2013 Potato Growers’ Study Tour – USA & Canada
The 2013 Potato Growers. Study Tour . USA & Canada provided 9 Australian potato levy payers with a comprehensive understanding of the methods and practices utilised by the United States and Canadian potato industries and an invaluable opportunity to observe the various operational, research and development (R&D), marketing and business initiatives undertaken in the two countries. The tour was funded by HAL using the National Potato Levies, voluntary contributions from industry and matched funds from the Australian Government. The primary focus of the study tour was to provide participants with a contrast between Australian and North American potato growing, processing and research activities. This was achieved through the development of an extensive itinerary that explored the United States. largest potato-growing state, Idaho, and Canada.s primary potato-producing regions, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. The tour group visited several major growing facilities, processing plants and research and development (R&D) institutions, as well as the Potato Association of America (PAA) annual scientific conference in Quebec City, Canada. Through this 10-day tour, Australian potato levy payers, including growers and processors, gained an extensive and newfound knowledge of the international potato industry . important information that can now be disseminated to the wider Australian potato industry through extension projects, word-of-mouth and the on-farm implementation of acquired skills. Amongst the sites visited by the tour group, no other was more vast and impressive . according to participants . than Idaho. Attendees marvelled at the sheer scale of Idaho.s potato-growing and processing operations and were impressed by growers. irrigation initiatives. Additionally, attendees were provided with a tour of Simplot.s state of the art processing plant in Caldwell where a significant amount of the country.s French fries, potato gems and hash browns are processed. By comparison, New Brunswick shares a similar scale to Australian potato-producing operations, and participants found it very useful to observe the novel production techniques employed in a familiar farming environment to that of Australia. The tour leader, AUSVEG representative William Churchill, assisted participants throughout the duration of the tour. Written evaluations were undertaken by all tour members at the end of each day and debriefing sessions were held throughout the trip to discuss key information learnt and any points of interest. Findings were recorded on evaluation forms and in the tour diaries supplied to participants at the commencement of the tour. To ensure the long-term competitiveness and viability of the Australian potato industry, it is vital that opportunities continue to be made available to Australian potato levy payers to undertake formal development programs and learn from others in the industry in the future.