J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 9 POTATO GROWER 7 to more food being eaten away from home or via home delivery. Other factors are the movement towards plant-based diets, particularly at foodservice; the continued adoption of specialized diets such as keto- genic or gluten free and the desire for functional food that provides more than just basic nourishment. In the international markets the ongoing trade fight between the U.S. and our trading partners is beginning to show up as a negative impact on potato exports. The 20% retaliatory tariff on frozen product entering Mexico has resulted in a decline of 21% in U.S. exports from June through September compared to last year. The more recently imposed retaliatory tariff on frozen product into China resulted in a 16% decline in September exports. With the implementation of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTTP) in 2019, which includes Japan but not the U.S., we will face a real disadvantage on frozen and dehy potatoes in our number one market. It is important that the United States defend our existing markets and constantly develop new markets around the world. Fortunately, world trade in potatoes has grown 23% over the past five years and is forecast to continue this growth for the foreseeable future. The 2018 potato crop in the EU is down roughly 18% from the previ- ous year, which creates a huge opportunity for the U.S. if sufficient supplies can be found to meet this demand. Our industry must be flexible and willing to evolve so that we can adjust to external threats like trade disputes and take advantage of the growth opportunities, be they value added packs of convenient fresh potatoes, expanding consumption of potato chips, the expanding use of frozen fries in new channels such as Taco Bell or new dishes such as breakfast bowls at Wendy’s or fresh potatoes to new markets such as Korea, Myanmar or Central America. This is a great time to be part of the potato industry. The potato is America’s favorite vegetable; and, demand is growing. Count on Techmark for all of your storage ventilation needs. Contact us at 517-322-0250. www.techmark-inc.com