Dec 26, 2023
Michigan Potato Industry Commission elects new chair

Ryan Norton, farm manager at Three Rivers-based Walther Farms, has been elected as chair of the Michigan Potato Industry Commission.

Norton, who served as vice chair of MPIC in 2023, was elected Dec. 14 during a commission meeting in East Lansing.

Ryan Norton

Mike Phillips, Walther Farms supply and quality manager, was elected as vice-chair. Immediate past chair Phil Gusmano of Detroit-based Better Made Snack Foods will continue his term as a commissioner in 2024.

“I am honored to be chosen by my peers as the elected chairman of the MPIC,” Norton said in a statement. “Leadership is something I have a strong passion for, and I’m excited for the opportunity to take the potato industry of Michigan in a direction that benefits everyone collectively.

“Working with my fellow commissioners and others in agriculture, I look forward to making our goals becoming a reality.”

The MPIC is working to fill an open MPIC seat. Commissioner Jon Yoder of Yoder Family Farms in Sturgis died earlier this year from injuries he sustained in an on-farm accident.

Michigan ranks among the top eight potato-producing states in the U.S. annually and produces more chipping potatoes than any other state. Approximately 70% of Michigan-grown potatoes go to the chipping industry, with 20% going to the fresh market, 5% to non-chip processing, and 5% seed.

MPIC was formed in 1970 by the Michigan legislature as the state’s potato research, promotion, and education organization.

The 2024 commission includes:

  • Ryan Norton, Vicksburg (chair)
  • Mike Phillips, Portage (vice-chair)
  • Phil Gusmano, Detroit (past chair)
  • Travis Horkey, Dundee
  • Dale Johnson, Sagola
  • Ryan Pelletier, Three Rivers
  • Matt Skogman, Foster City

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


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