The 54th annual Montana Seed Potato Seminar and Grower Meeting is slated to take place in Missoula, Mont., at the Holiday Inn Downtown, Nov. 6-7, 2019. Nearly 300 seed potato growers from Montana and surrounding states are expected to attend.

Preceding the seminar, on Tuesday, Nov. 5, will be meetings for the Montana Potato Improvement Association (MPIA). They will have research and advisory committee meetings as well as a board meeting and comprehensive growers meeting.

Wednesday will mark the official start to the seminar with breakfast and registration beginning at 7 a.m. Industry leaders from the National Potato Council, United Potato Growers and Potatoes USA will report. A 2019 Montana seed potato crop report will also be given on Wednesday morning.

The keynote speaker for the seminar will be Dr. David Kohl, professor emeritus, Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech. Dr. Kohl’s speech titled “Positioning for Success in the Changing Economic Environment,” will discuss economic trends and how they can affect growers. The current agriculture economy exposes a lot of risk to producers, but it can also offer some opportunity. Dr. Kohl’s domestic and global experience will provide seminar attendees with key viewpoints and insight. His speech will begin at 11 a.m., on Wednesday.

Unique to this seminar is the sponsored presentations taking place Wednesday afternoon following the lunch break. Companies and businesses that provide a sponsorship for the seminar will have an opportunity at this time to present on their product or services offered.

“This has actually been a really neat addition to our program. Companies always want to present their information, but you are always concerned about it being biased. Well if they are paying to present it and everybody knows that, it kind of levels the playing field,” explained Nina Zidack, director of the Montana Seed Potato Certification.

Informational presentations will continue on Thursday, Nov. 7, beginning with a breakfast and welcome speech by Roger Starkel, president of MPIA. Following Starkel’s remarks will be a line-up of scientific presentations, beginning with one from Dr. Stewart Gray, a professor from Cornell University. Dr. Gray will speak about potato viruses and things that can be done to mitigate their progression. Dr. Dennis Johnson, professor emeritus from Washington State University, will then discuss managing potato blight in Montana.

Thursday will continue with talks about the advantages and disadvantages of mini-tubers produced by nutrient film technique, understanding herbicide resistance, basic potato equipment and storage disinfecting and early dying in potato cropping systems.

This annual seminar serves as a great networking and collaborative platform for seed potato growers in the region. With access to objective information and scientific based presentations, seminar attendees will leave armed with more knowledge for the coming growing year.

If interested in attending the conference, please reach out to the Montana State Potato Lab by calling 406-994-3150.

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