Tractor Treat – An Agricultural Themed Halloween in Idaho



BLACKFOOT, Idaho — From now on, Julie Ann Morris anticipates dressing up large agricultural equipment will be part of the Halloween tradition in this Eastern Idaho community, and more of its children will choose farm-themed costumes.

Morris, a service writer with the AGCO dealer Agri-Service, approached officials at other Blackfoot agricultural businesses in mid-October to find support for a new event, which she called Tractor Treat.

Agri-Service hosted the inaugural Tractor Treat from 4 to 6 p.m. on Oct. 30, with plans to rotate the event among the various participants into the future.

Local businesses including Bingham Cooperative, Spudnik Equipment, AgriSource, Wada Farms, PRB Feed & Oil, Bingham County Implement and Mickelsen Construction sent representatives and decorated equipment to the Agri-Service parking lot, where they hosted games and handed out candy — or, in the case of Wada Farms, Easy-Baker potatoes.

Organizers awarded a prize to the child with the best agriculture-themed costume.

Morris said she was amazed by the interest from other businesses when she and Melonie Fisher, a regional parts manager with Agri-Service, began knocking on doors.

“Some of us are competitors on any given day,” Morris said. “It helps us all remember that we are all partners in this community.”

Morris said Tractor Treat is modeled after trunk or treats, often hosted by churches and involving parking cars in a lot to dispense candy in a safe environment.

Tish Dahman, executive director of the Greater Blackfoot Area Chamber of Commerce, helped set up signs to promote the event.

“The Blackfoot merchants haven’t been active in putting together a Halloween event for children. That’s been left to the various churches and schools,” Dahmen said. “To see our agricultural businesses step up to fill that void — to see them work together — is really exciting.”

Dahmen said the unique concept for the Halloween event also speaks to the importance of agriculture in the local economy.

“It celebrates the identity of the Blackfoot community because we’re an agricultural-based community,” Dahmen said. “It celebrates our lifestyle and our culture.”

Though the focus is on giving back to the community, Agri-Service Blackfoot store manager Rob Fisher said Tractor Treat also presents a chance to show off the store to those who may have missed an open house in July. Fisher said Agri-Service opened its 12th location in a trailer in Blackfoot last October and finished a permanent facility this summer.

For Tractor Treat, Agri-Service put a funny face on a combine and converted a parts truck into a witch’s hat, utilized for a ring-toss game.

Travis Sessions, Manager of Bingham County Implement, a John Deere dealer, sent a utility tractor and a “smushed” dummy beneath a loader. He and his sales associate chose American Gothic-themed costumes, and they brought brochures on their equipment in case any visitors had questions.

“Even though we’re competitors, we’re working hand-in-hand,” Sessions said. “This population really appreciates community support, and the more you can show, the better.”

Tyler Hawker, petroleum manager at Bingham Co-op, helped transform a company trailer into a massive spider hanging over hay bales and dry-ice fog.

“A lot of times, we miss these opportunities to network, and work together and socialize,” Harker said.

***From the Capital Press 


Wada Farms & The US Potato Board Promote Healthy Eating Habits in Schools


US Potato Board Launches ‘Potatoes Raise The Bar’ Program
by United States Potato Board
Posted: Tuesday, August 18, 2015 at 9:03AM EDT
DENVER — The beginning of the 2015/2016 school year is the rallying point for some of the U.S. potato industry’s newest marketing plans and campaigns. The United States Potato Board (USPB) School Nutrition Program has officially launched to reach the 55.5 million strong, and growing, school students who are part of the “Salad Generation.” This youngest generation, a cohort stretching from newborns to age 23, represents the next generation of potato consumers, and makes up about 32 percent of the U.S. population. Where better to reach, teach and instruct the salad generation about the health and nutrition of potatoes than in their schools where 5 billion meals are served annually?The USPB School Nutrition Program is a new initiative that will fulfill a major role within the USPB’s Marketing Program and will be led by Meredith Myers, USPB Global Nutrition Marketing Manager. The objective is straightforward: to increase healthy potato offerings at schools. Ultimately, this new direction will drive new and exciting uses of U.S. potatoes on school meals.This new campaign was kicked off at the School Nutrition Association’s 69th Annual National Conference last month in Salt Lake City, where 2,300 school nutrition and foodservice professionals, and some of the most influential voices and key decision makers for school district menus, were in attendance. The centerpiece of the USPB booth was a Farmers’ Market salad bar, which was merchandised each day with a different theme, and the featured potato dish was sampled (Smokey Chipotle Potato Salad, Creamy Buttermilk Ranch Potato Salad and French Dijon Potato Salad). “Hundreds of school foodservice professionals stopped to talk about Potatoes Raise the Bar,” Myers explained.  “They love potatoes. Their kids love potatoes. So, they are eager to get more information about how potatoes can boost meal participation and increase consumption of vegetable in their schools.”  The USPB hired Ketchum Communications, an agency with extensive experience in school foodservice marketing to help reach this new, young, target consumer. The team includes Garrett Berdan, Chef and Registered Dietitian, a well-known, highly respected consultant in this market. The school nutrition program will provide useful resources and tools to school foodservice professionals:

  • Online toolkit (
  • Flavorful and innovative recipes
  • Merchandising for salad bars and the cafeteria
  • Nutrition information and handouts
  • A blog dedicated to showcasing how schools are using potatoes to raise the bar on their meals
  • Monthly e-newsletters

·         Information from a USPB-facilitated pilot study to gauge how a school with all the USPB merchandising and information and an industry-donated salad bar might use potatoes differently on their menus.

Potato Friendly Salad Bar Challenge

The USPB School Nutrition Program supports the industry’s Potato Friendly Salad Bar Challenge, which was unveiled by USPB President and CEO Blair Richardson at POTATO EXPO 2015 in Orlando, FL, earlier this year. The salad bar challenge is a U.S. potato industry initiative to connect more kids to healthy potato meals in school lunch programs across the nation. As of August 5, 22 salad bars had been donated as a result of the industry’s challenge.

Students in grades K-12 eat over 5 billion school lunches each year, and one more serving of potatoes equates to 3,750,000 cwt FWE. For every salad bar donated, the USPB plans to match the donation. Sign up today and join the challenge or email questions

For more information on the USPB as the nation’s potato marketing organization, positioned as the “catalyst for positive change,” and the central organizing force in implementing programs that will increase demand for potatoes, please visit In an effort to enhance diversity of the Board, USDA encourages women, younger growers, minorities, and people with disabilities to seek positions on the board.

Repost from


Country Hasselback Potatoes

Country Hasselback Potatoes
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
Rate this recipe!
A flavorful side dish that can be made for breakfast or dinner!
6 People
6 People
Country Hasselback Potatoes
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
Rate this recipe!
A flavorful side dish that can be made for breakfast or dinner!
6 People
6 People
Servings: People
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 425º F.
  2. 2. Clean the potatoes under running water. Scrub to remove any dirt. Remember to keep the skin on the potato, do not peel.
  3. 3. so that the potatoes will lay flat in the skillet, slice a small layer off of one lengthwise side of the potato.
  4. 4. Begin to slice the potato "hasselback" style. Slicing the potato making each slice 1/8 inch apart. Make each slice 3/4 of the way down the potato (when it is laying flat) but do not complete the slice. Part must be intact to keep the potato whole.
  5. 5. Melt the butter. While the butter is melting you can dice the garlic. Smaller pieces of garlic will allow it to cook more thoroughly.
  6. 6. Once the butter is melted and the garlic is chopped mix them in the same bowl. Add the parsley, rosemary and thyme to the bowl.
  7. 7. Generously brush the skillet with the butter mixture, be sure to coat the potatoes inside of each slice as well as the outside. Save 1/3 of the butter mixture for basting while the potatoes are cooking.
  8. 8. Place the potatoes in the skillet, sprinkle both types of cheese around the potatoes. Add salt and pepper on top.
  9. 9. The potatoes should bake for 1 hour, while they are baking coat them every 15 minutes or so with the butter mixture. This will make them soft on the inside and crispy on the outside.
Share this Recipe
1 0 0 1 0
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe

Red spud prices expected to return to record highs

SHELLEY, Idaho—Red and yellow potato prices were at historically high levels at the start of August.

As growers throughout the country rushed to dig and capitalize on record prices, however, Shelley, Idaho, grower Reed Searle believes the market for red and yellow spuds became saturated. He watched prices for No. 1, size A, 2,000-pound tote bags of reds drop from about $40 per hundredweight shortly after the start of the month to $14 by Aug. 16.

But Searle, who himself dug his reds earlier than ever before this season, isn’t fretting. He, like many red and yellow spud growers in the Northwest, sees evidence of short crops, due to weather problems in major colored potato regions, and believes prices will rebound in a matter of months.

“They’ve never seen prices like this, so everyone jumps on board,” Searle said, adding such a specialized market is prone to big swings. “Now we’ll just put stuff away and let the dust settle.”

Prices for the 2012-2013 crop started low after harvest and shot up in the spring, hovering at record highs until the recent drop. Searle, who raises 600 acres of reds and 200 acres of yellows for Eagle Eye Produce in Idaho Falls, ships his crop from Aug. 1 through June 1. He switched from growing Russets to colored potatoes in 1998.

“It seemed like more restaurants and food service were going for (reds),” Searle said.

Shane Watt, vice president of sourcing with Wada Farms in eastern Idaho, said poor red crops planted during winter in warm growing areas, damage from heavy rains in key red and yellow seed production areas and expectations of reduced yields in some of the major red and yellow fall commercial growing areas should lead to a favorable supply for the 2013-2014 crop. He predicts this fall’s red and yellow crops will again fetch record prices.

“In general, the red market has been at record highs for several months. It is coming off a little bit, but the forecast, if we can get through harvest, supplies will be limited throughout the season,” Watt said. “We should be able to market this crop at near record levels on pricing.”

Watt said red and yellow harvest started about a week early in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Texas and other major growing areas as growers—especially those without storage—sought to capture peak prices.

Wada Farms has grown its red production 5-6 percent since installing a line in its Pingree, Idaho, processing plant to sort reds and yellows, Watt said. He said acreage has increased steadily in Idaho, though reds and yellows are still niche products, and there’s been a trend toward fresh packing sheds adding equipment to sort colored varieties, which must be polished and handled differently than Russets.

In Washington’s Skagit Valley, a major red and yellow production area, acreage has held flat for the past few years, said Dale Hayton, sales manager with Valley Pride Sales. He said weather damage during each of the past two seasons has held production in check, and he expects an average crop from his region this season.

“We’re a little bit concerned about size and yield,” Hayton said. “There’s been quite a bit of weather damage in the Midwest. We expect the market to be quite strong for this particular crop.

Southeast Idaho grower Ritchey Toevs has noticed healthy increases in demand in recent years for his red potato seed.

However, Toevs sees limitations to growth in the market. Processors have already contracted for their needs with reds and yellows, there’s no dehydrated market for them, and he said it’s more risky to grow fresh colored spuds without a contract than Russets, which can be sold to a multitude of buyers.

“I think people are pretty cautious about expanding into varieties that have only one place to go,” Toevs said.


Click here for link to article

Rain causes delays, possible shortages of sweet potatoes

08/29/2013 02:18:00 PM
Melissa Shipman


Heavy rains this year have delayed the southern sweet potato crop. Here, one of Wada Farms’ growers’ sweet potato seed beds have standing water on them on May 24, at a field in Princeton, N.C.A wet year has caused delays and possible shortages in sweet potato crops in the South, growers say.

“The rain has affected a lot of areas, and I think harvest will be two to three weeks later than normal,” said George Wooten, president of Wayne E. Bailey Produce Inc, Chadbourn, N.C.

Kim Matthews, co-owner of Wynne, Ark.-based Matthews Ridgeview Farms, says she expects their crop to only be about a week late at this point.

“We’ll be harvesting late,” she said.

Wooten says the delayed harvest also likely will mean smaller potatoes.

“With the delayed crop, we probably won’t have as many jumbo sweet potatoes as we normally do,” he said.

Delays could affect holiday volumes

Norman Brown, director of sales for the Raleigh, N.C. office of Wada Farms Marketing Group LLC, says he’s concerned about the upcoming holiday season.

“Thanksgiving is a big mover of sweet potatoes, and the late start may not give us enough product to get through the holiday,” he said.

The issues began at planting time, said Stewart Precythe, president and chief executive officer of Southern Produce Distributors Inc., Faison, N.C.

“When we were transplanting the crop into the field, we had a lot of rain, which got us behind,” he said.

Typically, plants go into the ground between May 15 and June 20, said Precythe, though this year some growers were still planting in July.

It’s still undetermined how the crop will be affected by the late start, although harvest will be later and it’s likely to be smaller.

“Some are predicting the crop to be 10% short. Personally, I think it’s at least 20% short, and it could be shorter depending on the weather we have between now and harvest,” Precythe said.

One reason the outlook is so unpredictable is that the rain varied largely in different areas.

“In a three-mile difference in area, you could have several inches difference in rainfall,” said Sue Johnson-Langdon, executive director of the Smithfield, N.C.-based North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission.

Some locations may be more affected, depending on the soil content.

“Where the soil was too heavy, those fields are likely to have extremely light yields, if any at all,” said Kendall Hill, co-owner of Tull Hill Farms, Kinston, N.C.

However, with as much as 40 inches of rain in June and July, Hill said, there’s likely to be lower yields all around.

“The rest of the crop will also have a setback,” he said.

Hoping for optimal fall weather

Growers need higher temperatures and sunny skies in the coming months.

“We’re hoping we have a good fall with good growing conditions. We need that 85- and 95-degree weather,” Precythe said.

An early freeze would be bad news for growers.

“If we have an early frost, it could be the shortest crop in North Carolina in 20 or 30 years, but it all depends on the weather in September and October,” Precythe said.

Matt Garber, partner at Garber Farms, Iota, La., is optimistic about Louisiana’s crop.

“Right now, the expectation is for an average harvest,” he said.

Garber also hopes the season won’t start too late.

“Most of Louisiana’s crop got put in a little later than normal, but the harvest could be about the same as it normally is,” he said.

In addition to the rain delays, sweet potato acreage in the South is down.

Charles Walker, executive secretary of the U.S. Sweet Potato Council, Columbia, S.C., says acreage is down about 11%, according to information from the National Agriculture Statistics Service.

“In 2012, the production estimates had 135,500 acres. The forecast for this year is only 116,100,” he said.

The shorter supplies likely will be especially noticed in the spring and summer of next year.

Current pricing

Sweet potatoes out of North Carolina were shipping at $15-16 for 40-pound cartons of U.S. No. 1 orange-type potatoes; $10-13 for U.S. No. 1 petite; $7-9 for U.S. No. 2; and $8-10 for ungraded jumbos. according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service.

“I do believe it will affect the potential summer market because acreage is down, and the demand seems to be going up,” Wooten said.

Wooten said growers were uncomfortable with last year’s high acreage.

“Some prices came down below production costs, so it didn’t make sense to plant as much,” he said.

– See more at: