The Friday, July 13, vote on whether or not to move the National Potato Council office from Denver to Washington, DC, will be a critical one for the future of the group.
Allen Olberding, president, and host of the July 11-13 NPC summer meeting in Bellingham, WA, said cost is one of the overriding factors in the decision. Being too far removed from a majority of U. S. growers (and adding travel costs) is a concern.
Olberding said being close to where the Council conducts a lot of business and concentrating emphasis in the government Capitol is another important concern.
"When we lost our government relations person (Dave Lavway, who stepped down to take a Farm Service Agency directorship for Maine) it gave us an opportunity to take a look at it," Olberding said.
Lavway was stationed on the East Coast and regularly worked in DC on many matters affecting the Council. "We didn't want to hire someone and tell them they might live in Denver or DC," he added.
Olberding said the Council is not pro-active like it was with Lavway in Washington. The office has lost ground, he said. "We want to get back to that level."
"The delegates have been given time to discuss the matter with other growers so I hope they give it a lot of consideration so they can come to the meeting and be prepared for a vote," Olberding said.