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NPC Names 2007 Executive Committee and Board of Directors

Don Sklarczyk, a producer of tissue culture potato plants and minitubers from Johannesburg, Mich., was elected president of the National Potato Council (NPC) at its annual meeting in Newport Beach, Calif., Jan. 9-13.

Sklarczyk is in business with his wife, Mary Kay, and his son, Benjamin. Sklarczyk Seed Farm has the capacity to produce more than 3.5 million minitubers in two crop cycles per year. The Sklarczyks ship their products to growers in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Chile.

Over the next year, Sklarczyk’s top priority is to begin the development of a recordkeeping system that will provide up-to-date data on potato production practices. This project is expected to take a number of years to complete and could be of tremendous value to the industry once the data are compiled.

Some of the major opportunities and challenges facing Sklarczyk and NPC over the next year include potato cyst nematode research and eradication, the promotion of free trade and removing non-scientific and monetary barriers and the drafting of the new Farm Bill to include a specific title for specialty crops, including potatoes.

“Carving out a place in the new farm bill for specialty crops will require a lot of time and effort by the U.S. potato industry and all other specialty crop producers. The new Farm Bill will provide positive opportunities to improve protections from invasive pests, increased research, expanded consumption of fruits and vegetables and expanded export opportunities,” Sklarczyk said. “Potato growers must recognize the importance of getting to know the political system and those involved. From a local level up to the national level, all growers should contribute both opinions as well as finances.”

In addition, the delegates approved Richard Polatis of Blackfoot, Idaho, to serve as the vice president of trade affairs; Ed Schneider of Pasco, Wash., to serve as vice president of legislative and regulatory affairs; Justin Dagen of Karlstad, Minn., to serve as the vice president of finance and office procedures; Roger Mix of Center, Colo., to serve as the vice president of environmental affairs; and Steve Crane of Exeter, Maine, to serve as the vice president of grower and public relations. Jim Wysocki of Bancroft, Wis., who served as the president in 2006, will continue to serve on the executive committee as the immediate past president.

The 2007 board of directors is comprised of Ed Staunton from California; Byron Kunugi, Sherrel Mix, C.J. Robinson and Harry Strohauer from Colorado; Ken Wicks from Delaware; R.J. Andrus, Mark Coombs, Boyd Foster, Doug Hanks, Ray Hess, Klaren Koompin, Albert Wada, Shawn Walters and Wes Wootan from Idaho; Fred Flewelling, Gaylen Flewelling and Dan LaBrie from Maine; Howard Viegelahn and Jason Walther from Michigan; Justin Dagen and Greg Stocker from Minnesota; Sid Schutter from Montana; Joe Thompson from Nebraska; Bill Brooks from New Jersey; Ralph Child from New York; Maurice Berry Jr. from North Carolina; John Galegher Jr. and Mark Thompson from North Dakota; Todd Michael from Ohio; Tony Amstad, Jim Carlson and Nels Iverson from Oregon; Helen Masser from Pennsylvania; Milt Carter from South Dakota; Ellie Charvet, Cully Easterday, Paul Morris, Randy Mullen, Dennis Richins, Phil Schoening and Ted Tschirky from Washington; and Vic Anthony, Jim Bacon and Mike Finnessy from Wisconsin.

Members of the board of directors serve as representatives from their states and serve on at least one of NPC’s six committees, which include environmental affairs, finance and office procedures, grower and public relations, legislative and government affairs, trade affairs and long-range planning.

Originally posted Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2007

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