Potatoes USA Summer Meeting Recap
Potatoes USA held its Summer Meeting August 10th in Seattle, Washington, home state of current Chairman, Mike Pink. The meeting provided an opportunity for the staff to present the results of the programs conducted in FY16 and the plans for FY17. The Administrative committee members engaged in discussions with the staff on refinements of the program plans. In most cases the FY17 programs are all underway. Over the next few weeks we will provide summaries on the successes and upcoming programs in the Industry Updates. The presentations will also be posted to the PotatoesUSA.com/growers website for review.
At a very topline level the successes from FY16 are as follows:
- Development and adoption of the new Potatoes USA branding for the Board
- Development and approval of the new strategic plan
- Launch of the Spud Nation food truck in Denver
- 212 salad bars placed in schools through the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools program
- Recovery of lost sales of frozen potato products to export markets in Asia
- Integration of the industry communications work into the marketing department
- Launch of the 9th Wonder consumer marketing campaign
- Establishment of Myanmar as a new target market and the hiring of a new representative agency to cover it
- Development and launch of the new School Foodservice Program
- Launch of marketing programs with variety trials for seed potatoes in Guatemala, Morocco, and Myanmar
- Development and launch of a new industry focused website PotatoesUSA.com/growers
- Transition of the chip and fry breeding programs to Potatoes USA staff management
- Streamlining of the Chip Committee,
- Development of the Variety Data Management System for the Chip Program, potatoesusa.mediusag.com
- Enhanced nutrition research focus at APRE
- Market access successes in Japan, Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, Morocco, and Guatemala
- Secured an increased allocation of Market Access Program funds from USDA
- Restructuring of these Industry Updates.
Two motions came forward to the Admin committee and were approved. The first utilizes $100,000 in funds from reserve to set up PRAC—the Potato Research Advisory Committee. The PRAC will work to identify research priorities and solidify support for those priorities across the U.S. potato industry for purposes of securing relevant grant funding. The second allows for the use of up to $90,000 in funds from reserves to conduct a market assessment for U.S. seed potato exports to Cuba. This will allow Potatoes USA and the industry to be fully prepared to take advantage of USDA grant programs in this market once Congress allows for that to happen. The implementation of a seed export and technical assistance program in Cuba will allow the U.S. potato industry to establish connections and goodwill with the government of Cuba so that as the economy there begins to develop and open up – and opportunities for the export of fresh, frozen and dehy potatoes become available – the U.S. potato industry is positioned to take advantage of them.