April 2022 - 11

Left, new NPC President Jared Balcom speaks while First VP and VP of Legislative Affairs RJ Andrus looks on. Middle, the 2022 NPC Executive
Committee, from left, Dean Gibson, Ben Sklarczyk, Ted Tschirky, Jared Balcom, RJ Andrus, Bob Mattive and Dominic LaJoie. Right, U.S. Rep. Mike
Simpson (R-Idaho) speaks at the NPC's Washington Summit on March 2.
Bill process that takes place every five years. " The Farm Bill
always starts imperfect. The House and Senate both put
forth imperfect bills, but by the time revisions are made,
it's usually a pretty good bill. "
On the topic of the next Farm Bill, Quarles said talks
have already started for the 2023 version, but added that,
like the ag labor reform process, the midterm elections will
play a role in how the bill evolves.
" Whenever that train starts to roll, we have to be ready, "
Quarles said. " One of the ways we've been able to do that
over the past 20 years is the Specialty Crop Farm Bill
Alliance. "
The alliance includes 300 commodities, giving the
collective a much larger say in policymaking. It also has
generated billions of dollars in aid for specialty crop
industries over the years. The initiative has been so
successful that classification as a specialty crop is quite
attractive for other industries, something Quarles said
current specialty crop industries should carefully consider.
" The nature of the discussion around what specialty
crops need is changing, " he said. " We're all going to have
to be really committed to this process. We have a bunch of
new players and new ideas out there. "
The next version of Dietary Guidelines for Americans also
is on the NPC's radar. The group wants to make sure potatoes'
status doesn't suffer in the next guidelines, as it did in the
2015 revision. The next guidelines go into effect in 2025.
" The dietary guidelines are the cornerstone for all
(federal nutritional) programs, " said Maggie Gentile, vice
president of Food Directions. " Getting that right really is
key so we don't keep having all these problems. "
Other issues the NPC is watching include supply chainrelated
legislation, which includes new commercial driver
license (CDL) mandates that are making it harder for
truckers to get licensed, truck weight regulations and
the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021, which has been
passed by the House and introduced in the Senate.
The major talking point during the Trade Affairs
Committee meeting was the delay on fresh U.S. potatoes
being shipped throughout Mexico. The National Potato
Council was under the impression that, following a
satisfactory inspection visit by Mexican officials to
Colorado in December, that all systems were a go and
shipments could begin as early as early February.
The Mexican government then let the USDA's Animal
and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) know that
they wanted to inspect potatoes as they were being grown.
Since the potatoes that were to be shipped were already in
storage from the 2021 harvest, things would have to wait
until they could inspect this year's crop on site.
APHIS Administrator Kevin Shea joined the NPC
meeting through a video call.
" We are still hashing out issues on potatoes already
available, " Shea said. " In theory, they are outside the deal
we agreed upon. " There also are hang ups with additional
processing potato access, which accounts for about 25% of
the potatoes in question.
Shea added that APHIS is working on a compromise with
its Mexican counterpart agency. He added that the goal is still
to get U.S. potatoes further into Mexico as soon as possible.
" We don't want to cut our nose off to spite our face. "
Matt Lantz of Bryant Christie, a longtime trade
correspondent for the NPC, stressed to Shea that the
struggle for fresh access to Mexico spans more than 20
years. He added that more access to Mexico for avocados
exports has been closely linked to the potato situation
and that the U.S. has come through on its part long ago
by granting access for more Mexican avocados. Shea
responded the U.S. is firm on additional avocado access.
" We won't be moving on additional avocados until we
are sure potatoes are going to Mexico, " Shea said. Lantz
noted it was the first time the U.S. government had made
that strong of a verbal commitment.
Another big topic discussed was when to allow potatoes
from Prince Edward Island to the U.S. after imports were
suspended following multiple positive tests for potato
wart in PEI fields. The U.S. did start allowing tablestock
potatoes from PEI to resume shipment to Puerto Rico
recently. They are marked " for consumption only " to
discourage planting, as well as any attempt to move
potatoes to the U.S. mainland for resale.
PEI committed to ramp up its potato wart testing, which
had declined in recent years. About 10% of the planned
additional 30,000 soil tests - which is 300% more than at
Spudman * April 2022

April 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of April 2022

April 2022 - 1
April 2022 - 2
April 2022 - 3
April 2022 - 4
April 2022 - 5
April 2022 - 6
April 2022 - 7
April 2022 - 8
April 2022 - 9
April 2022 - 10
April 2022 - 11
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