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Potato group has new name

If you’re part of the U.S. potato industry, you’re familiar with the U.S. Potato Board. If you’re an American consumer, you’re familiar, at least indirectly, with the board’s work.

Now, the board of directors of Denver-based organization, which promotes consumption of U.S. spuds, has changed its name to Potatoes USA. The change is part of a newly created mission and strategic plan.

“In the United States, Potatoes USA is the leading organizer of potato nutrition, research, education and varietal development,” Potatoes USA president and CEO Blair Richardson said in a prepared statement.  “We will have a positive impact on long-term demand, consumer awareness, research efforts and utilization of our potatoes by foodservice and retail operators, consumers and other entities.”

Richardson said previously in a talk at a Grand Forks, N.D., ag conference that the organization was planning some changes.

The organization says now that the its new strategic plan includes the collective input of more than 450 members of the U.S. potato industry, Potatoes USA staff and the board’s agency representatives from around the world. “Thoughts, ideas, wants, needs and desires were presented and documented over an 18-month period beginning in the summer of 2014,” the organization says.

Potatoes USA, which taps more than $6 million in annual U.S. Department of Agriculture funding, promotes U.S.potatoes in “all forms including seed, fresh, frozen, chipping and dehydrated products, striving to make potatoes exciting to consumers. The organization works to create positive change in the industry through innovative, collaborative and inspiring approaches in marketing, education and research,” it says.

The  Red River Valley of eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota is the nation’s leading producer of red potatoes. It’s the only region that produces in volume for the chip, fresh, seed and process markets.