Home Issue 2019-07-19 National Potato Council Summer Meeting Honors Longtime Leader John Kneeling

National Potato Council Summer Meeting Honors Longtime Leader John Kneeling

Outgoing NPC CEO and President John Keeling is honored during his retirement party with tokens of appreciation, kind words and gratitude expressed for this years of service.

The National Potato Council Summer Meeting on July 10-12 in Wisconsin Dells at the Chula Vista Resort successfully brought together nearly 150 potato growers and industry leaders to discuss national potato industry policy priorities.

Attendees heard from a dynamic group of speakers on a variety of topics with a global perspective including: farm and food exports, climate change and leadership development.

A highlight of the meeting was a special celebration honoring longtime NPC President and CEO John Kneeling, who retired in June.

“We were honored to host nearly 150 potato farmers and industry leaders from all major potato growing regions in the United States,” NPC President Larry Alsum said. “It was a great opportunity to work together on policy development for the betterment of our industry and network with other potato growers and partners.”

The Wednesday morning breakfast was highlighted by 72nd Alice in Dairyland Abigail Martin, who shared her role in promoting Wisconsin’s diverse agriculture industry.

Session wrap-up

The general sessions were headlined by Wells Fargo Bank Agriculture Economist – Senior Vice President Michael Swanson sharing from a lender’s perspective on the agricultural outlook; followed by speaker, trainer and coach John Maxwell; Courtney Booth, who defined leadership as influence and challenged the audience to become a person of positive influence; and Iowa State University’s Dr. S. Elwynn Taylor, who gave attendees insights into historic weather patterns that can help predict our future climate.

On Thursday morning, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Secretary-designee Brad Pfaff shared the strength and diversity of the state’s agriculture industry at breakfast before attendees broke out into NPC Grower Outreach and Industry Research, and Trade Affairs Committee meetings.

Keeling honored

After lunch, University of Wisconsin-Madison Associate Professor Matt Ruark detailed the U.S. Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Initiative coordinated agricultural project, as funded in 2018 to improve soil health for potato production, followed by NPC Committee member meeting discussions. A special retirement celebration honored longtime President and CEO John Keeling and the evening culminated with a Dells dinner cruise.

Friday’s Farm Tour Day showcased the operations of Alsum Farms & Produce in Friesland, Wis., and the muck soils of Trembling Prairie Farms in Markesan to see celery, onion and potato fields. Lunch involved a grill-your-own steak and fish restaurant at a waterfront resort in Poynette, and the day concluded at J. Henry & Sons Farm and Bourbon Distillery in Dane.

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