Members of the potato industry interested in attending the National Potato council’s annual trip to Capitol Hill have until Feb. 2 to take advantage of cost-saving early registration for the Feb. 21 to March 1 event.

Early birds will get $100 off the $395 registration fee and a special hotel rate of $231 if they make reservations by Feb. 2, according to the NPC’s website. Complete details are available at http://tinyurl.com/Potato-Fly-In on the Internet.

The NPC renamed the annual event for this year, calling it the Potato D.C. Fly-In. It is open to all growers and other potato industry leaders. Face-to-face meetings with congressional representatives, senators, Capitol Hill staff and members of regulatory agencies are scheduled.

Topics on this year’s agenda include:

  • Free trade agreements that would open markets for potatoes in Colombia, Panama and South Korea;
  • Retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports, including potatoes, by the government of Mexico;
  • The 2012 Farm Bill; and
  • An update on 2012 congressional elections.

According to NPC officials, the 2011 event attendees provided real-world examples of how decisions made in Washington, D.C., impact local businesses, economies and jobs. Their efforts gave decision makers a clear understanding of the industry’s priorities on prominent issues such as the role of potatoes in the school lunch program.