Aug 19, 2022Potatoes USA appoints 2022-2023 research committee co-chairs
Jennifer Gogan of Houlton, Maine, and Mike Larsen of Declo, Idaho, were elected to the Potatoes USA Executive Committee as Research Committee Co-Chairs on March 9, 2022, at the organization’s annual meeting. This is Gogan’s third year on the board and her second year on the executive committee. Larsen is serving his fifth year on the board and his first year on the leadership team after serving four years as a member of the international marketing and research committees.
Gogan, a fourth-generation farmer, is the assistant manager and part-owner of Miller Farms LLC, a seed potato farm in Littleton, Maine. The farm primarily grows for Frito-Lay and grows Lamoka, Snowden, Atlantic, dark red Norland, Caribou Russet, and Russet Burbank seed potatoes. She is also the assistant manager at Miller Farms LLC’s sister company, Aroostook Produce Distributors Inc., which works with local farmers to grow and deliver chip stock to chip plants. Gogan is looking forward to helping lead a program that studies varieties, disease management, and uses science to show potatoes are a healthy vegetable. In addition to holding a position on the Potatoes USA board, Gogan currently serves on the Maine Potato Board’s research committee and is a graduate of the Potato Industry Leadership Institute (PILI), class of 2013.
Larsen has been working with and raising potatoes for the past 24 years, though he has been involved with agriculture since he was 12 years old. As the general manager of Mart Potato, he helps their growers contract, grow, and deliver all of the potatoes and also manages the new varieties and develops future markets. With the organization’s recent acquisition of a small frozen potato plant and dehy potato plant, Larsen has also assumed the role of chief marketing officer of The Mart Group to help develop these new markets and sell the products, which is making them more vertically integrated. Mart Produce grows russet potatoes for the fresh, frozen, and dehy markets, and also raises some yellow potatoes. As co-chair, Larsen is excited to learn more about climate-smart and what it can do for the industry, in addition to working with the great people in the industry and helping them move the industry forward. Aside from his position on the Potatoes USA board, Larsen is a lifetime member of the Leadership Idaho Agriculture, is the vice chairman of Potato Association of America’s (PAA) marketing and utilization committee. Larsen also graduated from PILI, class of 2017.
Through its involvement in Potato Research Advisory Committee, the research committee participates in the development of national potato research priorities and promotes industry support for selected potato research projects. The committee also oversees the industry’s potato variety development activities for the chip and fry sectors through the National Chip Program and National Fry Processors Trial. The committee helps keep the industry informed of the latest potato nutrition research conducted through the Alliance of Potato Research and Education (APRE).