28 September 2023
Potato council says amendment to bill will 'severely limit' research.
THE National Potato Council is the US is opposing proposed legislation that it says would "undermine or eliminate" commodity checkoff programs.
American politician and businesswoman Victoria Spartz, the US representative for Indiana's 5th congressional district, has put forward an amendment to the House FY 2024 Agriculture Appropriations Bill.
The NPC's President, RJ Andrus, said in a recent announcement: “The Spartz amendment is one of several attempts to shut down or severely limit the activities of grower-funded and led agricultural research and promotion boards." He added that the amendment will undermine vital agricultural research and impair promotion programs, particularly in highly competitive foreign markets.
"The National Potato Council strongly opposes these intentions to weaken or eliminate programs enacted by the grower-leadership of these boards and supported exclusively by grower funds," he continued. "This attempt to prevent USDA from utilising tax payer dollars in its important oversight role of these boards would lessen transparency and immediately harm the communities that rely upon the benefits of their agricultural research and promotion.”
Checkoff programs are administered by USDA and overseen by growers and ranchers to promote different agricultural commodities.
Checkoff boards pool assessments from producers and use that funding to conduct research, raise consumer awareness and build higher demand for US agricultural products. By promoting these products, checkoffs ensure that future generations of growers and ranchers can build a livelihood in agriculture, the NPC announcement stated.
Other groups opposing the Spartz amendment include the Colorado Potato Legislative Association, Empire State Potato Growers, Idaho Grower Shippers Association, Maine Potato Board, Northland Potato Growers Association, Potato Growers of Michigan, Washington State Potato Commission, and Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association, according to the release.
Source: The Packer