The 2024 Program

Vince Sgabellone - KEYNOTE

Industry Trends and their Impact on the Potato Market

Vince Sgabellone has worked in many different roles across the food and food service industry. From sales to marketing, distribution to product development, and manufacturers to operators. All of this has served him well since entering the research industry with Circana more than a decade ago.

IRI and NPD came together in 2023 to become the world’s leading advisor on the complexity of consumer behavior, as Circana™

No other source tells you more about what Americans eat and drink… and how they think. Eating Patterns in America provides a 360-degree view of food and beverage consumption behavior, both in-home and away ― the foundation for understanding what has transpired and anticipating what’s ahead.

Sheldon Kennedy - LUNCHEON

We Are Better Together

 Sheldon Kennedy won a Memorial Cup, World Junior Gold Medal and skated for three teams in his eight-year NHL career. He is best known for his courageous decision to charge his Major Junior Hockey league coach with sexual assault for the abuse he suffered over a five year period while a teenager under his care. Through this disclosure, and the important work that Sheldon continues to do, he has become an inspiration to millions around the world.

Kennedy’s off-ice contributions are extensive and his impact has extended will beyond sport and the Canadian border. Sheldon has been instrumental in bringing governments, public and private sector partners together to work collaboratively to influence policy change and improve the way child abuse is handled. He has influenced changes in Canadian law and has taken his message to the
International Olympic Committee and the US Senate. His impact has extended well beyond sport and the Canadian border.

Sheldon was Co-Founder of the Calgary Child Advocacy Centre, the first-of-its-kind in Canada, offering full wrap-around services for victims of child abuse. He is also the Co-Founder of Respect Group, which provides empowering online abuse, bullying and harassment prevention education to sport organizations, schools and the workplace. Respect Group has currently certified over 2 million Canadians.

Full Bio Here

John Mesko

Potato Sustainability Alliance: Helping You Tell Your Sustainability Story

Rooted in an understanding of food and farming, John Mesko has worked in sustainability for over 25 years, working with supply chain partners to help farmers learn about, evaluate, and choose farming practices which make sense for their bottom line.  As the Executive Director of the Potato Sustainability Alliance, John and his team are collecting and reporting data and information which help to tell the unique story of potato sustainability.  He speaks regularly about agricultural sustainability and is the host of the Resource Positive Agriculture podcast.  He can be reached at mesko@potatosustainability.org

Technical Speakers

Dr. Julie Pasche
– Adjusting Plant Date for Managing Verticillium

Verticillium wilt can cause yield losses of up to 50%.  Julie will share the results of a research study she conducted to evaluate the effect of planting date on Verticillium wilt development across three different cultivars to compare susceptible, moderately susceptible and resistant varieties.  Emergence, verticillium wilt severity, total and marketable yield, and V. dahliae in stems at harvest were measured.  The interaction between cultivar, fumigation, and planting date was significant.

– Leaf Spot Management in Response to Fungicide Resistance Challenges

Foliar fungicides continue to be the primary means of early blight management, however, alternaria species have developed reduced sensitivity and/or resistance to many of the foliar fungicides we rely upon. Julie will provide an
update on her research work in this area which is critical for growers and agronomists to know in order to make the best informed choices to maintain fungicide effectiveness.

Dr. Andy Robinson

- Cultivating confidence: Ensuring reliable data

Learn how to properly set up on farm trials to generate data that you can trust.  Andy will walk through the appropriate way to conduct on farm trials so you are able to assess new products and technologies under your own unique conditions.

Tuber trauma: Demystifying herbicide, physiological, and other factors

You won’t want to miss this presentation where Andy will share numerous photos of difficult to diagnose physiological issues that are often confused for other pathological conditions.  Learn what to look for and improve your in-field diagnostic abilities.

Dr. Ian MacRae

Insecticides in Potatoes: sometimes it's like going around a blind corner...

Could you be inadvertently creating or adding to the problem of Colorado potato beetle resistance to insecticides when you are spraying for other insects like grasshoppers?  There are a number of factors to consider when choosing an insecticide; one of which is the indirect impacts on non target
pests.  These considerations coupled with a lack of suitable options can make insecticide decisions very difficult.

Cam Ogilvie

Safeguarding and Enhancing Soil Health in Manitoba Potato Production

Enriching soil enhances life from the microscopic scale to the global scale. Adopting soil health systems can increase microbial diversity, improve farmer livelihood, increase agricultural productivity, and build climate resilience.  Cam has been involved in looking at ways to improve soil health specifically in potato systems across North America.

Cameron Ogilvie [pronounced "oh-gill-vee"] is a Soil Health Educator with the Soil Health Institute – a global non-profit with a mission to safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of soils through scientific research and
advancement. Cameron leads soil health education programs for farmers, agronomists, and food companies as they work to implement profitable, resilient, and climate-smart regenerative soil management systems. He previously served as the Knowledge Mobilization Coordinator for Soils at
Guelph. Cameron has an MSc in Cropping Systems & Agronomy from the University of Guelph where he studied the on-farm impacts of cover crops (he prefers to call them “service crops”) on water and nutrient cycling.

Graeme Kingdon

“I fought to live”

A full court room heard RCMP Corporal Graeme Kingdon speak these words to the man who shot him during a break and enter in 2018.   Graeme Kingdon explores how his incident occurred, how it feels to be a victim of rural crime
and how to protect yourself and your farm from becoming a victim. 

Graeme Kingdon was raised on grain farm near Basswood Manitoba.  After studying agriculture at the University of Manitoba and the University of Guelph, he joined the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 2002.  After a 20 year career policing rural Manitoba, Graeme retired from the RCMP in 2022. 
He, along with his wife Nakella and daughters Nora and Bailey now grow u-pick strawberries on the family farm at Basswood.


Moderator – Josh Krautkramer –Agri-Inject

Grower: Sheldon Wiebe, JP Wiebe

Grower: Russell Jonk, Swansfleet Alliance

Agronomist: Darren White, Delta Ag

Fertigation is as much an art as it is a science, with many factors that play a role in the decision- making process.  This grower panel will be a great opportunity to hear different grower perspectives on fertigation strategy.  Learn what factors they
consider when choosing products, application amounts and timing and what
methods they are using to achieve the best nutrient and water use efficiency to
maximize yield, quality, and economic return.