(March 17) The assessment of two cents per cwt. that funds the Denver-based U.S. Potato Board will not rise for 2004.

The decision was made by a unanimous voice vote at the board’s annual meeting March 12-15 in Denver.

“Leave it be until a need is proven and shown,” said Bud Shahan, owner of Queen Creek Potato Co., Mesa, Ariz., while reporting for the southwest caucus.

The maximum assessment could have been 2.895 cents per cwt., which would have increased the board’s revenue by $3.8 million.

Members unanimously approved by voice vote a budget of $8.65 million. The 2003 budget was for revenues of $8.6 million.

MEETING WITH POTATO COUNCIL

Members also supported having a joint meeting of the U.S. Potato Board with the National Potato Council Jan. 6-10 in Cancun, Mexico. In caucus reports, members reported seeing value in working with the council and also making better contact with Mexican officials and industry leaders. However, they asked the board to help explain to rank-and-file growers the value of the meeting.

“We are concerned about the perception — that growers think it’s a vacation,” said Larry Alsum, north-central district spokesman.

NEW CHAIRMAN

Jim Tiede, third-generation family farmer from American Falls, Idaho, has accepted the gavel as chairman of the U.S. Potato Board’s executive committee. Tiede spent his fourth year on the executive committee as chairman of the Domestic Marketing Committee.

Tiede succeeds DeeAnn Amstad, co-owner of Amstad Farms, Hermiston, Ore, who will remain on the executive committee in an ex officio capacity.

The following are the other members of the executive committee:

  • Bob Bartlett, owner of Bartlett Farms, Houlton, Maine, representing the northeast district

  • Kraig Knutzen of Knutzen Farms, Bow, Wash., representing the northwest district

  • Ray Meiggs, vice president of marketing and sales for John E. Ferebee Farming Inc., Camden, N.C., representing the southeast district

  • Shahan, representing the southwest district

  • Carla Worley, co-owner of Worley Seed and Hi-Land Potato Co., Monte Vista, Colo., representing the south-central district.


The next annual meeting will be March 17-20 at the same location, the Westin Tabor Center in Denver.