“All Bets Were On” at Potato Expo
Las Vegas welcomed the most exhibitors and largest crowd in event’s 12-year history
By Joe Kertzman, managing editor, Badger Common’Tater
It just felt different—a buzz was in the air—and when the final numbers were tallied, the 12th Annual Potato Expo at the Mirage Convention Center in Las Vegas saw a record number of attendees, booth holders and square footage of exhibit space.
Taking place January 14-15, the Potato Expo 2020 recorded 2,019 (one shy of the year) attendees and 189 exhibitors who set up booths and gathered in 90,000-plus square feet of exhibit hall.
Potato Expo has become highly regarded as not only the largest industry event of its kind in North America, but also a must-attend for potato and vegetable growers, associated companies, journalists, chefs, researchers, associations and professionals.
The Potatoes USA Winter Meeting and National Potato Council (NPC) Annual Meeting occur each year before and after the show, as well as conferences by several national and international industry organizations.
The event kicked off with a Potato Business Summit held by the United Potato Growers of America, Potato Growers of Canada and the Potato Marketing Association of North America, with participation from World Potato Markets, the NPC, Potatoes USA and state organizations.
The Potato Business Summit is a comprehensive analysis of the global and North American potato industry, including a world commodity outlook, U.S. consumption trends and a 2020 planting outlook.
United Potato Growers of America President and CEO Mark Klompien said his association “passed the chairmanship gavel,” the previous evening, from Dick Okray of Okray Family Farms in Plover, Wisconsin, to Brian Bushman of J&J Potatoes and Bushman Trucking in Wittenberg, Wisconsin.
The Potato Expo trade show itself showcases exhibitor booths, “meet-up lounges”—an Expo first where attendees network with other business professionals, breakout sessions at the “Innovation Hub,” “Potato Talks,” “Meet the Researchers” sessions and information-packed discussions.
Topics cover everything from soil health to efficient fertilizers, nutrient management, hybrid potatoes, crop management, technology, satellite imagery, managing weather risks, and food safety and labeling.