USPB changes name

Potatoes USA President and CEO Blair Richardson speaks March 15 during his organization's annual meeting in Colorado Springs, Colo. During the meeting, U.S. Potato Board, the informal name of the National Potato Promotion Board, was changed to Potatoes USA.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Leaders with the National Potato Promotion Board have changed the organization’s informal name to Potatoes USA, seeking to place a greater emphasis on the commodity they market.

Board members with the organization, which previously went by U.S. Potato Board on its website and literature, approved the name change March 17 during their annual meeting.

“It’s not important for everyone to know that we’re the Potato Board, but it is important for them to know that we represent potatoes,” said board member Karlene Hardy, of Oakley, Idaho. “The board is not important. The potato is.”

The organization is in the process of updating its website under a new web address, potatoesusa.com.

At the meeting, the organization, which represents 2,500 family farms, also simplified both its strategic plan and its mission statement which now read, “Strengthen demand for U.S. potatoes.”

Hardy said the board is analyzing its two newest programs aimed at strengthening potato demand — a program that places potato-centric salad bars in schools and a program featuring food trucks with all-potato menus — to assess their returns on investment.

The strategic plan, which was once about 60 pages long, has been paired down to about 15 pages. Potatoes USA President and CEO Blair Richardson said the plan, which had offered rigid guidelines covering five years, will now be fluid, allowing the board to make adjustments as needed.

Given that the industry is rapidly evolving, Richardson said the board wished to make its strategic plan more of a philosophical document, rather than setting specific goals for each year.

“It does allow us to take advantage of opportunities as they pop up,” Richardson said.

Richardson said all of the changes were made with input during a host of meetings during the past 18 months with growers from throughout the country.

Potatoes USA invests about $6 million per year in USDA funding to boost global demand for potatoes. U.S. potato growers also support the organization’s efforts with an assessment of 3 cents per hundredweight.

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