Organic Field Day Announced

Published online: Sep 27, 2006
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The Potato Growers of Idaho, the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides and the University of Idaho will be hosing an organic field day near Blackfoot, Oct. 4, 2006, from 1 to 4 p.m. to instruct Idaho farmers how to grow for the organic market.

University of Idaho cropping systems specialist Bryan Hopkins, whose team planted the 55-acre demonstration trial, will lead a tour of the plots, which are in the first year of a seven-year rotation. Speakers at the event will outline the USDA Organic Certification Program; discuss marketing opportunities, sprout inhibition and storage management for organic potatoes, as well as describing production practices and challenges for organic barley and wheat. Organic potato growers will be on hand to discuss their experience with growing organic potatoes in Idaho.

PGI Executive Director Keith Esplin indicates demand for organic Idaho potatoes is currently outstripping supply.

"We're getting inquiries from some major users, and we're concerned that if we don't have production in Idaho, we'll be giving those customers to somebody else," Esplin said.

According to Jennifer Miller, sustainable agriculture program coordinator for NCAP, the national organic market has been growing at least 20 percent annually and Idaho only has about 350 acres of organic potatoes to sell.

"This is the fastest growing sector within agriculture, so it provides some real opportunities," said Miller.

The even will take place seven miles southwest of Blackfoot. Field day participants can take exit 89 off I-15, turn first west onto US 91, then immediately north onto W. 300 S. (Riverton Road). Travel north for a half-mile then follow the road west for 2.3 miles. Turn south onto 700 W. (Blackhawk Road) then travel another half-mile before turning west into the field.

Interested persons should RSVP the Potato Growers of Idaho at (208) 785-1110 or Miller at (208) 850-6504.