Pocatello Ag Expo, Potato Conference Set

Published online: Dec 20, 2013 Event Calendar John O'Connell, Capital Press
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POCATELLO, Idaho - The potato industry's latest research, innovations and equipment will be on display Jan. 21-23 at the Idaho State University campus during the 46th Annual University of Idaho Potato Conference and 35th Ag Expo.

Scheduled for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Jan. 21 and Jan. 22 and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Jan. 23, the Ag Expo will feature more than 125 exhibitors with the latest potato equipment. The Expo will be in Holt Arena. Admission is free.

Another 100 exhibitors will display innovations and equipment at a trade show in the Pond Student Union Building from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 22 and Jan. 23. Parking for the trade show will be available at Holt Arena, with fee shuttle buses provided.

Potato research and hot topics in the industry will be highlighted during a series of lectures at the student union building.

Often called potato school, the lectures will cover key potato industry topics such as: storage, nematodes, bacterial ring rot, disease identification, alternatives to fumigation, sugar-end development, food safety audits, production costs, beneficial insects, early blight resistance, machinery and harvesting costs, weed management, zebra chip disease, estate planning, cover crops, the affects of the Affordable Health Care Act on farmers and manure management.

Frank Muir, president and CEO of the Idaho Potato Commission, and John Keeling, executive vice president and CEO of the National Potato Council, are scheduled to speak.

"We're still wondering what's going to happen with the Farm Bill, and John Keeling seems to always be up to speed on those things," said Phil Nolte, a University of Idaho Extension seed potato pathologist and co-chairman of the potato conference.

Last year, Nolte said organizers received positive feedback on Potato Science 101, a UI course condensed into six hour-long workshops for the conference. At the upcoming conference, Nolte said organizers will step up the content a bit and offer Potato Science 201, covering: potato crop development, seed physiology and planting, soil and fertility management, seed certification and disease, irrigation and stress physiology and insect management.

For a second year, some lectures at the conference will utilize remote controls, allowing those who attend to vote on answers to potato questions posed by presenters.

Nolte said the conference will also bring back a popular session introduced last year devoted to dispelling potato myths, following the format of a popular television show.

Some courses will also be offered in Spanish, and a few of the most popular presentations will be given more than once. Nolte said about nine pesticide application license recertification credits will be available.

Admission to the conference will be $25 at the door for Idaho residents and $90 for those who come from out of state.

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