Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association

In the November 2013 Badger Common’Tater

Spud Seed Centennial:

Wisconsin Seed Potato Certification Program Celebrates 100 Years of High Quality, Reliable Seed

In his address to Wisconsin growers, at the Wisconsin Potato Grower Association Convention in November of 1913, Prof. William Stuart, USDA horticulturalist, presented a talk on seed potato selection and improvement. It was a practical methodology for potato farmers, covering everything from potato breeding, line selection, and pure seed maintenance. As he concluded his address, he said this: “Let your motto be, good seed, true to name and type, free from varietal mixture and from disease, and all the other good things of life will be added unto you.”

And with 100 potato crops since then, Wisconsin can agree, many of the good things of life have been added unto us; all due to a century of partnership between the University of Wisconsin and farmers keeping Wisconsin’s seed potato industry among the nation’s elite.

For the complete story on 100 years of seed potato certification in Wisconsin, read the special 100th Anniversary edition (November 2013) of The Badger Common’Tater.

Lelah Starks Elite Foundation Seed Potato Farm in Rhinelander

An aerial view of the Lelah Starks Elite Foundation Seed Potato Farm in Rhinelander. The farm’s cool climate and isolation from other potato fields are the first line of defense against diseases.

The Badger Beat

By Dr. Amy Charkowski, UW-Madison Dept. of Plant Pathology

Finding the Pink Reds, Long Superiors, and Russets Gone Wrong

Potatoes are simply swollen underground stems. Since we use potato tubers to plant potato crops, each plant in a potato field is grown from a cutting off of the original tubers harvested from a cross made by a breeder. That cross may have been made over a century ago, so when we eat Russet Burbank or Red Norland, we are eating tubers identical to those that our grandparents, or even our great-great- grandparents may have eaten.

Or maybe not.

Mutations can happen in potato and these mutant lines are sometimes more attractive, such as Dark Red Norland, which was derived from Norland, or they may be more robust and yield better than the original potato variety, such as the various Russet Norkotah selections.

For the full story, check out the November issue of The Badger Common’Tater magazine.

WI Seed Certification Program Evaluation Crew

The Wisconsin seed potato certification program evaluation crew examines new lines for use at the State Farm in Rhinelander. Pictured are (L-R) Alex Crockford, Jim Meyer, Dianna Kessler and Rick Hafner.

Walking for Water:

WPVGA Sponsors First Annual WELLers Walk to Help Build Wells in AfricaWellers Walk Logo

One small walk by some central Wisconsin residents was a giant leap for villagers in Africa.

In an effort to raise funds to build wells in Africa, Makah Water for All held its first annual WELLers Walk on September 28 in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. This unique event consisted of a walk along the Wisconsin River, from Pfiffner Park to Bukolt Park, with participants repeatedly filling and carrying water jugs to a central location, as if they were making the trek many villagers in Cameroon, Africa make daily, simply to gather enough water for their family’s immediate needs.

This family-friendly event was designed to raise awareness of the need for clean drinking water and raise funds to help deliver it to those in need. The event also included a presentation on ten wells that have already been built, plans for future wells and information on how to become a WELLer. All proceeds go toward building more wells (each well costs about $5,000) and improving more lives. For more details and photos of the event, please see the November 2013 issue of The Badger Common’Tater.

Sam Dinga and Carol Okray

Makah Water for All founder Sam Dinga is pictured with Carol Okray of Okray Family Farms, a major sponsor of the WELLers Walk.

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