Getting Potatoes to Russia

Getting Potatoes to Russia

Getting Potatoes to Russia. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Line On Agriculture.

It's much easier now for American potato growers and shippers to export their product to Russia because of an agreement signed this spring in Oregon. A delegation of Russian government officials came to Oregon to see the inspection process and expertise used by the State Department of Agriculture to certify potatoes as pest and disease free prior to shipment. That helped assure the delegation that a good system is in place and led to a signed protocol for all US potatoes coming into Russia. ODA's Jim Cramer says the agreement opens the door a little more for agriculture.

CRAMER: If they've got confidence in our system after coming and witnessing it first hand, that, I think, gives us an opportunity to expand for other commodities.

The Russians were taken to a potato packer in Sherwood to see how ODA inspects and certifies.
CRAMER:  Which goes to the daily on site, load by load evaluation of the product and the particular training that each one must go through in order to work for the Oregon Department of Agriculture in this area of inspections and certifications.
The protocol requires state inspection for a half dozen potato pests or diseases of concern. The US potato industry expects the agreement to increase exports to Russia. Oregon, specifically, expects to see sales to Russia up to five million dollars in the next couple of years. Cramer says it's important for Russian officials to see there is a government program to inspect and certify for quality and for absence of pests or diseases. The signed agreement is evidence of that importance.

CRAMER: That means being involved in delegations like this to show that they can put a lot of trust in the systems that we are doing, and it is up to our fine growers in the State of Oregon to produce a high quality product.

Cramer says even though the agreement helps all potato-producing states in the US, there could be some benefit that it was signed after a site visit to Oregon, where the potato inspection process has been witnessed and approved by the Russian government.

CRAMER: So now, if a producer-shipper-seller of Oregon potatoes contacts a perspective buyer in Russia, the name Oregon will ring, will resonate with them.

That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Northwest Ag Information Network.

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