Going Global

Published in the August 2014 Issue Published online: Aug 10, 2014
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An IGSA welcome to all those who plan to attend the Idaho Grower Shippers Association’s 86th annual Sun Valley Convention! A wonderful setting, a great list of educational opportunities, industry-wide meetings and issues updates, and many recreational and networking activities make this the premier event in the Idaho potato industry. Our theme this year is “Idaho…Potato Supplier to the World.” This theme alludes to not only the fact that Idaho is the largest potato supplier throughout the United States but also to the many global opportunities that the Idaho potato industry is taking advantage of throughout the rest of the world.

The potato industry is becoming a global marketplace like never before, and Idaho is poised to supply the benefits of Idaho potatoes to more corners of the world—and yes, even Mexico.

Although as of this writing the Mexican market has been effectively closed after initially gaining full admittance in May, and even though access to the fresh market there continues to bring challenges at seemingly every turn, the industry remains confident that through the leadership of the U.S. Potato Board and the National Potato Council we will be able to resolve the issues and once again establish full access to this expanding market opportunity. The U.S. Potato

Board has provided an article with some great information in this edition.

The potato industry also sees a great current opportunity in finally reversing the misguided USDA policy restricting fresh white potatoes from the Women Infants and Children (WIC) program. We have successfully been able to include language in the federal appropriations bills—through an amendment in the Senate committee and the base bill in the House committee—that will provide a solution to this top industry priority.

The industry owes thanks to a number of legislators, including Idaho’s own Congressman Mike Simpson, for their leadership in bringing this issue forward.

We are currently awaiting full House and Senate approvals of the appropriations bills.

As always, a number of other challenges and issues continue to face the potato industry, including immigration reform that provides the potato industry with a stable workforce, the implementation of the new health care laws, transportation topics, and understanding and responding to the current GMO landscape within our industry. You will be able to hear updates and strategies on a number of these issues at this year’s convention.

On a personal note, I want to thank all of the Association members for their support over the past year. The opportunity to represent Idaho’s growershippers is truly a great responsibility as well as a very rewarding experience.

Working alongside the terrific men and women that make up Idaho’s potato industry continues to be a true pleasure.

I also want to thank the IGSA Board of Directors for their service and dedication in working to make our industry a better one for the entire membership. The Board members put in a significant amount of time and effort to help move our Association forward. A special thanks to this year’s chairman, Ryan Bybee, for his dedicated service to the IGSA. Ryan has been a consummate leader of the Board and truly served with the best interest of the Idaho potato industry at heart. His commitment to addressing the concerns and challenges of the fresh shippers in the state was definitely something that he took very seriously and always worked to find ways to improve the position of the industry.

Please take a minute to thank Chairman Bybee as well as the rest of the Board members for their service to the industry.

Finally, a very big thanks to all of the IGSA Sun Valley Convention sponsors.

We could not do all of this without their support and the industry leadership that these companies have displayed.

We are looking forward to a great week in Sun Valley and hope to see all of you at this year’s convention!