March 2013
Taking Stock: Industry wake-up call By Bill Schaefer

Nature’s wake-up call is about to ring in the spring. Down south the potatoes are in the ground but up here in the Pacific Northwest, the Midwest and the Northeast the ground is just beginning to awaken from its winter slumber.

Soon enough planting season will be in full swing.

In this month’s profile, Randy Mullen, the National Potato Council’s president for 2013, is issuing another wake-up call for everyone in the potato industry to get involved in the politics of the potato industry.

Strength in numbers is Mullens’ strategy when it comes to agricultural policies. He wants to see greater grower participation in getting legislation important to the potato industry through Congress.

One example is the farm bill that Congress needs to pass this year. Anyone involved with U.S. agriculture should be contacting the members of their Congressional delegation about getting a farm bill passed without any further delay. If there’s one thing that will grab a politician’s attention it’s hearing from their constituency, repeatedly.

Mullen has another wake-up call and that has to do with the current number of acres planted in potatoes. In back-to-back years he’s witnessed the highs and lows of the potato market. I won’t reveal the punch line, you’ll have to read it yourself.

There’s going to be a lot of breaking news this spring and summer. We’ve already seen announcements from the FDA on FSMA. I anticipate we’ll be seeing breaking news on the farm bill, Mexico access and the USDA’s WIC program. Watch for updates on these and other issues facing the potato industry.

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