The committee formed to explore membership into the United Potato Growers of America met in East Grand Forks, Minn., Monday along with concerned growers, and voted to move forward with a local membership drive to join the national organization.
Initial membership would be for one year, and could be extended or discontinued at the group's discretion. The next step will be for wash plant managers to present the membership proposal to their growers.
The goal is to sign up as many growers as possible to lower the per acre assessment. Some independent grower-shippers were at the meeting and have already agreed to join. Russell Wysocki, a United grower-shipper from Wisconsin was on hand to make a presentation and answer questions from the group
Local fresh shippers have already formed a local co-op called Red River Valley Fresh, a division of the Minn-Dak Bargaining Co-op. Affiliating with the national organization will give the group access to a much larger data base, and participate in national conference calls.
Steve Tweten, President of NoKota Packers in Buxton, N.D., has been leading the Red River Valley effort, and was pleased that the proposal is finally moving forward after being discussed in the Valley for over two years.