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Discussions to focus on cooperative, potato cyst
BY TY BEAVER H&N Staff Writer
C O R V A L L I S — T h e 40th annual Oregon Potato Conference is Jan. 25-26 in Corvallis. The Klam a t h B a s i n G r o w e r s Association organized the event for the first time since 1997, and took measures to increase attendance and participation from growers across the state.
   When the association hosted the conference 10 years ago it was in Klamath Falls at the Shilo Inn. Attendance wasn’t high, partially because of c o s t o f a t t e n d a n c e a n d b e c a u s e i t w a s n ’ t i n a major metropolitan area that offered a lot of entertainment and attractions, s a i d B r i a n C h a r l t o n , extension cropping systems specialist.
   The association chose to have the conference in t h e W i l l a m e t t e V a l l e y this year for that reason as well as pay up to 80 p e r c e n t o f r e g i s t r a t i o n fees for those attending.
   Topics also were chosen to encourage people to attend the conference. Along with regular scientific talks, speaker panels will be available.
   One panel will discuss issues surrounding the United Potato Growers cooperative. The growing organization has sought t o i n c r e a s e p r o f i t s b y decreasing acreage, but i s s u e s s u c h a s h o w t o enforce rules of the coope r a t i v e h a v e l e d s o m e growers to be skeptical.
   “We tried to get a mix of growers that are both for and against it,” Charlton said of the panel.
   A n o t h e r p a n e l w i l l f o c u s o n r e t a i l e r s a n d what they are doing to increase demand for potato products and special varieties, as well as packaging and marketing.
   In addition to the panels, Rick Walsh will give a talk on bio-diesel production, there will be an update on the discovery of the potato cyst nematode in Idaho in 2006 and a presentation on varieties being developed by the Oregon State University potato breeding program.
   Registration after Jan. 1 is $50 for Oregon growers and applications are available at  
 www.oregonspuds.com/publications/index.htm  C l i c k o n t h e “Registration form” link.
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