(Sept. 5) IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — In a move that further consolidates potato sales forces in Idaho, Potandon Produce LLC and High Country Potato Inc. have merged their sales operations.

The move, announced at the beginning of September, became effective Aug. 1, when Potandon became the exclusive sales agent for High Country. Kirt Mockli, who had been sales manager at High Country, now sells for Potandon. Mockli is the sales manager for the High Country division, said Dick Thomas, sales director for Potandon.

EXCLUSIVE MARKETER

Potandon is the exclusive marketer of Green Giant Fresh and Sunspiced brand potatoes and onions in North America.

With the addition of 7,500 acres controlled by High Country, Potandon now markets more than 40,000 acres of products for its grower members.

This is the second such sales force merger for Potandon since June, when Potandon became the sales agent for Blackfoot-based Idaho Fresh Cooperative, which does business as Sunspiced of Idaho. Idaho Fresh Cooperative bought into Potandon during its sales force merger.

IMPORTANT ROLE

High Country is one of the original owners of Potandon and will continue to play an important role in the company, Thomas said.

“The merger with High Country strategically fits our idea of bringing in more growers and acreage under one team,” Thomas said. “It further strengthens our supply base.”

Kent Romrell, senior vice president of sales for Potandon, said the sales merger with High Country enhances the value Potandon brings to its customers because it ties the company to additional ground.

Ron Olsen, president of High Country, said the merger will help High Country develop a complete category marketing program.

“This consolidation of marketing combined with the expertise of Potandon and High Country will allow for increased opportunities in the national market and offer more consistent returns to High Country,” Olsen said in the release. “Our acreage base coupled with a multi-state co-packing network held by Potandon will allow us to provide a consistent year-round supply of all varieties of potatoes and onions to our customers.”