Interview with Joe Bushman
The Bushmans have been growing potatoes for more than a century in the Galloway, Wisconsin, area. Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association Hall of Famer Joseph Bushman began farming there in 1909.
Joseph’s grandsons, Joe (this issue’s interviewee), Brian, Bob, Jon and Jerome (Jerry) all continue to work in the potato industry, as do many of the founding father’s great-grandchildren. And from all indications, the Bushman legacy will continue for years and generations to come.
Joe and his brother, Brian, incorporated J&J Potatoes and Liberty Packing of Galloway, in 1987, when their father, Ernie, retired. They started the two companies in an effort to separate the growing and packaging of potatoes.
“We came up with the name J&J Potatoes from the initials of our first-born sons, Joey (Joe’s son) and Jordan (Brian),” Joe explains, “and the Liberty Packing name came from the Liberty-brand boxes we pack that my uncle, Harry Bushman, patented.”
Another arm of the business is Bushman Trucking, founded in 2006, but really going back to the 1980’s, and including 12 long-haul trucks, nine of which are mainly used for potatoes and three for equipment.
At any one time, Bushman Trucking employs as many as 22 drivers, a far cry from the one truck Joe, Brian, Bob and Jon had in 1983, which they drove from farm to farm, hauling equipment and produce.
“It gave us the opportunity to haul our own product,” Brian says. “Today our potato business is so demanding. We drive to Washington Courthouse and Shelby, Ohio, and to Indiana, Minnesota, Illinois and Salisbury, North Carolina.”