Potato Commissioners Welcome New Board Members

Members of the Washington State Potato Commission Board welcome two new members and one returning member. Grower members of the board appointed Mike Dodds of Moses Lake and reappointed Ellie Charvet of Pasco to two at-large positions. Dodds is resource manager at Basic American Foods and currently serves as chair of the Washington State Potato Conference Board. Charvet has served on the board as an at-large member since 1999 and was chair of the board in 2006-07. Grower Nelson Cox from Warden was elected to fill the position being vacated by Allen Floyd, who has served on the commission for 12 years.

Nine members of the 15-member board are growers elected by Washington potato growers in elections conducted by the Washington State Department of Agriculture. Those grower members appoint five at-large board members, who may be growers or otherwise associated with the Washington potato industry. The WSDA director appoints the 15th board member on behalf of the department. Board members serve three-year terms.

Fertilizer Industry Endows Professorship

The Nutrients for Life Foundation Professor of Soil and Food Crop Nutrition has been created at Oklahoma State University (OSU). The position, which is being funded in part by the Nutrients for Life Foundation, The Fertilizer Institute and the International Plant Nutrition Institute, will explore the linkages between fertilizer use and the nutritional quality of food. The industry pooled its resources to donate $250,000 to OSU. Through a matching program made available from oil and gas executive and OSU alum T. Boone Pickens and the state of Oklahoma, the fertilizer industry’s $250,000 will translate to $1 million to fund a professorship in perpetuity. The cross-disciplinary position will be located within the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and work closely with the college’s plant and soil sciences department and the Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center. OSU hopes to have the position filled in 2009.

New President at IFOAM

Katherine DiMatteo, senior associate at Wolf, DiMatteo and Associates and former executive director of the Organic Trade Association (OTA), has been elected president of the World Board of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM). DiMatteo will head the 10-member IFOAM World Board for the next three years. Other members are from Australia, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Peru, the Philippines, Switzerland and Uganda. Roberto Ugas of Peru and Urs Niggli of Switzerland were named vice presidents and with DiMatteo will comprise the IFOAM executive committee.

Farm Works Wins Two AE50 Awards

The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) has selected two Farm Works systems, the Site Pro Dispatch and the Titan RH hand-held device, as winners of the society’s AE50 best and brightest awards for 2008. Site Pro Dispatch is retail-level software for wireless data exchange that is designed to track machinery and equipment for co-ops, agronomy dealers, and custom applicators. The hand-held PC, known as Titan RH, uses software technology for field applications, including mapping, soil sampling, field scouting, variable rate, and more. Winning products are expected to save producers time, cost and labor, while improving user safety. In addition, ASABE award guidelines state that environmental impact must be a factor, while keeping production and operating costs low.  

Pitts Joins MOI

Marrone Organic Innovations, Inc. (MOI) announced that Keith Pitts has joined the company as vice president of regulatory affairs. Pitts has worked in senior legislative, administrative, regulatory and public policy roles for more than two decades. In that time, he has been a senior-level administrator and negotiator who has been actively involved in shaping domestic and international policies regarding pesticides, organic agriculture, agricultural biotechnology, invasive species, climate change, specialty crops and food safety.

dmrkynetec Appoints Vice President of Research

dmrkynetec has appointed Kerry Hubbard to the position of vice president of research. He brings over 25 years of agriculture marketing experience to dmrkynetec his expertise ranges from market analysis, strategic planning, and pricing management to product management. His crop knowledge, combined with his experience in the seeds, traits and agricultural chemistry industries, will aid him when working with clients to better identify and analyze market opportunities. In his new position, he will focus on partnering with clients on custom research to identify opportunities and support the strategic growth of their businesses.

Seed Industry Forms Educational Foundation

The American Seed Trade Association has formed the First the Seed Foundation to encourage education, outreach and communication on the value of crops and food produced from seed. The foundation’s highest priority is the education of youth. Efforts will include multimedia and Web-based curriculums to be used in classrooms, development of an introductory video on the seed industry’s role in American agriculture, the distribution of seed and informational kits to schools and youth organizations, and the promotion of the value of quality seed and the impacts of the seed industry on every person’s life who eats food or uses agricultural products. Bud Hughes of Verdant Partners has been named president of the board for the foundation.

Energid to Develop Robotic Citrus Harvester

Energid Technologies Corporation has been funded by the USDA under the Small Business Innovation Research Program to develop a new robotic citrus harvesting system. This system will combine the intelligence of robotics with the efficiency of bulk fruit removal to reduce harvesting costs to the citrus grower. The system will use multiple color cameras and many simultaneous removal mechanisms to pick both grapefruit and oranges. It is targeted for citrus harvested for conversion into juice. Work on the project will be done in Massachusetts, Florida, Texas and California.

Win an ATV from ACI

Agri-Cover, Inc. will be giving away a JetMoto Alpine Renegade ATV valued at $899. It has a 110cc four-stroke engine, automatic transmission, front and rear disc brakes, and a maximum speed of 28 mph. Visit www.agricover.com to view the prize and enter. The deadline to enter is November 28, and the drawing will be held on December 1. Only one registration per household will be accepted.

HMI Announces Two New Hires

Doug Cowles, president and CEO of Horticultural Asset Management, Inc. (HMI), has announced that Bill George and Sherri Koester have joined the firm. George has been named director of field services, and Koester has been named director of plant data and content.

As director of field services, George will serve as a liaison between the firm and current and potential clients regarding the specific type, value and condition of their landscape assets. As director of plant data and content, Koester will handle plant data collection and conduct research for new company products.  

Spectrum Welcomes New Team Member

Natallia Schleter has joined Spectrum Technologies, Inc.’s international sales team as a customer service representative. Primarily assisting with the company’s Spanish speaking customers, Schleter is responsible for inside sales, quotations and order fulfillment. Originally from Argentina, she brings over 11 years of customer service experience.