Potato focus: Research results among subjects at 2024 Washington-Oregon Potato Conference

For the Basin Business Journal | January 22, 2024 1:00 AM

KENNEWICK — Research into potato pests and disease, new labor rules in Washington and innovations in the potato industry will be among the topics covered at the Washington-Oregon Potato Conference Jan. 23 through 25 at the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick.

Most of the classes are scheduled for Jan. 24 and 25, with a Spanish-language session Jan. 25. A potato cultivar workshop and a separate presentation on innovation in agriculture are scheduled for Jan. 23. 

Traditionally the conference features a baked potato bar during one day of the conference, and for 2024 that’s Jan. 24. The “Flavor Chip Challenge” also is scheduled for Jan. 24; participants will be confronted with a table of different potato chips, and will be asked to identify the brands and flavors, according to the Washington State Potato Commission. 

A trade show will run the same time as the conference, with vendors featuring everything from tractors and spray equipment to storage to the television series Washington Grown. 

The potato cultivar workshop will be from 1:30 to 5 p.m. Jan. 23. Farmers will have a chance to look at the results from the 2023 cultivar trials, including field performance. Other classes will examine postharvest storage and quality evaluation for the 2023 crop and look at breeding and development programs in Oregon and Washington. Another class will review disease resistance using the Payette Russet variety as an example.

There is no keynote speaker for 2024, the WSPC said.

General sessions begin at 8 a.m. Jan. 24 and 25 and last all day. The baked potato bar will be available for lunch from noon to 1:30 p.m. Jan. 24, and a hosted luncheon is scheduled for noon Jan. 25.

Classes cover everything from combatting potato pests and disease to sustainable farming - and telling consumers about it - to marketing. 

Washington State University professor Mark Pavek will discuss the historical performance of potato seed lots. Pavek focuses his research on potato agronomy and developing potato varieties, according to the WSU website. 

Ken Frost will talk about soil health and managing soil for “climate-smart” outcomes. Frost is an associate professor specializing in plant pathology for Oregon State University at OSU’s research and extension center in Hermiston. 

Water and water use is always an important issue in the drylands of the Pacific Northwest, many of which are potato-growing regions. Classes will cover water use and the effects of changing conditions on potato farming.

Nick Bond, a senior research scientist at the University of Washington, will be the speaker for the water supply and demand class. Bond is the state climatologist as well as a UW research professor. 

The Endangered Species Act and its impact on pesticide use is the topic of one class, and another focuses on new Washington state requirements governing outdoor work on days with wildfire smoke or severe heat. 

Potatoes also can be affected by severe heat, and a class will cover its impact. Another will talk about assessing soil health in Washington potato fields. 

Other classes focus on pest control; one class will assess controlling certain species of pests using conventional or organic methods.

Carrie Wohleb and Tim Waters, who both work for WSU Extension, will talk about accessing resources available to farmers through WSU’s integrated pest management program. 

Presenters will talk about getting sustainable farming messages out to consumers and selling potatoes in a global market. Another class will look at trends in assessing the health and medicinal benefits of different foods and the place of potatoes in that trend. 

The Washington and Oregon potato commissions and the National Potato Council will all give updates on their work. 

The Spanish-language session will be from 8 a.m. to noon Jan. 25. Classes will include a review of the latest pesticide compliance rules and the new wildfire smoke and severe heat rules for workers. Other classes will talk about community resources available to farmworkers, and a discussion of health insurance plans and options. 

    Moses Lake’s Rashco Farm Supply, and owner Tim Prickett, were among the vendors at the 2023 potato conference.
 File photo 

2024 Washington-Oregon Potato Conference Schedule

Monday, January 22, 2024

1-4 p.m.: Booth Move In

5-9 p.m.: Early Bird Reception (SpringHill Suites)

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

7 a.m. - 5:15 p.m.: Registration Opens

8 a.m. -10 a.m.: Booth Move In

8 -10:30 a.m.: Ag Innovation: Cutting-Edge Ag Tech

8:05 a.m.: Five in Five: Innovation in Product Mixtures. Kiran Shetty, Syngenta.

8:25 a.m.: Recent Innovations from BASF for the Potato Market Tye Shauck, BASF.

8:45 a.m.: How do these innovations lead the next generation of soil health & pest management? What a Big 4 Basic like Corteva is doing to change the game. Kevin Cochrane, Corteva. Corteva Biologicals & Nematicides 

9:05 a.m.: Nathan Blake, Bayer. Velum Rise, Luna Pro, Delaro Three Newest Additions to Bayer’s Potato Portfolio.

9:25 a.m.: Panel Discussion

10 a.m.-5 p.m.: Trade Show

1:30-5 p.m.: Cultivar Performance Workshop

1:30 p.m.: Cultivar display – view the clones and cultivars from this year’s trials

1:45 p.m.: Field performance and agronomy updates of new clones & cultivars. Mark Pavek, Zach Holden, Rudy Garza, Vito Cantu, WSU – Pullman, Washington

2:10 p.m.: 2023 postharvest storage & quality evaluations. Jake Blauer & Nora Fuller WSU – Pullman, Washington

2:35 p.m.: Broad immunity versus strain-specific resistance in potato cultivars: a case study of Payette Russet. Alex Karasev, University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho

 3 p.m.: Oregon potato breeding & variety development program update. Vidyasagar ‘Sagar’ Sathuvalli, OSU – Hermiston, Oregon

3:25 p.m.: Break

3:35 p.m.: Update on the Tri-State potato variety development work at Prosser. Roy Navarre, USDA-ARS, Prosser, Washington

4 p.m.: A first look comparison of Columbia root-knot nematode-resistant germplasm with potato industry standards. Max J. Feldman, USDA-ARS, Prosser, Washington

4:25 p.m.: Comparison of popular processing and fresh market varieties for agronomic performance in Idaho and Washington. Mike Thornton, University of Idaho, and Jake Blauer, WSU-Pullman, Washington

4:50 p.m.: Adjourn

5-8 p.m.: Trade Show Reception & Potato PAC Auction (TRCC)

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

7:30 a.m.: Continental Breakfast

7:30 a.m.-4 p.m.: Registration Opens

7:55 a.m.-12 p.m.: General Sessions

7:30 a.m.: Continental Breakfast – Three Rivers Convention Center, Kennewick. Andy Jensen, Moderator

7:55 a.m.: Welcome

8 a.m.: Research update on yellow nutsedge control in potatoes. Rui Liu, WSU, Prosser

8:25 a.m.: Potato seed lots: historical performance and agronomic advice for Northwest growers. Mark Pavek, WSU, Pullman

8:50 a.m.: Trends in the climate east of the Cascades: water supply and demand, Nick Bond. Washington State Climatologist, Seattle

9:15 a.m.: Is plant maturity an indicator of bruise susceptibility? Mike Thornton, University of Idaho, Parma

9:40 a.m.: Break

9:55 a.m.: Climate-smart potatoes for the Pacific Northwest: managing soil health for climate-smart outcomes. Ken Frost, OSU, Hermiston

10:20 a.m.: Focus on potato nematodes: sampling, biology, and diagnostic report interpretation. Inga Zasada, USDA-ARS, Corvallis, Oregon

10:45 a.m.: (Re)active carbon as a factor in potato production, Markus Kleber, OSU, Corvallis

11:10 a.m.: Oregon Potato Commission update. Gary Roth, Executive Director

11:35 a.m.: Washington State Potato Commission update. Chris Voigt, Executive Director

12 p.m.: Adjourn

9 a.m.-5 p.m.: Trade Show

12-1:30 p.m.: Hosted Potato Bar, Trade Show, Convention Center. Carrie Wohleb, Moderator

10 a.m.-2 p.m.: Flavor Chip Challenge

12-1:30 p.m.: Hosted Potato Bar

1-4:35 p.m.: General Sessions

1 p.m.: QTL mapping of powdery scab resistance in potato, Abigail Moore, Oregon State University

1:25 p.m.: A tale of two viruses: potato mop top and potato virus Y. Hanu Pappu, WSU, Pullman

1:50 p.m.: The recipe for food as medicine and how potatoes are getting baked in, Bonnie Johnson, Potatoes USA

2:15 p.m.: Potato mop-top virus and other seed source challenges for seed and commercial growers, Jonathan Whitworth, USDA-ARS, Aberdeen, Idaho

2:40 p.m.: Break

2:55 p.m.: Implications for soil moisture management post vine-kill, Connor Buckley, WSU, Pullman

3:20 p.m.: Navigating a global future, Matt Harris, Washington State Potato Commission

3:45 p.m.: Silver scurf: modest threat yet significant cosmetic influencer, Kiwamu Tanaka, WSU, Pullman

4:10 p.m.: Impact of heat on seasonal quality and subsequent field performance, Jacob Blauer, WSU, Pullman

4:35 p.m.: Adjourn

6-9 p.m.: Leadership Recognition Banquet

Thursday, January 25, 2024

7:30 a.m.: Continental Breakfast

7:30 a.m.-12 p.m.: Registration Opens

8 a.m.-12 p.m.: Spanish Language Program

7:30-8 a.m.: Register at General Trade Show Registration Desk

8-8:05 a.m.: Introductions. Moderator: Joe Garcia

8:15-9:15 a.m.: EPA Bulletins Live, Erik Castillo. WSDA Pesticide Compliance

9:15-10:15 a.m.: English: Wildfire Smoke and Outdoor Heat Safety Rules Overview Spanish: Humo de Incendios Forestales y Calor al Aire Libre – Un Resume de las Reglas de Seguridad. Laura Rascon Padilla and Nicolas Hall, Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.

10:15-10:45 a.m.: Break

10:45 a.m.-12 p.m.: Understanding Health Insurance Plans and Options. Joshua Guajardo, CHPW Specialist, Community Health Plan of Washington

12 p.m.: Adjourn

8:05 a.m.-12 p.m.: General Sessions 

7:30 a.m.: Continental Breakfast – Three Rivers Convention Center, Kennewick. Sagar Sathuvalli, Moderator

7:55 a.m.: Welcome

8 a.m.: Can mutation breeding improve Umatilla Russet’s resistance to fusarium dry rot? Femi Omilani, Oregon State University

8:25 a.m.: New directions in potato IPM from the OSU-HAREC entomology program. Josephine Antwi, OSU, Hermiston

8:50 a.m.: Impacts of compost and fall mustard on a potato production system in Hermiston, Oregon, Amber Moore, OSU, Corvallis

9:15 a.m.: Assessing soil health in WA’s potato systems, Deirdre Griffin LaHue, WSU, Mount Vernon

9:40 a.m.: Break

9:55 a.m.: Status, history, and function of the Northwest Potato Research Consortium and introduction of its new manager, Andy Jensen and Raina Spence, Northwest Potato Research Consortium

10:20 a.m.: Update on the development of a systems approach to nematode control in U.S. potato, Cynthia Gleason, WSU, Pullman

10:45 a.m.: National Potato Council update, Mike Wenkel, National Potato Council, Washington D.C.

11:10 a.m.: The Endangered Species Act, EPA and how they will affect pesticide applications, Scott Nielsen, Washington State Department of Agriculture, Olympia

11:35 a.m.: Areawide monitoring and risk prediction for beet leafhopper and potato purple top disease in the Columbia Basin, Rodney Cooper, USDA-ARS, Wapato, Washington

9 a.m.-2 p.m.: Trade Show

12-1 p.m.: Hosted Luncheon, Convention Center. Raina Spence, Moderator

1-4:10 p.m.: General Sessions

1 p.m.: Telling your sustainability story with Potato Sustainability Alliance. Natalie Nesburg, Potato Sustainability Alliance

1:25 p.m.: BLTVA phytoplasma: mapping pathogen prevalence in beet leafhoppers. Kylie Swisher Grimm, USDA-ARS, Prosser, Washington

1:50 p.m.: The underground world of the potato microbiome from bacteria to nematodes. Tim Paulitz, USDA-ARS, Pullman, Washington

2:15 p.m.: Break

2:30 p.m.: Fifteen years of insect identification and biology quizzes: a final exam; plus, an update on neonicotinoid research efforts. Andy Jensen, Northwest Potato Research Consortium, Olathe, CO

2:55 p.m.: Wildfire smoke and outdoor heat safety rules overview. Bradley Farrar, Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, Seattle

3:20 p.m.: Utilizing the WSU Potato Decision Aid Support System for potato-integrated pest management. Tim Waters & Carrie Wohleb, WSU Extension

3:45 p.m.: Conventional or organic control of nematodes in potatoes. Alan Schreiber, Agriculture Development Group, Eltopia, Washington