2024 Spudman Impact Awards – James Ehrlich

James Ehrlich

Executive director, Colorado Potato Administration Committee

Beer and basketball led James Ehrlich to the potato industry.

Ehrlich, executive director of the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee (CPAC), was familiar with potato growers and was interested in the industry when he was approached by the late Tom Ford, then chair of the Colorado Potato Committee. That’s when Ehrlich changed his career focus to spuds.

James Ehrlich

CPAC, founded in 1941, supports San Luis Valley growers and shippers with quality standards, sustainability best practices, research and marketing. The organization has helped spur expansion into new spud varieties while ensuring that more than two billion pounds of Colorado potatoes produced each year are of the highest possible quality.

Ehrlich is proud of the teamwork within the state’s potato industry and
its synergy with national organizations, including the National Potato Council and Potatoes USA — and teamwork is a concept Ehrlich puts a lot of stock in. He credits his high school basketball coach, Larry Hicks, as the most influential person in his life.

“He made me strive to reach my potential more than anyone,” Ehrlich said. “My true loves have always been my family, farming and basketball.”

Ehrlich advises growers to pass their potato passion onto future generations by engagement that reaches beyond the farm into industry organizations. And he says that the best thing about that industry is its people.

“Aggies are the best people on the planet, and potato growers and associated industry folks are at the top of the list,” Ehrlich said.

75 Applewood Dr. Ste. A
P.O. Box 128
Sparta, MI 49345


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