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Secretary Vilsack announces National Potato Board appointments

U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has appointed 30 members to serve on the National Potato Promotion Board. Each member will serve a three-year term of office beginning March 1, 2013.

Newly appointed producers include David Bloxham of Salisbury, MD; Brant Darrington of Burley, ID; Steven Gangwish of Columbus, SD; Charles Grose of Terra Alta, WV; Kristi Gundersen of Bow, WA; John Halverson of Paragould, AR; Merrill Hanny of Idaho Falls, ID; Arnold Mack of Lake Wales, FL; Phillip Mehlenbacher of Burbank, WA; Brian Meisner of Wray, CO; Bernie Smiarowski of Hatfield, MA; John Stahl of Ritzville, WA; Eric Sutton of Rexburg, ID; Brian Theobald of Farmington, NM; Jordan Thomas of Haimer, ID; David Tonso of Monte Vista, CO; Dillon VanOrden of Pingree, ID; and Weston Walker of Merrill, OR.

Producers reappointed to the board are Steve Cottom from Dillon, MT; Keith Doyen from Mapleton, ME; Diane Hanson from Cornell, MI; Kurtis Holland from Monte Vista, CO; Brian Kirschenmann from Bakersfield, CA; Lloyd Masser from Pitman, PA; Martin Myers from Lake Oswego, OR; Jared Wattenbarger from Idaho Falls; and Marvin Wollman from Warden, WA.

Importers Edward Barnhill of Clermont, FL, and Vernon Thomas of Centerville, NB, were also reappointed along with public member Mary DeMers of Sophia, NC.

USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service provides board oversight, which ensures fiscal responsibility, program efficiency and fair treatment of participating stakeholders in accordance with the 1971 Potato Research and Promotion Act. The program is administered by board members, who are selected by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

Research and promotion programs are industry-funded, authorized by Congress and date back to 1966. Since then, Congress has authorized the establishment of 20 research and promotion boards. They empower farmers and ranchers, establishing a framework to pool resources and combine efforts to develop new markets, strengthen existing markets, and conduct important research and promotion activities.

More information about research and promotion programs is available at www.ams.usda.gov/FVPromotion.