Nov 1, 2021NPC’s executive committee meets in-person for first time since early 2020 and other news
The week of Oct. 26-30, the National Potato Council’s (NPC) Executive Committee came together for their first in-person meeting in D.C. since February 2020. During the two-day meeting, the committee discussed policy and organizational priorities, including planning for January’s Potato Expo 2022.
“It felt great to get back to face-to-face business in the nation’s capital this week. We have been gone too long, but it was great to finally be in the new NPC offices on Capitol Hill and to have some in-person meetings with our key leaders,” said Dominic LaJoie, NPC President for 2021.
Taking a trip to the Capitol, the committee met with Colin St. Maxens, Senior Policy Advisor for Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), to discuss agriculture labor reform efforts in Congress and the need to fix the broken H-2A guest worker program. The committee will next convene during the NPC Washington Summit, Feb. 28-March 3, 2022.
More than $25 million headed to potato-related block grants
On Oct. 28, USDA announced more than $243 million in grants to support specialty crops, including more than $25,400,000 for potato industry programs and research, through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and the Specialty Crop Research Initiative grants program.
USDA is investing $169.9 million through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) to support farmers growing specialty crops. Since 2006, USDA has invested more than $880 million through SCBGP to increase the long-term success of producers and broaden the market for specialty crops in the U.S. and abroad.
USDA also announced an investment of nearly $74 million through its Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) grants program, designed to address critical challenges facing agricultural production systems across the specialty crop industry.
More information is available here.
New studies show benefits of potatoes in children’s diets
Here’s what the researchers found:
- Girls in early adolescence (ages 9-11) with a higher intake of potatoes in any form consumed more dietary potassium, fiber, vitamins C and B6, and magnesium. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recognize potassium and fiber as nutrients of public health concern due to under-consumption.
- Regardless of cooking method, there was no indication that potato consumption in early adolescence was associated with increased heart health or type 2 diabetes risk factors by late adolescence.
- In early adolescent Black girls, those who ate the most potatoes had better diet quality, according to their Healthy Eating Index scores.
A look at Build Back Better bill provisions for ag
On Oct. 28, following months of negotiations, President Biden’s framework for his Build Back Better (BBB) agenda.
“For months it has been clear that this bill would include tax increases to pay for various programs. NPC is strongly opposed to any effort to increase taxes on family farms, particularly as the economy is attempting to recover from this devastating public health crisis,” said RJ Andrus, NPC VP of Legislative Affairs.
The original $3.5 trillion price tag was whittled down to $1.75 trillion, and includes billions in climate and conservation provisions, including:
- $9 billion for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
- $7.5 billion for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP)
- $4.1 billion for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)
- $600 million for NRCS to quantify the greenhouse gas impact of farm practices, $200 million to provide technical assistance to farmers, $50 million for USDA’s climate hubs
- $5.05 billion for cover crop payments
- $1.7 billion for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP)
- $10 billion for Rural Electrics’ clean energy transition
- $3 billion for USDA Sec. 317 Loan Program
- $2 billion for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)
- $1 billion for the Rural Partnership Program (RPP)
- $1 billion for Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership (BIP)
- $1 billion for rural water and lead removal
- $200 million for Rural Energy Savings Program (RESP)
- $100 million for rural water infrastructure for colonias, insular areas, tribal lands
- $1.3 billion in assistance and support for underserved farmers
- $200 million in additional support for food workers
Potato orgs encourages EPA to consider real-world usage for regulations
The NPC and 10 state potato organizations offered comments on Dockett: EPA-HQ-OPP-2021-0575 regarding EPA’s draft biological evaluations for clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam. In the comments, the groups argued that the assessment of the potential biological impact on endangered species from the use of these products is inaccurate since the agency assumes that all acres are treated with registered active ingredients at the full labeled rate.
They write: “This assumption is simply not the case and grossly overstates the potential environmental impact of the continued use of the products. In order to correct this foundational error, we ask that both EPA and the ‘services’ utilize real world usage data in their assessments to refine the biological impact of these critical insecticides in potato production.”
The following affiliate state organizations signed on to the letter:
- Colorado Potato Administrative Committee Area II
- Empire State Potato Growers (New York)
- Maine Potato Board
- Idaho Potato Commission
- Northern Plains Potato Growers Association
- Oregon Potato Commission
- Potato Growers of Michigan
- United Potato Growers of America
- Washington State Potato Commission
- Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association
NPC president appears on podcast
With the NPC Executive Committee together this week for their first in-person meeting in D.C. since February 2020, President and Maine potato grower Dominic LaJoie joined CEO Kam Quarles for an update on the organization’s end-of-year policy activities and previews of the Potato Expo 2022 and NPC Washington Summit.
To listen and subscribe to the Eye On Potatoes Podcast, visit buzzsprout.com/770336/9450386.
Potato Expo to feature more than 40 education sessions
The Potato Expo 2022 will feature nationally and internationally recognized experts in production, supply chain, inflation, labor, water, research, trends, and more — all in one place.
Potato Expo 2022 is your opportunity to learn how to grow your business during:
- 15 Potato Talks on the Expo Stage
- 15 Breakout Sessions at The Innovation Hub
- 11 Research Projects featured at the Poster Session
- Countless opportunities to connect and do business