Potato Growers of Idaho members met Nov. 10 in Idaho Falls, ID, to discuss the possibility of a national diversion program to reduce supplies in storage this year and help improve the market.
The attending members unanimously passed a motion supporting the concept of a diversion and that the PGI Board will poll growers to work out specific details. The Board will work with other states as well.
Dick Rush, Idaho FSA director, said the administration will look at a diversion program if growers across the nation show consensus. He also explained the Secretary of Agriculture needs to hear support from congressional members. He said the earliest funds would be available is two months, but with all of the new programs it may take longer.
The group also heard from Dr. Phil Nolte, University of Idaho seed potato specialist, on the latest news of the potato wart outbreak on Prince Edward Island. Currently PEI is only allowed to ship potatoes in five-, 10- or 20-pound bags for consumer use outside of its borders.
He explained the size of the outbreak appears to be in a small area but urged caution when dealing with it. He said it moves easily in dirt or tubers with or without symptoms or through the digestive tracts of animals that have fed on infected tubers.