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A P R I L 2 0 1 628 POTATO GROWER Eric Halverson Returns To US Potato Board Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced 29 appointments to the National Potato Promotion Board also known as the United States Potato Board USPB. Each representative will serve for three years beginning March 1 2016. Among those appointed is Eric Halverson from Black Gold Farms headquartered in Grand Forks North Dakota. This will be Halversons second stint on the board he previously served two three-year terms from 2008 to 2014. Halverson will join North Dakota board members Jeff VanRay Bill Sheldon Casey Hoverson and cur- rent USPB Chairman Carl Hoverson on the board. Minnesota board members are Justin Dagen Leon Hapka Jeff Edling and Howard Gray. North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer commented Eric will be a strong voice for potato producers from North Dakota and across the nation. I congratulate him for receiving this honor and wish him the best of luck in this new posi- tion. USDAs Agricultural Marketing Service AMS provides oversight of the National Potato Promotion Board in accordance with the Potato Research and Promotion Act and the Potato Research and Promotion Plan. The program is administered by board members who are selected by the Secretary of Agriculture. Research and promotion programs are industry-funded authorized by Congress and date back to 1966 when Congress passed the Cotton Research and Promotion Act. Since then Congress has authorized the establishment of 22 research and promotion boards. They empower agricultural industries including the fruit and vegetable industry to leverage their own resources to develop markets strengthen exist- ing markets and conduct important research and promotion activities. AMS provides oversight paid for by industry assessments which helps ensure fiscal responsibility program efficiency and fair treatment of par- ticipating stakeholders. An induction ceremony was held at the United States Potato Boards annual meeting in Colorado Springs. Major U.S. Legislative Issues Impacting Produce Anticipated In 2016 The 2016 U.S. congressional calen- dar is expected to be very com- pressed because of the Democratic and Republican Conventions sched- uled for July and the November presidential and congressional elec- tions. Nevertheless major legisla- tive issues of interest to the fruit and vegetable industry may include Child Nutrition Reauthorization As discussed in another post this major program that sets policy and funding for school lunch and other nutritionfeeding programs has been considered in a Senate com- mittee and must move through floor consideration and the House of Representatives before becoming law. It includes important policy provisions that direct content of federally funded meals as well as foster healthy eating habits. The short-term win for the produce industry is greater fruit and veg- etable consumption for kids. The long-term benefit is that childrens boost in consumption will carry on into adulthood building consumers for life. Annual Appropriations Annual legislation to fund opera- tion of the federal government is expected to move much earlier than normal however election-year pol- itics and uncertainty over who may win the White House and which party may control the Senate could derail plans to complete bills before the end of the U.S. governments fis- cal year on Sept. 30. As election-year People Product News