News from the world of potatoes

| November 26, 2020 1:00 AM

2021 Washington-Oregon Potato Conference to go virtual

Due to the restrictions on gatherings to limit the spread of the coronavirus, the Washington Potato Commission and the Oregon Potato Commission will not be holding their normal trade show and conference at the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick next year. Instead, the two commissions will be hosting a 100 percent virtual show this year January 26-28, 2021.

By going virtual, the commissioners will still be able to have all the normal general session, cultivar performance session, Spanish session, PAC auction, etc. There will be opportunities for companies to have virtual trade show booths to showcase their products and services. Continuing education credits will be available for those who participate in the general session.

Registration is still $5 per person. According to a press release, the commissions have found a virtual platform that will still allow attendees to visit exhibitors and have live face-to-face chats.

“Over the years our many sponsors and trade show participants have supported us very well and have said they will continue to do so during our virtual conference,” the WPC press release said. “We are excited for you all to see what the 2021 WA-OR Virtual Potato Conference has to offer. For updates please go to”

DOL extends waiver until end of the year

The Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) has extended the waiver for expiring Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs) and permits, as well as Non-CDL licenses for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers, until Dec, 31, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Some CMV drivers have been unable to renew their licenses and are unable to provide medical certificates to their State Driver Licensing Agencies.

In addition, many medical providers have canceled regularly scheduled appointments and drivers have been unable to obtain appointments for physical examinations with medical examiners who comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

Drivers claiming relief under this waiver must continue to carry a paper copy of their expired medical certificate. If your physician is accepting appointments, please don’t wait until the last minute to get your records updated.

Japan now open year-round for chip stock potatoes

Chipping potatoes can now be shipped to Japan year-round with no restrictions on the import period.

All fresh potatoes must be intended for chipping purposes and shipments must meet the requirements listed in the Chipping Potato Protocol, updated Feb. 14, 2020. Please contact Matt Harris,, if you need a copy of the “Japan Shipping Requirements” guidance document.

For those wishing to ship chipping potatoes to Japan, you must ensure that the production fields and packing facilities used for shipment to Japan are registered with APHIS and MAFF in Japan. To do so, you must complete MAFF Forms 1 and 2 on pages 8-9 of the guidance document as soon as possible. This is an annual requirement, so you must complete and submit prior to each shipping season.

Support Potato LEAF foundation when you buy through Amazon

Despite the obvious challenges faced by the potato industry this year, the Potato Leadership, Education and Advancement Foundation (Potato LEAF) is close to meeting its inaugural fundraising goal with $1.85 million of its $2 million 2020 goal donated or pledged, demonstrating the resiliency of the U.S. potato industry and the value we place on developing the leaders of tomorrow.

Now, there are two ways you can support Potato LEAF and the future leaders of our industry. As always, you can make an end-of-year tax-deductible donation as an individual and/or business at

Second, you can make Potato LEAF your charity of choice on AmazonSmile. Then when your family or business makes an eligible purchase through AmazonSmile, Amazon will automatically donate 0.5 percent of the purchases to the foundation — with no fees and no extra cost to you. Visit and type in “Potato Leadership Education and Advancement Foundation” into the search bar to register Potato LEAF as your designated charity. Remember to always start your Amazon shopping at for your eligible purchases to count.