Kam Quarles joined the National Potato Council in December as Vice President of Public Policy. He distinguishing himself with seven years at McDermott, Will & Emery LLP, was with United Fresh before that, and has spent more than two decades resolving complex regulatory, communication and public relations issues for international businesses, public agencies and national trade associations.
SPW’s Chip Carter and Jenni Kight caught up with Quarles recently to talk taters — specifically, to talk about where the industry is heading.
Just this week, potato grower Eric Halverson was in Washington, D.C., to speak in front of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry Committee regarding the importance of the USDA export programs. Halverson is a fourth-generation farmer and CEO of Black Gold Farms in Grand Forks, ND.
U.S. potato growers see fierce foreign competition in key export markets and continued access is vital for maintaining the economic health of the industry. The USDA Market Access Program (MAP) allows the U.S. to be competitive overseas through marketing and promotional activities that build commercial export markets
Halverson spoke about MAP’s important role in this public-private partnership, noting its 28-to-1 return-on-investment. Export market development programs funded through the farm bill have contributed an average of $8.2 billion per year to farm export revenue from 1977-2014. Without the existence of MAP, exports would not have returned to positive growth last year, said Halverson.
Halverson testified on behalf of the National Potato Council and United Fresh Produce Association. As the Senate committee’s work in preparation for the 2018 Farm Bill continues, NPC is actively engaged in providing information and outlining the importance of Farm Bill programs working in concert with U.S. trade policies.
That’s where Quarles comes in.
In December, NPC CEO and Executive VP John Keeling said, “We are delighted to welcome Kam to NPC. Over the past 7 years he has shown great skill advocating on our behalf on federal issues. NPC is excited to welcome him onboard and we look forward to having his talents advocating for us full-time.”
“I’m very excited to represent this wonderful industry [to] a new Congress and Administration,” said Quarles.
Quarles holds a Masters in International Commerce and Policy from George Mason University.
The National Potato Council is the advocate for the economic well-being of U.S. potato growers on federal legislative, regulatory, environmental, and trade issues. NPC supports the U.S. potato industry by monitoring issues affecting the strength and viability of the potato industry, influencing regulators and legislators on issues crucial to the industry’s long term success, ensuring fair market access for potatoes and potato products, and bringing the unique issues and interests of diverse growing regions in the U.S. together on a national level.