January 2020
Column: Growers stand up for growers at Potato D.C. Fly-In By Kam Quarles, National Potato Council

Every February, potato growers trade in their Carhartts and work boots for business suits and dress shoes to walk the marbled floors of Capitol Hill. Why? They’re committed to standing with their fellow growers to fight for a better future for the U.S. potato industry.

Dubbed the Potato D.C. Fly-In, the annual event hosted by your National Potato Council, provides a venue for potato advocates to educate federal policy makers on issues that could impact their farms and operations for generations to come. This event has grown in importance each year, as new members of the House of Representatives and Senate are elected who increasingly have little connection to production agriculture or rural America. These officials need the common-sense perspective of our industry as they seek to solve some of our country’s largest challenges.

The meeting is open to all growers and allied partners. Those individuals who are interested in making a difference for the industry are given the tools to advocate for laws and regulations to improve our business climate.

They also get a chance to hear directly from Beltway insiders who have their fingers on the pulse of the current political environment. This year’s keynote speaker — back by popular demand — is Charlie Cook, the editor and publisher of “The Cook Political Report.” Cook is a nationally renowned political analyst who specializes in election forecasts and political trends. He will be on hand to provide his take on the 2020 primary and general elections, as well as identify opportunities for businesses to make an impact on policy proposals winding their way through Washington.

Once fully informed on the issues and their solutions, meeting attendees will take the industry’s public policy priorities to Capitol Hill and meet directly with key members of Congress, their staff, and top regulatory officials. Priority issues to be addressed this year include trade, agriculture labor reform, nutrition, access to crop protection tools, and research for potatoes.

While NPC and its staff are charged with working on your behalf, growers themselves are the best advocates for the industry. As a grass roots driven organization, NPC’s real strength comes from those who are willing to step up to the plate and fight for them and their peers.

To members of Congress, potato growers and industry partners are their constituents. They’re job-creators and community leaders. Their views matter. When they get together to speak with one voice, members listen and act. This constructive engagement supports a healthy potato industry, its prosperous family farms, their workers, and the overall American economy.

The 2020 Potato D.C. Fly-In is set for Feb. 24-27. 



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