

Additional commodities are eligible in CFAP 2 that weren’t eligible in the first iteration of the program. If your agricultural operation has been impacted by the pandemic since April 2020, we encourage you to apply for CFAP 2.  A complete list of eligible commodities, payment rates and calculations can be found on farmers.gov/cfap.

There is a payment limitation of $250,000 per person or entity for all commodities combined. Applicants who are corporations, limited liability companies, limited partnerships may qualify for additional payment limits when members actively provide personal labor or personal management for the farming operation. In addition, this special payment limitation provision has been expanded to include trusts and estates for both CFAP 1 and 2.

Producers will also have to certify they meet the Adjusted Gross Income limitation of $900,000 unless at least 75 percent or more of their income is derived from farming, ranching or forestry-related activities. Producers must also be in compliance with Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation provisions.

Additional information and application forms can be found at farmers.gov/cfap. Documentation to support the producer’s application and certification may be requested. All other eligibility forms, such as those related to adjusted gross income and payment information, can be downloaded from farmers.gov/cfap/apply. For existing FSA customers, including those who participated in CFAP 1, many documents are likely already on file. Producers should check with FSA county office to see if any of the forms need to be updated.

Customers seeking one-on-one support with the CFAP 2 application process can call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer assistance. This is a recommended first step before a producer engages with the team at the FSA county office.

All USDA Service Centers are open for business, including some that are open to visitors to conduct business in person by appointment only. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service or any other Service Center agency should call ahead and schedule an appointment. Service Centers that are open for appointments will pre-screen visitors based on health concerns or recent travel, and visitors must adhere to social distancing guidelines. Visitors are also required to wear a face covering during their appointment. Our program delivery staff will be in the office, and they will be working with our producers in the office, by phone and using online tools. More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.  

WSU ANNOUNCES ENDOWED CHAIR TO RESEARCH POTATO SOIL HEALTH

on Monday, 30 November 2020. Posted in Blog & News

WSU ANNOUNCES ENDOWED CHAIR TO RESEARCH POTATO SOIL HEALTH

Washington State University will soon initiate a search for a mid-level career scientist to fill the position of Distinguished Endowed Chair in Soil Health for Potato Cropping Systems at the Pullman, WA campus.  This position is backed by a $3 million-plus fund that was generated by potato growers, potato processors, and registrants.  Interest accrued from the endowment will provide research funds for scientists selected to fill the position in perpetuity. The Chair will direct research on soils in the Columbia Basin to better understand how soil microorganisms and physical properties impact potato quality and yield. The research will improve the efficiency and productivity of potato cropping systems that include rotation crops and cover crops. It is anticipated that the Endowed Chair’s research will contribute to the enhancement of potato yield, quality, sustainability, and profitability long into the future.  More information can be accessed here

WEBINARS AVAILABLE FOR PESTICIDE RECERTIFICATION

on Monday, 26 October 2020. Posted in Blog & News

WEBINARS AVAILABLE FOR PESTICIDE RECERTIFICATION

Washington State University will offer five 3-hour webinars in 2020 and 2021 for urban IPM and pesticide education recertification credits.  Each will provide 3 WSDA pesticide license credits, and credits for Idaho and Oregon as well.  Webinars will cost $30 and be held from 8:30 to 11:30 on the following dates:

              November 17, 2020 or January 21, 2021:  Integrated Weed Management
               December 1, 2020 or January 28, 2021:  Pesticide Laws and Compliance
               December 3, 2020 or February 11, 2021:  Pesticides and the Environment
               December 8, 2020 or February 18, 2021: Integrate Pest management
               December 10, 2020 or March 4, 2021:  Invasive Pests

Group viewing is allowed if requirements are met and an application is received at least two weeks prior to the webinar.  For more information and registration visit the WSU Urban IPM and Pesticide Safety Education web site

COVID-19 TRAINING AND EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES FOR AGRICULTURE

on Friday, 18 September 2020. Posted in Blog & News

COVID-19 TRAINING AND EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES FOR AGRICULTURE

The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries has COVID-19 training and educational resources available via internet:
*  Agricultural COVID-19 Requirements and Training, including COVID-19 Response Plan Template (English and Spanish) https://lni.wa.gov/safety-health/safety-training-materials/training-kits#AgCOVID19
*  Coronavirus (COVID-19) Prevention in Agriculture and Related Industries https://lni.wa.gov/forms-publications/F414-165-000.pdf
*    Which Mask for Which Task? COVID-19 Prevention at Work: When to Use Face Coverings and Respirators https://lni.wa.gov/forms-publications/F414-168-000.pdf

The Washington Farm Bureau has educational video discussions available for farmers and farm workers, also via internet:
*  COVID-19 Safety Measures for Farm Employers https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQv_vG_p3xo
*  COVID-19 How Agricultural Employees Can Protect Themselves Safely,                                         English  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISZ4XW88C_Q
and Spanish https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TEgoKpu1HI

All employee training should be documented with the course title, employee’s name, signature, and date.

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