Potato growers from throughout Idaho met in Pocatello today and in a unanimous vote agreed to remain a viable organization for the Idaho potato industry.
However, PGI will no longer be involved in contract bargaining. A new yet-to-be-named organization is being formed to include all frozen fry contract growers. This organization will conduct its own bargaining with the three largest processors operating in the state-Simplot, Lamb-Weston, and McCain Foods.
In addition, the 80-plus growers agreed to approach the Idaho legislature next spring to get legislation for a mandatory check-off of all growers to finance PGI. This has been one of the biggest obstacles in PGI, some growers contributing and others not.
Dan Moss, PGI president, also said that a suit against the organization by Idaho Pacific over a process contract has been settled out of court. No details of the agreement were made public. PGI had initiated an agreement with the dehy processor for potato delivery it did not make for the 1999 crop. Reason for failure to deliver was in dispute by PGI because the timetable for delivery was not clearly spelled out.
Growers agreed to keep PGI the voice of the Idaho potato industry, representing the state in all national, state, and industry concerns, including PoPac.
Growers also agreed to lower dues from six tenths of a percent to three tenths and to adjust dues as needed in the future. Keith Esplin, executive director, and all other officers will function in their positions until the annual December meeting.
Esplin's main focus is to get a first-handlers list made up and growers re-signed. Growers in the bargaining association have already said they would re-join PGI because of the many positive benefits it can provide. District meetings will be held to inform growers and to get re-enlistment commitments.