Potatoes USA Appoints 2023-24 Research Committee Co-Chairs

Published online: Jun 02, 2023 Articles
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Denver – Jennifer Gogan of Houlton, Maine, and Trever Belnap of Hamer, Idaho, were elected to the Potatoes USA Executive Committee as Research Committee Co-Chairs on March 15, 2023, at the organization’s annual meeting.

Gogan has served on the Board for four years and on the Executive Committee for three. This is Belnap’s first year back on the Board after serving from 2015-21, where he was a member of the International and Domestic Marketing Committees.

Gogan is the assistant manager and part-owner of Miller Farms LLC, a seed potato farm in Littleton, Maine. The farm grows chipping varieties as well as Dark Red Norland, Caribou Russet, and Russet Burbank. Gogan is also assistant manager at Aroostook Produce Distributors Inc., Miller Farms LLC’s sister company, which partners with local farmers to cultivate and supply chip stock to processing plants. Gogan says she enjoys “contributing to a program focused on researching potato varieties and addressing disease, pests, and other challenges to the potato industry.”

In addition to holding a position on the Potatoes USA Board, Gogan currently serves on the Maine Potato Board’s Research Committee and Seed Executive Board. Gogan is a graduate of the Potato Industry Leadership Institute (PILI), class of 2013.

Belnap, a third-generation farmer with over 20 years of experience, is the general manager of Ball Brothers Produce. This family-owned business, founded in 1942, focuses on growing potatoes for the fresh market and processing. In his multifaceted role, Belnap manages various farm operations, including accounting, contracting, harvesting, procuring potatoes for the fresh shed, and running the Ball Brothers trucking business. As Co-Chair of the Research Committee, he expresses his “interest in furthering research on diseases that could threaten the industry, such as potato virus Y (PVY) and potato mop-top virus (PMTV), and in actively participating in seed trials, particularly for new russet potato varieties.”

In addition to his commitment to the Potatoes USA Board, Belnap holds positions with the Idaho-Eastern Oregon Marketing Committee, United Potato Growers of Idaho, and IDA GRO, a regional cooperative for potato growers. He is a 2015 graduate of PILI.

The Research Committee participates in developing national potato research priorities and promotes industry support for selected potato research projects through the Potato Research Advisory Committee (PRAC). The committee also oversees the industry’s potato variety development activities for the chip and fry sectors through the National Chip Program (NCP) and National Fry Processors Trial (NFPT). The committee helps inform the industry of the latest potato nutrition research conducted through the Alliance of Potato Research and Education (APRE).