Expanded Role for Michigan In National Chip Trials
May 17, 2017
Last week SNaC International (former Snack Food Association) announced that Chris Long has been named their new Chipping Potato Specialist. In this role, Chris will be managing SNaC’s chipping trials and working with potato processors with a goal of delivering the best possible varieties of chipping varieties to market.
The Chipping Potato Specialist position with SNaC Int. was originally held by MSU’s Dick Chase, then went to Don Halseth who served in the role for 12 years.
Mike Wenkel, Executive Director of the Michigan Potato Industry Commission is excited about the new role for Long who also manages the Potato Outreach Program at Michigan State University, a partnership program with MPIC. “With Chris’s leadership, we have really been able to expand the capacity of the Potato Outreach Program in Michigan and nationally. As we look at the leadership centered around chipping potatoes in the nation, Michigan is very much in a lead role.”
In 2016, Chris also became the manager of the National Chip Program, the national partnership between growers – through Potatoes USA, and chip processors – through SNaC International.
Today the Potato Outreach Program includes Long as well as two research technicians, Anna Busch and John Calogero. Collectively they are conducting variety trials and other industry focus research on farms across Michigan in addition to adding these national responsibilities.
Wenkel continued, “If you combine Chris’s new role with the SNaC trials, the role of the National Chip Trials and the coordinated efforts of the MPIC Storage and Handling Committee, we are on the forefront here in Michigan to gain experience with the whole line up of future chip varieties while the industry is still learning about them.”
The demonstration storages owned by MPIC and managed by the storage and handling committee has become a key facility in evaluating new chip varieties. From the 2016 harvest, storage data is currently being finalized on two of the up-and-coming varieties along with the collection of storage data on over a dozen varieties just entering the system.