National Potato Council Summer Meeting Brings Potato Growers Together

Larry Alsum

Friesland, Wisconsin — The National Potato Council (NPC) Summer Meeting held 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 long-time 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,” says Larry Alsum, NPC President. “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. The general sessions were headlined by Michael Swanson, Agriculture Economist – Senior Vice President, Wells Fargo Bank sharing from a lender’s perspective on the agricultural outlook, followed by John Maxwell Speaker, Trainer & Coach, Courtney Booth, who defined leadership as influence and challenged the audience to become a person of positive influence. Dr. S. Elwynn Taylor, Iowa State University gave attendees insights into historic weather patterns which 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.

After lunch, University of Wisconsin-Madison Associate Professor Matt Ruark detailed the U.S. Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Initiative (SRCI) coordinated agricultural project (CAP), as funded in 2018 to improve soil health for potato production followed by NPC Committee member meeting discussions. A special retirement celebration honored long-time 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, Wisconsin, 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.

NPC is the national 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 industry, influencing regulators and legislators on critical issues.

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About National Potato Council

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. For more information, visit

About Alsum Farms & Produce

Alsum Farms & Produce, Inc., is a grower, packer and shipper of potatoes, re-packer of onions and a wholesale distributor of a full line of fresh fruits and vegetables. Headquartered in Friesland, Wisconsin, Alsum Farms is also a member of the eco-friendly Wisconsin Healthy Grown® Potato Program. To learn more about Alsum Farms & Produce, its full-line of products or for delicious potato recipes, visit