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EAST GRAND FORKS, MN -- The Northern Plains Potato Growers Association based in East Grand Forks, MN, has elected Gregg Halverson of Grand Forks, ND, as its new chairman.

Mr. Halverson is president and chief executive officer of Grand Forks, ND- based Black Gold Farms, which raises potatoes on 15,000 acres located in 10 different states.

Chuck Gunnerson, president of the association, said in a March 2 press release, "We are honored to have Gregg Halverson serving as chairman of the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association. His knowledge and experience will be a tremendous asset to the potato industry here in Minnesota and North Dakota. Gregg's dedication and expertise will help guide the NPPGA into the next decade and we are pleased he has accepted the challenge."

In a speech delivered to the members of the association Feb. 23, Mr. Halverson said that his main task will be to help foster positive industry growth in the Northern Plains.

"I promise, I will do my best to move our association and our industry forward," he said in the speech. "We must uncover growth possibilities in our industry. We need innovation in our industry and we need it now. In my mind, this innovation process will start with the people in this room."

Mr. Halverson has been involved in leadership positions on the research committee of the association and is a past recipient of the NPPGA Meritorious Service Award. He has served on the environmental affairs committee of the National Potato Council, and under his leadership Black Gold received the council's 2009 Environmental Stewardship Award. He was also honored at the World Potato Congress in New Zealand with the 2009 Industry Award.

Mr. Halverson replaces outgoing Chairman Josh Heuchert of Hensel, ND. Other newly elected officers are Vice President Jeff Van Ray of Pingree, ND, and Secretary-Treasurer Carl Hoverson from Larimore, ND. All officers will serve one-year terms.