Potato growers select 2021 National Potato Council leaders
WASHINGTON — At the National Potato Council 2021 Annual Meeting held virtually due to travel restrictions, Dominic LaJoie of Van Buren, Maine, was elected to serve as NPC’s 2021 president and to head the grower-led organization’s executive committee.
“Thanks to the hard work of NPC and our state partners, our industry is on a better footing today than we could have imagined during the pandemic’s darkest times,” said NPC President LaJoie in his address at the annual meeting. “The industry’s consistent, relentless focus and coordinated response that helped deliver more than $250 million in federal pandemic relief will serve as a model as we take on the policy challenges facing NPC and the industry as a whole. I’m honored to take on this new role fighting for the industry as the nation continues to open up and people get back to work.”
LaJoie is a fourth-generation potato grower and partner of LaJoie Growers LLC, which operates throughout Aroostook County, Maine. He previously served the NPC board as first vice president and vice president of the Environmental Affairs Committee. As president, LaJoie will host the 2021 NPC Summer Meeting, July 27-30 in Presque Isle, Maine. The Executive Committee holds office for one calendar year.
NPC delegates also approved:
Jared Balcom of Pasco, Wash., as first vice president and vice president of the Trade Affairs Committee;
R.J. Andrus of Idaho Falls, Idaho, as vice president of the Legislative Affairs Committee;
Bob Mattive of Monte Vista, Colo., as vice president of the Environmental Affairs Committee;
Ben Sklarczyk of Johannesburg, Mich., as vice president of the Finance Committee; and,
Ted Tschirky of Pasco, Wash., as vice president of the Grower Outreach and Industry Research Committee.
The 2020 President, Britt Raybould of Rexburg, Idaho, will continue to serve on the Executive Committee as the immediate past president.
Last week, the 2021 Executive Committee hosted the virtual 2021 Potato D.C. Fly-In, Feb. 24-27, which brings the industry together to “Stand Up for Potatoes on Capitol Hill.” This includes leading more than 150 growers and industry partners as they visit with their representatives in Congress to communicate the industry’s policy priorities.
In addition to thanking Members of Congress for their role in supporting family potato growers by directing more than $250 million in federal aid to the industry throughout the coronavirus pandemic, policy priorities include:
Aggressively pursuing trade opportunities in Mexico, China, Japan, and other TPP countries;
Including a complete agricultural labor solution in any viable immigration bill that can be enacted during this Congress;
Strengthening investments in agricultural research and ensuring that healthy, affordable potatoes are treated equitably with other vegetables through the appropriations process; and,
Enhancing the industry’s competitiveness through reforms of transportation regulations and making necessary investments in roads, commercial seaports and related intermodal facilities in support of our domestic and international shipments.
For more on NPC’s policy priorities, visit nationalpotatocouncil.org/advocacy.
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