MOSES LAKE, WA-Othello, WA, grower Lynn Olsen, Sr. was honored as the annual Potato Man for All Seasons by the National Potato Council at its annual meeting on January 12. The award is equivalent to induction to the Hall of Fame. Sponsored by The Grower magazine, the award is given to an individual who has made a lifetime commitment to the U.S. potato industry.
"It is fitting that Lynn was selected for this award," said Washington State Potato Commission Executive Director Chris Voigt, who attended the meeting. "Not only is Lynn a go-to guy when we need advice or credible testimony, but he is one of the guys who prods the industry-state and national-to keep active. He keeps us on our toes."
A former WSPC chair, Olsen has traveled to Olympia and Washington, DC on numerous occasions to educate legislators and regulators on cultural practices of potato growers and how legislation and regulation impact farming. He has been instrumental in keeping crop protectants registered for use on potatoes and has volunteered his farming operations for instructional tours and videos.
Olsen has served as the national President of the NPC, and is currently involved as a member of the NPC Environmental Affairs Committee and the WSPC Environmental and Regulatory Committee.
Eight delegates from the WSPC attended the NPC meeting in Southern California. Growers from 19 potato producing states met to finalize legislative and regulatory priorities for the U.S. potato industry. Major issue discussions focused on the 2007 Farm Bill, immigration reform, Endangered Species Act reform, trade and market access, potato research appropriations, uniform food safety labeling, and a review of various water issues across the nation.
Pasco grower Ed Schneider was re-elected to the NPC Executive Committee and will serve as Vice President and Chair of the Legislative Committee. The states also agreed to increase their contribution to the NPC in order to hire an additional staff member to address legislative policy.
"The increase will not cost Washington growers any additional assessments," noted Voigt, "and we will greatly benefit from increased support in Washington, D.C."