For the past nine months, Todd Cornelison, Industry Relations Director of the Idaho Potato Commission, has been working closely with Idaho potato growers, shippers and processors from across the state to create a forum for the industry that encourages dialogue and idea exchange. To facilitate the process, the IPC established three committees representing three key areas of interest: Marketing, Agricultural Affairs and Research and Education.
Here is a brief update on initiatives that are currently front and center.
Chairman: Kirk Hart, Circle Valley Produce
Vice Chairman: Scott Mickelsen, Rigby Produce
Committee Mission: Provide input on the overall marketing of fresh and processed potato products that are sold domestically and internationally.
- Closely working with the Idaho Growers Shippers Association (IGSA) on its support of the national Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI).
- Reviewing results and impact of all 2009 IPC promotional activities, including Potato Lover's Month and the Jumbo Bin Promotion.
- Help Idaho sales personnel leverage IPC marketing initiatives.
AGRICULTURE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
Chairman: Kevin Searle, GPOD
Vice Chairman: Todd Garrett, Ida-Gold Farms
Committee Mission: Provide input on many issues relating to farming practices including, but not limited to, environmental, legislative and regulatory and immigration and labor. The committee will also provide guidance on the Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) and sustainability programs.
- Supporting the American Trucking Association's efforts to increase truck weight restrictions from 80,000 pounds to 97,000 pounds.
- Working with the NPC to monitor the progress of McDonald's sustainability efforts, specifically its environmental scorecard that all direct suppliers must fill out. The scorecard is used to help measure and reduce the suppliers' use of water, energy, air and waste.
- Monitoring the EPA's stand on fumigation practices.
- Supporting the Agricultural Guest-Worker Bill that was recently introduced by California Senator Dianne Feinstein. The bill, if passed, would allow immigrants to enter the country legally and work here legally as long as certain criteria are met. The National Potato Council (NPC) is leading this effort.
RESEARCH AND EDUCATION COMMITTEE
Chairman: Jeff Harper, Flying H Farms
Vice Chairman: Jim Tiede, Jim Tiede Farms
Committee Mission: Provide input on basic research funding for industry identified priorities including disease management, variety improvement, pest resistance, integrated pest management, input management, good agricultural practices and sustainability.
- Reviewing IPC's current spending on research projects including: seed trials, storage issues and disease control to ensure that all projects are being conducted as efficiently as possible.
- Reviewing details of 2010 research projects including: PVY control and management issues and new techniques to determine virus content; study of fertilizer rates for optimal grower savings; seed potato quality improvement and production of virus free potato lines.
For more information about the committees, please contact the IPC office directly at (208) 334-2350 or firstname.lastname@example.org.