Members of the Potato Growers of Idaho of Blackfoot voted to merge with the Idaho Potato Commission of Eagle at the industry's summer meeting, July 16.

"For the past six months, we have been seriously considering a number of consolidation plans with the end goal of reducing grower assessments and increasing efficiencies within the industry without compromising the grower's representation on legislative and regulatory issues," says PGI executive director Keith Esplin in Blackfoot.

The proposal called for consolidating PGI activities under a new committee that's part of the Idaho Potato Commission. Commission board members voted unanimously in June on a plan that would hire an industry relations director and create the new committee.

PGI was formed in 1968 to serve as a bargaining unit for growers in contract negotiations with potato processing companies. For more than 30 years, its mission has evolved to include representation of growers with governmental, legislative and industry organizations. It serves as the principle source for growers as they seek information on market conditions, industry developments, crop information and farming practices. 

In 2000, PGI discontinued its role in bargaining. More than 250 growers belong to the voluntary lobbying organization.