April 2022
Potato Expo 2022 stays close to budget in spite of COVID, weather problems By Zeke Jennings

This is a recap from the National Potato Council’s (NPC) 2022 annual meeting, which took place March 1 in Washington, D.C.

Finance Committee

Potato Expo is not only the potato show to end all potato shows, it is a big revenue producer for the National Potato Council. While the NPC put on a virtual Potato Expo in 2021, having no in-person event was a financial blow and led to the organization having to liquidate some of its long-term assets.

The NPC and its financial advisors made some changes to its assets and investment strategy to assure the organization remains financially healthy. In short, assets are being reallocated to increase cash flow in the way of interest income and dividends. The reallocation process began in December and will take about a year. 

Potato Expo 2022 was held at the Anaheim Convention Center, which is located across the street from Disneyland. Photo: Zeke Jennings

Potato Expo returned to in-person in January 2022, with a two-day event at the Anaheim Convention Center. Unfortunately, the event took place as the COVID-19 omicron strain was sweeping the nation, which led to travel issues, as well as a severe winter storm hit the Red River Valley. Revenue was below expected levels, but so were expenses. Quarles praised NPC Vice President of Industry Relations and Events Hollee Alexander for her work in keeping expenses as low as possible as the event unfolded. Attendance was 15% below expectations due to late cancellations.

PHOTO GALLERY: Potato Expo 2022 in Anaheim

“When you have all those cancellations at the last minute, the hotel came back on us (for fewer attendees),” Quarles said, “but Hollee had worked so well with them on other value-added things, we were very close to budget.” 

In the end, the difference in expected revenue was only $17,000 smaller than the difference in expected expenses. 

“The need to draw from our reserves shouldn’t happen as a result,” said Mike Wenkel, NPC’s chief operating officer. 

Ben Sklarczyk of Michigan, the NPC’s current VP of Finance, led the meeting.

The next Potato Expo is scheduled for Jan. 4-5, 2023, in Aurora, Colorado.

RELATED: NPC holds annual Grower Outreach & Industry Research meeting

Top photo: A demonstration of the 3A potato sorter at TOMRA Food’s booth at Potato Expo 2022. Photo: Zeke Jennings

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