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    Field Day Northern Plain Potato Growers Association well attended

    NPPGA President Chuck Gunnerson (left) visits with NDSU agronomists Dr. Gary Secor (center) and Dr. Neil Gudmestad (right) (Courtesy: NPPGA).

    Ideal weather conditions last Thursday helped draw one of the best crowds in recent years to

    NPPGA's Field Day. About 175 growers and industry people took part in the informative day consisting or field tours and research presentations from NDSU, the University of Minnesota and the USDA.

    Just a week after hosting the USPB Summer Meeting, Carl Hoverson and his crew did another great job of hosting a big event. A 7:00 AM breakfast served at the Hoverson Farm just north of Larimore started the day followed by remarks from some of the researchers. Field samples were also on display for viewing.

    Next everyone headed up Highway 18 to the Forest River Colony for an awesome home-cooked noon lunch followed a tour of the NPPGA Irrigated Research Site and informative discussions of the field trials taking place there.

    From the Forest River Colony, the trek continued up Highway 18 to the Oberg Farm just south of Hoople for more reports, sample viewing and a barbeque sponsored by the NPPGA Potato Associates, CPS-Grafton and BASF.

    Ted Kreis, NPPGA Communications:
    "Field Day was well covered by local media including Agweek, the Grand Forks Herald, WDAZ TV and the Red River Farm Network. A special thanks to them for helping to keep other agriculturists and the general public informed."

    Creating new potato varieties starts with research


    Click picture to see the WDAZ TV video of the NPPGA Field Day

    Local farmers are trying to breed a new potato, specific to the Red River Valley. They gathered at Hoverson Farms in Larimore to compare research. To keep up with the competition across the country, farmers said they want to find new potatoes that work well in the Red River Valley.

    "They'll use that for either a release or they'll use it for breeding to make other, you know cross them, but that's what we're looking for is to get a variety like that," said Carl Hoverson, owner of Hoverson Farms.

    Farmers today compared several of, what they call, trial potatoes."We try to come up with new varieties that look better, that perform better, that taste better, that generally are just going to make our world a little better," said Hoverson. Carl Hoverson said some varieties have different traits.

    While some potatoes may not look the best, they could have a resistant to disease or pests. "Today we are focusing on processing potatoes that are grown under irrigation both those for frozen processing, which would include French fries, but also those for the chip processing market," said Susie Thompson, Potato Breeder and NDSU Associate Professor.

    Hoverson Farms said russets are generally used for French fries and round whites are generally used for potato chips. "What you try to do is cross the two and still end up with one that looks better but still has the original traits that you're looking for," said Hoverson.

    Creating the perfect potato isn't a quick process, farmers said it takes more than a decade to name a new potato variety. "It takes between 10 and 15-16 years from the time that you initially make a cross until it might be named and released," said Thompson.

    Aside from coming up with the latest spud, Hoverson said they are spending today trying to diagnose potato problems, and fix any issues area farmers are having. "The research that we're doing today is the success we're going to have tomorrow," said Hoverson.

    Source: WBAZ TV