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Strength in numbers on Capitol Hill

This February, potato growers and industry partners will gather in Washington, D. C., to focus on shaping a better business future for the potato industry. Will you be there?

For those unfamiliar with the event, the Potato D.C. Fly-In is an annual NPC meeting where potato advocates come from across the country to educate policy makers on the issues that could impact their farms and operations for generations to come.

At the meeting, which is open to all growers and allied industry partners interested in making a difference for the industry, attendees learn about how the laws and regulations being considered by Congress and the administration could affect their businesses.

They also hear from Beltway insiders who have their fingers on the pulse of the current political environment. Speakers for the 2014 Fly-In include:

  • Bob Beckel, political consultant and co-host of Fox News' The Five;
  • Tucker Carlson, co-host of Fox & Friends Weekend and editor-in-chief of The Daily Caller;
  • Charlie Cook, editor and publisher of The Cook Political Report; and,
  • Cal Thomas, syndicated conservative columnist and Fox News contributor.

At the end of the week, attendees take the industry’s public policy messages to Capitol Hill for face-to-face meetings with key members of Congress, their staff, and top regulatory officials. On tap this year are issues concerning the farm bill, reforming the broken agriculture guest worker program, defending farms from burdensome environmental regulations and fighting for fair estate and capital gains tax laws.

Growers and value chain members are also invaluable in NPC’s ongoing efforts to promote the nutritional value of potatoes with Capitol Hill and federal regulator audiences. Unfortunately, many of the people who are charged with making national policy decisions on federal feeding programs are often ill informed about the nutritional value of potatoes. Over the years, we’ve come to learn that growers of nutrient-rich potatoes are often the best people to educate those decision makers about the importance of potatoes in the American diet.

The bottom line is that growers are not only the front-line advocates for potatoes in their communities, they are the best promoters for the industry in Washington, D.C. Every day, NPC’s staff works in and around Capitol Hill to advocate for its members; however, as a grassroots driven organization, the real strength of NPC comes from those in the potato industry who get involved.

Members of Congress and their staff listen to the job creators in their districts. They understand that a healthy potato industry means prosperous family farms and stable income for workers.

Even if you’ve never attended a Fly-In in the past or joined a farm lobbying day in your state capitol, we’ve got you covered. All Fly-In participants are guided by their state grower leaders or are paired with seasoned Fly-In attendees during their Hill visits to give you the support you need to make a real impact with your members of Congress.

Visit http://www.NationalPotatoCouncil.org to learn more about the 2014 Potato D.C. Fly-In, Feb. 24-27. There is strength in numbers, so everyone should consider joining the potato team at the Fly-In to help make a difference for our industry. I hope to see you in D.C.   

— By John Keeling, executive vice president and CEO

Originally posted Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014

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