The NPPB held a Potato Export Globalization Summit Nov. 2 in Denver, CO. Growers and representatives from throughout the U.S. industry attended to discuss the pros and cons of U.S. seed export and the future of the board's seed export program.
The board created a seed export program about four years ago to research possible export markets and import/export regulations. The program determined five "target countries," including Uruguay, Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia and Honduras, and shipped samples of U.S. seed for growth trials.
Those countries are still conducting trials and the board added Panama and the Dominican Republic to the list last year. The board is also including reverse-marketing trips with representatives of the target countries. Groups from each country have toured different seed-producing areas in the U.S.
The group also discussed several issues facing the seed-export program. Among those is the question of whether or not to export processing varieties, funding, transportation costs and dealing with misinformation about the U.S. seed potato industry spread by foreign competitors.
Mike Carrow, a representative of Lamb Weston, also spoke giving a processor's view of the global market. Although it is an international processing company, he assured the group that Lamb Weston's profit center remains in the U.S. He also encouraged the board to look at new products and innovations for potato use.
The meeting concluded with a grower panel and discussion. Three growers, one from Idaho, Oregon and Washington, discussed their concerns about foreign competition and over production.