Seed Potato Certification Program

PO Box 172060, MSU-Bozeman

Bozeman, Montana  59717-2060


March 2003


-         Board of Directors Meeting.

-         Hawaii Test

-          National Seed Potato Certification Meetings

MSU Potato Advisory Committee and MPIA Board of Director’s meeting

The meeting was held at the Holiday Inn in Bozeman on January 30. Present were Steve Streich (Chairman), Jack Lake, Steve Maughan, Bill Cottom, Bob Starkel, John Sherwood, Arnold Foust, Kathryn Foust, Art Mangels, Bill Kimm, John Venhuizen, Sid Schutter, Dave Taylor, Steve Baril, Elaine Nichols, Eileen Carpenter, Anna Sun and Mike Sun.   Minutes of the meeting can be obtained by calling the MSU Potato Certification Office at 994-3150. 


MPIA Business

1.      Jack Lake is the new president of the MPIA for 2004.  Along with that, he will automatically become the chairman of the MSU Advisory Board.  Dr. John Sherwood continues to serve as the Secretary of the MSU Advisory Board.

2.      Arnold and Kathryn Foust, Chairs of the 2003 Montana Seed Potato Seminar, gave a brief report on the seminar, including the difference in revenues and expenses.  Everything was positive. They both were applauded for a job well done. 

3.      The 2004 Montana Seed Potato Seminar will be held on November 11 and 12, in Bozeman.  District II (Gallatin County) growers will host the meeting.  


Changes in MSU Seed Potato Certification Rules and Regulations 

  The MSU Advisory Board has recommended that, for out-of-state shipping only, the maximum tolerance for PVY in Generation 2 classes of all seed potato varieties be changed from 0.5% to 1%.

This recommendation will go to the Montana growers for approval, to MSU legal counsel for review, then to the MSU President for signature.   Once all is done, it will become part of the 2004 MSU Seed Potato Certification Rules. 

Also, for seed of all classes to be planted back in Montana, the maximum tolerance for PVY remains 0.5% ELISA tests. 

MPIA District Directors are hereby requested to conduct respective District meetings and send the meeting minutes to the MSU Seed Potato Certification Office.


Hawaii Test

            Results of the Post-harvest grow-out test in Hawaii were sent out in time for growers to take them to the Moses Lake meeting.  The results included visual inspection and ELISA tests for PVY, PVY-n, and GMO.  There was no GMO and PVY-n detected by ELISA; also, no potato leaf roll and very little mosaic were found in the visual inspection.

The Hawaii grow-out plot was planted around November 20.  By December 25, Russet Burbank had grown to 10 inches high!  The plants grew beautifully and were not damaged by the unusual amount of rainfall, more than 30 inches, which hit Oahu island between the last week of 2003 and the first week of 2004.  Aloun Farm’s people did a good job in managing the potatoes for us.

Many Montana seed potato growers, Washington growers, and Idaho growers came to visit the Montana potatoes and Aloun Farm.  Mr. and Mrs. Mike Stoker of Potato Country also came to visit the plot.  They both came as invited guests by Everitt Foust and the seminar committee.  Montana’s Hawaii grow-out test was reported in the article, “Testing Seed in Paradise”, in the February Issue of Potato Country magazine. 

By the way, to ensure the Hawaii tests were accurate, the results of ELISA tests were precisely compared to that of the summer tests; for inconsistencies, leaf samples were re-picked for re-test.   It took a lot of time to do, but it was necessary.  A special thanks should be given to Susie Siemsen, who spent many hours of her own time to get the virus testing done, Elaine Nichols, who went to help Anna Sun pick leaves and didn’t get a day off from picking leaves in Oahu, and Anna Sun, who worked hard to get the leaves picked and re-picked for the lab testing.  Without them, the results would not have been done in time for the Moses Lake meeting. 


National Seed Potato Certification Meetings

            The seed potato certification officials, the certification and disease management subcommittee of National Potato Council, and eight growers met on December 8, in Long Beach, CA.  Sid Schutter and Mike Sun attended the meeting.  Three topics of discussion concerned Montana: the potato virus management plan, the potato industry improvement plan, and the necrotic virus management plan.

Potato Virus Management Plan

There is an urgency to get this plan in place because testing requirements for tuber necrotic virus complexes and PVY-n may become obstacles for trade.  Much of the discussion focused on using the same control protocol at the border.  Consensus is that an audited self-inspection program should be available and acceptable to go both ways across the border. 

            Potato Industry Improvement Plan.  This is a plan dealing with a national concept of seed potato certification to develop a national overview over the state seed potato certification programs.  A final draft of a memorandum of understanding between APHIS and the State Plant Health authorities were discussed in February during the NPC meeting in Washington, D.C.  Sid Schutter represented Montana at the NPC meeting.

            Necrotic Virus Management Plan.  The diseases addressed in this plan are the PVY complex, Potato Mop-top virus, and Tobacco Rattle virus.  All of these viruses can cause necrotic symptoms in potato tubers and are drawing great attention in potato trade.  Discussions included research needs such as varieties, vector efficiency, testing procedures, inspection procedures, and putting together reference materials for inspectors to know which tuber necrotic symptoms should be checked further.



            MPIA District IV Director, Mr. Wayne Wright Maughan, passed away on the evening of February 19, in Fort Benton, after a long illness. He is survived by his wife, Geraldine, 10 children, and 37 grandchildren. 

            Wayne was born Jan. 25, 1935, in Ronan, Montana.  He married Geraldine Swainston in Cardston, Alberta, Canada in 1955.

Wayne started raising seed potatoes in Ronan in 1976 and moved to Fort Benton in 1998, where he, his wife Geraldine, son Steve and families built a beautiful seed potato farm.  He was elected as Director in 2002.  In his short tenure as Director, he stressed high standards for Montana’s seed potato certification rules and regulations and was very much concerned with fair trade between the U.S. and Canada.

            Wayne has always loved working with the soil” Mrs. Maughan wrote, “ As a child, he gained the reputation for being a good worker and not wanting to quit until the job was done, be it picking strawberries or pulling weeds. He always wanted to be a farmer and even when working in town, he rented some land to farm.  Mornings and evenings were spent taking care of the growing crops.  His first field of potatoes was grown in Quincy, Washington.  After moving back to Ronan in 1963, he worked on his dad’s farm for a time and then went to work at Peavey Company where he was Assistant Manager and Manager of the Fertilizer plant.  In 1973, he quit his job in town to farm full time.  Having worked closely with potato farmers with his ‘town job’, he decided to try his luck at raising seed potatoes in 1976, and they have been a main crop since that time”.