view current print edition




U.S. Potato Board names Western potato growers to leadership roster

by Lora Abcarian | April 12, 2010
Six individuals representing a cross section of the potato industry in the western United States were elected to serve with the U.S. Potato Board and were named to positions of leadership last month during its 38th annual meeting in Denver.

Molly Connors, who represents the third generation at Skone & Connors Produce Inc., was named co-chairman of the board's Domestic Marketing Committee. Ms. Connors has been a member of the sales team at Basin Gold Cooperative in Pasco, WA, for the past nine years. The company handles potato sales and marketing for a number of producers in Washington and Oregon. Ms. Connors' work for the cooperative focuses on retail and foodservice accounts. She has served on the board for three years, serving for two years as a member of the International Marketing Committee.

Lon Baley, a fourth-generation grower and third-generation potato farmer who has served on the board for five years, has begun his second year as co- chairman of the International Marketing Committee. He is a co-owner of Baley Trotman Potato Co. in Malin, OR. Mr. Baley serves as chairman of the Oregon Potato Commission, and is a board member of both the Klamath Potato Growers Association and the Tulelake Growers Association. Mr. Baley has participated in a number of high-visibility reverse trade missions for the USPB involving foreign chip-stock buyers.

Monty Smith, who grew up on his family's Three S Ranch Inc. in Blanca, CO, is serving his fourth year on the board and was named co-chairman of the International Marketing Committee. He previously served as co-chairman of the Industry Communications & Policy Committee. After earning a bachelor's degree in agronomy from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO, Mr. Smith returned to the family business in 1988 to join its management team.

Board member appointments were also made during the annual meeting. Kurt Holland, sales and transportation manager for Mountain Valley Produce in Center, CO, is serving a three-year term. Mr. Holland has worked in the potato industry in the San Luis Valley for the past six years. He is a member of the Colorado Potato Administrative Marketing Committee, headquartered in Monte Vista, CO, and is also a graduate of the 2007 Potato Industry leadership Institute.

Martin Myers, Northwest business manager for RD Offutt Co. in Boardman, OR, was named to serve a three-year term. He has been involved with the potato industry for 16 years and manages operations at Threemile Canyon Farms in Oregon and Winnemucca Farms in Nevada. He is a commissioner at the Oregon Potato Commission; he is also a member of the Potato Growers of Washington and the Fresh Demand Working Group.

Steve Cottom, a fifth-generation seed potato grower from Dillon, MT, was also named to a three-year term. He has been involved with seed potato production for the past 40 years and is the owner of Cottom Seed Inc., a company established by his great-great grandparents in the late 1800s. He is vice chairman of United Potato Growers of Montana and serves on the Research Committee of the Montana Potato Improvement Association.