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February 9, 2010

Charting the Course for a Stable Processing Sector

Press Release
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(ORLANDO, FL—February 9, 2010)

many resonating messages growers heard during the Process Sector Breakout of POTATO EXPO 2010. More

than ever, the US potato industry needs to be proactive in its efforts to present sound and credible

information about “America’s Favorite Vegetable.”

Nearly 1,200 people attended POTATO EXPO 2010, along with a trade show that was completely sold out.

The record setting attendance included representatives from all across North America and from all sectors of

the potato industry. Attendees from New Zealand, Germany, the United Kingdom, Norway, the Netherlands,

Mexico, Korea, Japan and Ireland were also present.

“The process sector sessions were brimming with people who were able to tap the knowledge and insight of

frozen and dehy industry leaders,” said Susan Weller, United States Potato Board (USPB) International

Marketing Manager—Frozen. “Expert speakers gave their candid opinions of not only the future of the

processing industry, but what steps need to be taken by process growers and the entire industry to ensure

their organizations are viable and stable in the future.”

Richard Liroff, an Investor with the Environmental Health Network—a group of environmentally-oriented

investors who presented McDonalds with a shareholder resolution to review pesticide use on their inputs—

described the public’s interest in directing corporations toward more socially responsible decision-making. He

also described the ways in which socially active investor groups communicate to corporations on sustainability

and other social issues.

Coloma Farms Processing Potato Grower Andy Diercks, Conagra Foods Lamb Weston Vice President of Global

Agriculture Strategy and Service Jan de Weerd, SureHarvest’s President Jeff Dlott and CropLife Foundation’s

Program Director Leonard Gianessi each presented their perspectives and ideas about sustainability and the

processing potato industry. Each of these speakers, along with Liroff, then participated on a panel discussion

moderated by Chris Voigt, Executive Director of the Washington State Potato Commission.

McCain Foods USA, Inc., President Frank van Shaayk presented “The Future of Fries” discussing why

consumers are eating fewer fries, the impact on foodservice sales and what the potato industry can do to

reverse this trend. He also shared his ideas for an industry campaign, launching in 2010, designed to change

the tide and put growth back into the category.

“Food Safety on Your Farm” was presented by Bonnie Fernandez-Fenaroli, Executive Director with the Center

for Produce Safety at UC Davis. She discussed the food safety challenges for the potato industry, and the

critical components necessary for developing a credible food safety standard. She also summarized the work

being done to develop a food safety risk assessment for the potato industry.

Ronald Schuler with the California Canning Peach Association shared his experiences with successfully guiding

California peach growers through the development of a bargaining unit working for growers and yielding

acceptable outcomes for the rest of the supply chain. Reflecting on the potato industry with his vast

experience in the stone fruit industry, he emphasized the need to understand business and being sure to

represent the industry—both large and small producers.

A thought provoking look at the relationship between dehy and overall potato utilization was presented in “A

Stable Supply of Raw Product for the Dehy Industry” by Winnemucca Farms, Inc. President/CEO John O’Brien.

Attendees were challenged to consider options for a long-term solution for a stable, cost-effective raw

material program in the best interest of growers, processors and industry customers.


Understanding the needs and wants of consumers was just one of the