Jan 18, 2021NPC’s Quarles named to ag trade advisory committee
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced Jan. 14 the appointment of 67 members, including National Potato Council CEO Kam Quarles, to serve on seven agricultural trade advisory committees.
The Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee is comprised of senior representatives from across the U.S. agricultural community who provide advice to USDA and USTR on trade policy matters including the operation of existing trade agreements and the negotiation of new agreements. Members of the six Agricultural Technical Advisory Committees provide technical advice and guidance from the perspective of their specific product sectors. Quarles will serve as an advisor on the Trade in Fruits and Vegetables Committee.
“I’m honored to be appointed to this committee and to join Jared Balcom (NPC representative on the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee) in representing the national potato industry on trade matters,” said Quarles. “With over 20% of our production destined for foreign markets, it is essential that we remain fully engaged in these trade issues on behalf of these U.S. growers.”
This group of appointed advisors will serve until 2025. Applications are encouraged at any time and will be considered for future appointments. Application information and a complete list of committee members are available here.
Food provisions included in latest relief package
On Jan. 14, President-elect Biden released a $1.9 trillion emergency legislative package. According to the transition team, the plan is designed to “change the course of the pandemic, deliver immediate relief for hard-hit families, build a bridge towards economic recovery, and cut child poverty in half.” Billed as the American Rescue Plan, the package augments many of the measures in Congress’ $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill from December, and includes the following provisions related to food and nutrition:
- Extends the 15% Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit increase;
- Invests $3 billion in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC);
- Partners with restaurants through the FEMA Empowering Essential Deliveries (FEED) Act to help get food to families who need it, and help get laid-off restaurant workers across the country back on the job;
- Supports SNAP by temporarily cutting the state match; and,
- Provides U.S. Territories with $1 billion in additional nutrition assistance for their residents.
The transition team has signaled that a second proposal will likely be released in February and will focus on funding for addressing climate change through job development and infrastructure as well as addressing the health care workforce.
Registration open for D.C. Fly-In, NPC annual meeting
The 2021 Annual Meeting and Potato D.C. Fly-In have gone virtual and now it’s never been easier to stand up for potatoes on Capitol Hill. This Feb. 22-25, join growers online as we come together to advocate for the potato industry in Washington, D.C. Just like on your farm, work on Capitol Hill doesn’t stop in a pandemic, and now more than ever, it’s important to discuss the critical issues affecting your business with members of Congress and agency officials.
- Share personal stories of how actions taken in D.C. directly affect your business and the potato industry overall.
- Meet virtually with your congressional representatives and key staff to discuss industry priorities.
- Hear from experts and top political analysts on policies and politics impacting your farm.
New this year, the NPC Annual Meeting will take place in conjunction with the Potato D.C. Fly-In. A schedule of all Annual Meeting and Fly-In activities can be found here on the event’s website.
NPC’s mission is to advocate on behalf of growers, but the best tool in our toolbox is you! Don’t miss out on your chance to fight for a brighter, more profitable future for our industry. Register today.
Darrington, Olsen, Diercks to represent NPC on sustainability committee
This week, Mark Darrington of Declo, Idaho, and Chris Olsen of Othello, Washington, were elected to the board of directors of the Potato Sustainability Alliance (PSA) to represent the National Potato Council. In addition, NPC representative Andy Diercks of Coloma, Wisconsin, was elected to the PSA Executive Committee for a two-year term as secretary.
Darrington and Olsen replace Ed Schneider of Pasco, Washington, and Dan Moss of Rupert, Idaho, as NPC representatives on the PSA board. Schneider and Moss have been engaged with NPC’s initial sustainability efforts since 2009 through the first year of the newly formed Potato Sustainability Alliance. They will continue their leadership within other sectors of the U.S. potato industry.
“We are excited to have both Mark and Chris representing the U.S. potato industry and the organization on helping to define sustainability in potato production. They are prepared to fill the roles being vacated by Dan and Ed, who have become known in the industry as the experts on sustainability efforts,” said Mike Wenkel, COO of NPC.
For more information on NPC’s sustainability efforts, visit nationalpotatocouncil.org/benefits-of-potatoes/sustainability.
— National Potato Council