Kam Quarles, CEO of the National Potato Council (NPC) in the US spoke Aug. 30 at the Idaho Grower Shippers Association convention, outlining policy work on trade and nutrition this year.
According to an article by Tom Karst of The Packer magazine, he told the 300-plus convention attendees: “Typically when folks get a little frustrated with some of the things that we’re pushing on Capitol Hill, and (wonder) why is the potato industry being so successful, they’ll start referring to us as ‘Big Potato’”.
With only four staff members at the moment, the council is far from big — but it is dedicated to the mission of “standing up for potatoes on Capitol Hill,” he said.
Issues like the role of potatoes in nutrition and the industry’s use of Chlorpropham (CIPC) are among the issues that NPC is engaged with.
Trade issues are another key focus or the NPC, Quarles said. The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement is a priority for the potato industry and the council is optimistic the deal will pass.
While details of a potential new agricultural trade agreement with Japan are sketchy, Quarles hopes that the U.S. will negotiate similar terms to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).