By Vicky Boyd

Allen Floyd, a potato grower and co-owner of a year-round potato packinghouse in Othello, Wash., received the 2009 Potato Man for All Seasons award recently in Orlando.

The award is presented annually by The Grower and its sister publication, The Packer, in conjunction with the National Potato Council.

The Potato Man for All Seasons recognizes someone who has devoted a good deal of his or her life to bettering the potato industry.

Floyd has been active in the industry for decades, having served on several state and national boards. They include 12 years on the Washington State Potato Commission, four years on the Washington State Potato Foundation, 30 years on the Washington State Potato Committee and six years on the U.S. Potato Board.

More recently, he helped found the Washington/Oregon united Potato Growers Co-op and served as its chair for three years. He has served on the board of the United Potato Growers of America for four years, most recently as chairman.

Despite his busy schedule, both on the farm and off, he has always found time to mentor and guide other growers and industry members, according to colleagues.

“He is trustworthy and like a shepherd has looked after the whole industry,” says a peer who helped nominate Floyd. “He is street smart and doesn’t take B.S., yet he cares about other growers and their problems. The Washington Potato Commission and the U.S. potato industry are better for his service.”

Floyd believed in getting out and telling the world about the virtues of U.S.-grown potatoes. He traveled to China, Taiwan, Japan, Mexico and Cuba to preserve and expand markets for U.S. potatoes.

“Allen is one of the great spokesmen of the potato industry. Potatoes are a major part of his life—he is a spud farmer 24/7—and the potato industry is his family,” said another peer who nominated him.