Despite the uncertainty of the 2001-2002 marketing year facing them, Idaho growers agreed to move forward, choosing Klaren Koompin, an American Falls, ID, grower to be their leader for the next year.
In addition, they agreed to begin a membership push, giving growers dues-reduction incentives to sign up others.
Koompin, who will not step into full leadership until March after his term on the Executive Committee of the National Potato Promotion Board is up, sees great possibilities for the organization.
Koompin says the industry is moving forward into the 21st century and grower organizations have to be ready to move along as well. Dan Moss, who stepped into the president's spot last fall to complete the term of Keith Esplin who took over as executive director, will continue with most of the duties until March.
The Koompin Brothers are chip/process/fresh growers. Klaren has taken an active role in PGI for many years.
During the meeting, time was given to the new Southern Idaho Marketing Cooperative for a meeting of its own. During this well-attended event, growers heard organizational plans, discussed contract negotiations, and agreed to let the officers of the Western Idaho Growers' Cooperative, whose organization agreed to expand to take on the rest of the state's contract growers, continue.
Steve Reynolds and Jeff Harper, officers of the WIGC, said they would welcome other growers into the presently constituted organization but did not want to be willing to make organizational and bylaws changes at this time.
The group has agreed to change its name and go-ahead with bargaining with all the major processing companies in the state. It was the general agreement of the leadership that contracts must be reasonable and grower incentives need greater attention than the disincentives.
During the PGI portion of the meeting it was agreed to consolidate four of the state's seven districts into two. A new Seed Potato Growers of Idaho district was created for all seed growers.