More than 150 potato growers extended their stay in Orlando, Florida, following Potato Expo 2018 to attend the National Potato Council (NPC) annual meeting, held Jan. 12-13.
NPC committees met to hear from industry leaders on top policy issues including research funding, transportation/trucking issues, the 2018 Farm Bill, NAFTA renegotiation updates and the Worker Protection Standard revisions currently underway.
A new leadership team is in place to continue working on these issues. During the meeting, Cully Easterday of Pasco, Washington, was installed as NPC’s 2018 president. The NPC delegates also approved the 2018 Executive Committee, which includes Larry Alsum, Friesland, Wisconsin, first vice president, Finance and Office Procedures; Dominic LaJoie, Van Buren, Maine, vice president, Environmental Affairs; Britt Raybould, St. Anthony, Idaho, vice president, Legislative and Government Affairs; R.J. Andrus, Idaho Falls, Idaho, vice president, Industry Research and Grower Outreach; Jared Balcom, Pasco, Washington, vice president, Trade Affairs; and Dwayne Weyers, Center, Colorado, immediate past president.
The annual awards banquet provided an opportunity for NPC leaders to express appreciation and celebrate achievements. Melanie Wickham was recognized as the Potato Woman of the Year for her commitment to the industry and years of service to the Empire State Potato Growers Association. The NPC also recognized Leon and Lance Hapka of HFC, Inc. from Halma, Minnesota, with the 2017 Environmental Stewardship Award. The growers are credited with developing innovative approaches to safeguarding the environmental resources on their farm.
Dwayne Weyers presented awards to his fellow 2017 executive committee members in appreciation of their efforts and also presented President’s Awards to Rick Ellithorpe with Aspen Produce, Jim Ehrlich with the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee and Linda Weyers, his wife.
The NPC Summer Meeting will be held July 18-20 at the Icicle Village Resort in Leavenworth, Washington.