b'Potato Expo Continues To Growby Ted Kreis, NPPGA Marketing and Communications Directorgramstoincreasepotatodemandboth domestically and internation-ally.Finally the UPGA in the organ-ization that compiles numbers andstatisticstogivegrowersthetoolsthey need to make smart decisions theNationalPotatoCouncilintro-and be profitable. duced a new initiative called PotatoLEAF.LEAFisanacronymforThe tradeshow floor at Potato Expo Leadership,Education&Advance-has also continued to grow, this year ment Foundation. Potato LEAF hashosting189exhibitors.NPPGA been created to provide tools, train-onceagainsetupaboothforthe ing, and support necessary to devel-NorthCentralPotatoBreeding op growers and industry members asTeam.Collaborating breeding pro- leaders. grams from North Dakota State, theUniversityofMinnesota,Michigan GreggHalversonfromBlackGoldA couple dozen potato growers and Farms is part of the governing bodyindustrypeoplefromourregion State,andtheUniversityofWisconsin occupy the booth to dis- for Potato LEAF.Halverson says thejoinedover2,000othersfrom goal of the group is to raise enougharound the U.S. and other countries play and promote their most prom-ising new varieties. moneytocreateanendowmentatPotatoExpo2020inLasVegas largeenoughtofundtheprogramJanuary14thand15th.Potato eachyearusingjusttheinterestExpowascreatedin2009tocom- This marked the first year that theUniversityofMinnesotahasintro- income. Halverson said the creationbine several potato industry winter of Potato LEAF was necessary aftermeetingsintoonebigget-together ducedanewvarietyattheshowsincetheuntimelypassingof the NPCsPotato Industry Leader-that has proven to be very popular ship Institute (PILI) program lost itsand continues to grow each year. Minnesota potato breeder ChristianThillin2014.Minnesotasnew corporate sponsor. The National Potato Council (NPC), potatobreederLauraShannondis-played a promising new russet vari- ShellyOlsenofLJOlsen,Inc.inPotatoes USA and the United Potato Othello,Washington,andPotatoGrowers of America (UPGA) form a ety,MN13142.NDSUsSusieThompsondisplayedfourvarieties LEAF chair said, Like most familythree-legged stool which draws most farms, developing the next genera-of the participants to the Expo.All that included one yellow and threeredskinvarieties,allforthefresh tion of leaders is part of our DNA.threeorganizationshaveseparate Butasfamilyfarmsbecomemoremissionsandarevaluabletothe market.complex,thedemandsuponourpotato industry. leadersbecomemoreintense.ImMinnesota Certified Potato Seed andtheNorthDakotaStateSeed pleasedtoseetheindustrycomeThe NPC is the lead organizer of the together to launch the Potato LEAFPotato Expo and advocates for grow- Departmentflankedthebreedersbooth on either side.organizationdedicatedtogrowingersinWashingtonDC.Potatoes leaders who will thrive in the com-USA is the marketing arm for potato petitiveglobalmarketplaceofthegrowersandhasnumerouspro- Fundingthe Future - At the Expo,4 POTATO GROWER FEBRUARY 2020'