RJ Andrus, the President of the National Potato Council (NPC), outlines the significant strides made by the potato industry in his introduction to the NPC’s 2023 Annual Potato Yearbook. Andrus highlights the industry’s accomplishments, including protecting growers during the pandemic, expanding trade opportunities, and defending the reputation of potatoes in federal feeding programs.
Despite these successes, Andrus acknowledges that challenges remain. The industry is gearing up to tackle overreaching environmental regulations, the proposed SEC disclosure rule, and efforts to redefine potatoes in the forthcoming Dietary Guidelines for Americans update.
Andrus emphasizes the importance of unity within the industry, stating that the NPC’s success in making the U.S. potato industry more competitive on trade, tax, environmental, and nutrition policies benefits the country as a whole. He cites a comprehensive study conducted in partnership with Michigan State University, which revealed the significant economic contribution of the U.S. potato industry.
The report, titled “Measuring the Economic Significance of the U.S. Potato Industry,” was released during the 2023 Washington Summit. It shows that the U.S. potato sector contributed an estimated $100.9 billion in 2021, including $10.8 billion in agriculture production and agribusiness services, $49.1 billion in processing, wholesaling, and retail, and $41 billion in food service industries and household consumption.
The study also found that the U.S. potato sector supports 714,000 domestic jobs, providing $34.1 billion in wages and contributing $53 billion towards annual GDP growth. This means that an impressive 0.4% of the entire U.S. workforce relies on the potato industry for their livelihoods.
Andrus concludes by stating that the “Spud Nation” report confirms the essential role of potatoes in the nation’s prosperity. He expressed optimism about the future, with the NPC and its state partners ready to continue advocating for the industry’s policy interests on Capitol Hill.
A pdf version of the 2023 Annual Potato Yearbook can be found here.
Source: NPC 2023 Annual Potato Yearbook
Images: Courtesy and credit NPC