Idaho Falls-based United Potato Growers of Idaho, the organization that led the way in encouraging spud growers nationwide to reign in acreage in order to buoy markets, has a new lease on life.


At the organization’s fall growers’ meeting Nov. 11, United Potato Growers of Idaho announced it reached its membership goal and therefore won’t shut its doors, said Britt Raybould, a spokeswoman for the group.


Earlier this fall, the group announced that if its membership did not represent 80% of the state’s fresh potato acreage, it would disband.


“We’re excited that individual growers have come together as a group to support UPGI and our efforts to have a positive role in the industry,” Carl Taylor, the association’s board chairman, said in a news release. “As an industry, we face challenges that we’re more likely to overcome if we work together as a grower cooperative.”


Because of depressed markets, United Potato’s board had decided to try to bring more growers on board — and to disband if it couldn’t. Before this fall, it did not require that a certain percentage of acreage be represented.


Raybould said the meeting did not produce an answer to another question facing United Potato of Idaho: finding a replacement for Jerry Wright, who resigned as chief executive officer Nov. 3 after he and the board agreed the organization should move in a different direction.