At this year’s National Potato Council’s (NPC) Potato D.C. Fly-In, which was held Feb. 25-28, more than 160 potato growers and industry partners advocated for the industry’s most pressing federal policy priorities. According to the March 5 Potato Bytes News from the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association, the group met with federal regulators at USDA and EPA, and took to Capitol Hill, meeting with 129 Senate and House offices, including 42 which had not been contacted during previous Fly-Ins.
The Fly-In also featured a number of high-level political, policy, and industry speakers, including House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Congressman Mike Simpson (R-ID), who addressed federal budget challenges and their impact on a new Farm Bill and other agriculture-related issues. Former Congressman Tom Davis (R-VA) offered attendees his analysis of the current state of affairs for the Republican Party and its path forward for the 2014 elections and beyond. Political strategist and commentator Donna Brazile also spoke about how the state of today’s politics is impacting the efforts of Congress and the White House to govern our country.
Attendees took to Capitol Hill to lead the industry’s advocacy efforts, focusing on four top priorities: preserving funding for specialty crop programs in a new five-year farm bill; reforming the agricultural guest worker program as part of comprehensive immigration reform; gaining Mexico’s full market access for U.S. fresh potatoes; and ending the ban on fresh potatoes in the WIC federal supplemental nutrition program.
For more information, go to www.nppga.org/potato_news/index.php.