Idaho Potato Conference to include technology training

Idaho State University’s Holt Arena was filled with the latest in agricultural technology as vendors showed their wares to potential customers in January 2019 during the annual Ag Expo in Pocatello. This year’s event is coming soon.

Understanding soil health is a central theme of the 52nd annual Idaho Potato Conference and Trade Show, scheduled for Jan. 22-23 at Idaho State University’s Pond Student Union Building.

Farmers at the conference may also attend a new session where they’ll receive expert instruction to make sense of the bells and whistles on some of their modern software and equipment.

The Idaho Potato Conference and Trade Show is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Jan. 22 and from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Jan. 23. More details are available at www.idahopotatoconference.com.

The event will be hosted in conjunction with the 41st annual Eastern Idaho Ag Expo scheduled for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 21 and Jan. 22 and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 23 at Holt Arena. Spectra Productions will host both the Ag Expo and the trade show.

The Ag Expo will include cutting-edge farm machinery and an array of equipment from several vendors.

University of Idaho Extension seed potato specialist Kasia Duellman, who is a co-organizer of the conference, said the event will include a new 'technical room,' at the request of potato farmers.

Experts from farm technology companies including Agrian, Spudnik, Trimble, IVI Industrial Ventilation, Agri-Stor/Gellert, Lockwood and BTU Ventilation have been scheduled to teach growers how to get the full potential from their products.

Also new this year will be a sponsored potato bar, offered from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 22. Furthermore, fried potato snacks will be provided by an area potato processor.

Duellman said an expert from University of Minnesota has been invited to be among the keynote speakers and offer insight on managing for soil health. University of Idaho Extension researcher Mike Thornton will also speak about an Idaho soil health project.

Sessions will once again be offered in Spanish, which has been a popular option among farm laborers. Participants in many of the sessions will be awarded continuing education and pesticide re-certification credits.

Sessions will cover a variety of topics such as quality management, mitigating threats from pests and diseases, recently released varieties, issues with the herbicide glyphosate, shrinkage in storage, pest and disease surveillance programs, farm safety, irrigation efficiency and economics, optimizing fumigation, weed management, seed-borne diseases and nutrient management.

Leaders from industry organizations including the Idaho Potato Commission, the National Potato Council and Potatoes USA will participate in a panel discussion from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 22 in the Bengal Theater. Duellman said some industry leaders will be unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict with Washington’s potato conference.

Idaho potato seed farmers will participate in another meeting on Jan. 21 at Pocatello’s Red Lion Hotel, 1555 Pocatello Creek Road. Registration for the Idaho Potato Seed Seminar will begin at 11:30 a.m., and the event will continue through 4 p.m.

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