(May 21) Idaho potato grower-shippers will likely see an increase in their assessment rates, from 10 cents to 12 ½ cents a cwt.

The increase, approved by growers and the Idaho legislature, is effective when the harvest season begins in August, said Frank Muir, president and chief executive officer of the Eagle-based Idaho Potato Commission, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year.

“It’s rare for an organization to exist 70 years and to have growers agree to being taxed for this long,” Muir said. “It’s a re-emphasis on how committed they are to putting their money where the brand is.”

Efforts to increase the assessments started in November 2006, when the commission went on a whistle-stop tour throughout the state to present the idea and hear feedback from organizations representing all facets of the supply chain, including the Potato Growers of Idaho, the Idaho Grower Shippers Association and the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry, Muir said.

The associations and their members were supportive, Muir said. The increase is slated for potato advertising.