Reaching the Summit

Overview of 2021 Potato Business Summit

Published online: Mar 22, 2021 Articles Buzz Shahan, Chief Operating Officer, United Potato Growers of America
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This article appears in the March 2021 issue of Potato Grower.

United Potato Growers of America is a somewhat different kind of national potato organization; UPGA deals directly with the business of producing potatoes by providing key market data to potato producers, enabling them to consistently secure a fair return on their immense investment. In that role, UPGA understands that there are more aspects of the potato-production business that lead to on-farm profitability than most producers customarily access. That is why UPGA annually puts on the Potato Business Summit.

UPGA supports the potato production business through a grower-direct feed of potato market supply data produced by its large and constantly updating database. This market data enables aligned potato producers to prosper year after year, something that was previously a nearly impossible task. In addition to such direct market data, UPGA also keeps many indirect aspects of the potato production business in front of potato producers. To achieve this, UPGA conceived the annual Potato Business Summit as a lead-in to Potato Expo. During a power-packed morning, growers are brought abreast of economic aspects ancillary to potato production but critical to it. At the Potato Business Summit, growers learn about agricultural economic trends along with global commodity updates in other farm commodities. They are brought up to speed with fresh potato market trends as well as advancements in frozen process and dehydration markets, both foreign and domestic. Even the latest in field technology is not overlooked.

The 2021 Potato Business Summit was held Jan. 5 on the first day of Potato Expo, delivered this year as a virtual online event. The event was sponsored by UPGA, the Potato Marketing Association of North America, and United Potato Growers of Canada. Additional sponsors included Vive Crop Protection, AMVAC, John Deere and the J.R. Simplot Company. This year’s Summit had record online attendance, with more than 500 viewers in the first 24 hours. The speakers included Stephen Nicholson of Rabobank, who presented a global economic update; Cedric Porter of World Potato Markets, with a European potato market update; John Toaspern of Potatoes USA who gave a retail and frozen potato market overview; Jason Tucker of John Deere, speaking on the farming technology outlook; and Mark Klompien of United Potato Growers of America, who concluded the Summit with a fresh potato market outlook. The videos of the presentations are available at UPGA thanks all of its presenters and sponsors and would also like to thank all 2021 viewers. We hope to see everyone in person next year.