Washington/Oregon potatoes business updates

07/11/2014 10:14:00 AM
Melissa Shipman

Oregon commission funds spud research

The Oregon Potato Commission continues to support potato research at the state’s universities.

The Portland-based commission established two potato endowments at Oregon State University over the last two years, said Bill Brewer, the group’s executive director.

“Endowments are ways to ensure research personnel are available and provide long-term security to highly qualified people,” Brewer said in a commission newsletter.

One of the endowments funds a professorship at the Hermiston Agriculture Research and Extension Center, and the other is at the Klamath Basin Research Center.

 

Potandon Produce updates three sheds

Idaho Falls, Idaho-based Potandon Produce LLC, made improvements at three sheds in Washington.

Larry Sieg, Washington sales and general manager, said the upgrades will be complete and ready for the new crop this year.

Balcom & Moe Inc., Pasco, Wash., is upgrading its electronic grader; Harvest Fresh Produce, Inc., Othello, Wash., is upgrading its carton line; and Pacific Produce, Othello, is working on capacity and grading changes to allow the plant to better handle mini potatoes and colored varieties, Sieg said.

 

Washington commission names chairman

The Washington State Potato Commission named grower Nelson Cox as chairman, who began his one-year term July 1, according to a news release.

Cox succeeds Jared Balcom. He was elected at the annual meeting held June 16.

Cox operates a family farm near Warden, Wash., and has served as a commissioner since 2008.

“The objectives of the commission are the same and there is plenty of work to do to ensure we are all best meeting the needs of growers throughout the state,” Cox said in the release.

Other board executives:

  • Mike Dodds, Moses Lake, first vice chairman;
  • Nick Johnson, Othello, second vice chairman;
  • Rex Calloway, Quincy, secretary; and
  • Stacy Kniveton, Pasco, treasurer.

 

Wong Potatoes gets grader/sorter

Klamath Falls, Ore.-based Wong Potatoes Inc., replaced its potato sizer this year with an optical grader/sorter.

The company was already using an optical grader so it now has two pieces of equipment that use optical technology.

“It will likely reduce necessary labor and give us a better pack, while hopefully being more efficient,” said president Dan Chin.



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