Mar 6, 2023
NPC installs 2023 executive committee; RJ Andrus elected president

The National Potato Council (NPC) installed its 2023 roster of Executive Committee members this week at the organization’s annual Washington Summit. During the annual meeting of the voting delegates, RJ Andrus of Idaho Falls, Idaho, was elected to serve as the Council’s president for the next 12 months.

RJ Andrus, National Potato Council
RJ Andrus. Photo credit National Potato Council.

Andrus is a third-generation farmer and an owner of TBR Farms located in Hamer, Idaho. He has served on the executive committee since 2019, in roles including vice president of grower outreach and industry research, and, most recently, as vice president of legislative affairs. A 2006 graduate of the Potato Industry Leadership Institute, now run by the Potato Leadership, Education, and Advancement Foundation (Potato LEAF), Andrus serves as vice-chairman of the Potato LEAF Board.

2023 Committee Roster

The executive committee roster includes:

  • RJ Andrus, Idaho Falls, Idaho – president
  • Bob Mattive, Monte Vista, Colorado – first vice president and vice president, environmental affairs
  • Dean Gibson, Paul, Idaho – vice president, legislative affairs
  • TJ Hall, Hoople, North Dakota – vice president, grower outreach and industry research
  • Ben Sklarczyk, Johannesburg, Michigan – vice president, finance
  • Ted Tschirky, Pasco, Washington – vice president, trade affairs
  • Jared Balcom, The Council’s 2022 president, of Pasco, Washington, will continue to serve on the executive committee as the immediate past president

    National Potato Council
    From left to right: Ben Sklarczyk, Ted Tschirky, Jared Balcom, RJ Andrus, Dean Gibson, Bob Mattive, TJ Hall. Photo credit: National Potato Council

As a grower-led organization, NPC is managed by an executive committee and board of directors, which oversees its operations and provides guidance on its policy activities. Board members are appointed by the executive committee from recommendations submitted by state potato grower organizations and hold office for one calendar year. The complete list of executive committee and board of directors may be found on its website.

NPC is the voice of U.S. potato growers and industry members in our nation’s capital. NPC protects potato growers’ interests in Washington, D.C. by addressing issues that affect the potato industry, from policy issues debated in Congress to regulatory issues proposed by federal agencies.

The NPC’s 2023 Washington Summit is a forum for potato industry members to discuss, define, and advocate for the policy priorities impacting their businesses and protecting their ability to farm. From Feb. 28-March 3, growers and industry stakeholders took the results from NPC’s recently released groundbreaking report Spud Nation: Measuring the Economic Significance of the U.S. Potato Industry to Members of Congress and the Biden-Harris Administration to advocate for issues such as keeping potatoes in federal nutrition programs, promoting free and fair-trade agreements, and protecting tax policies that support the long-term health of family-owned farming operations.

2023 NPC goals 

This year, the potato council wants to: 

  • Increase funding for specialty crops.
  • Reject suggested expansions to the definition of what a specialty crop is.
  • Support the proposed inclusion of white potatoes as eligible for purchase under the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).
  • Protect potato growers from regulatory overreach by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. 

This comes in support of the Protect Farmers from the SEC bill that was introduced in the House of Representatives in September 2022 by Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.). 

Goals of the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance

  • To encourage healthy eating habits for consumers by expanding access to safe, healthy and affordable food as well as the plants, flowers and trees that produce them.
  • To advocate for a proportional share in Farm Bill monies. 

To view the report the Specialty Crop Farm Bill sent to Congress, click here.

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