November/December 2019 - 37
KNOW SOMEONE WHO SHOULD BE FEATURED?
Email Zeke Jennings at email@example.com
or call 616-520-2159
Among the ranks of state association leaders in the potato industry,
Kelly Turner is still something of the new kid in class. She's hardly new to
Turner, a lifelong Michigan resident, took over as the executive director of
the Michigan Potato Industry Commission in August following Mike Wenkel's
move to the National Potato Council. Turner grew up on a farm and later
worked for a parks system administration authority in metro Detroit before
joining the Michigan Farm Bureau, where she stayed for 11 years.
Turner has spent the past few months diving into the state's potato scene.
Could you share a little about your
I grew up on a beef and cash crop farm in mid-Michigan
and come from a long lineage of farmers. In the late 1980s,
my dad declared that he wanted me to " do anything but be
a farmer. " I went to college at Michigan State University and
graduated with a bachelor's degree in parks, recreation and
tourism - it's ok to insert a giggle here.
What has stood out to you about
the industry so far?
I have been amazed at how well each
sector of the potato industry works together, both
at the state and national levels. I am excited and
invigorated by the amount of research and marketing
that goes into the potato industry and the amazing
opportunities that exist.
What is your top goal
for the next year?
As the new executive ...
my top goal is to become the
spokesperson for the industry and to
gain a respectful reputation amongst
the industry partners, legislative
partners and interested consumers.
What attracted you to agriculture?
I have always had a love for the lifestyle that
agriculture provides. Integration of math, science,
hard work and being able to be master of your own destiny
molded the person I am today. Being in close connection
to the life cycle and understanding the impact agriculture
has on every person on Earth was - and still is -
fascinating to me.
What is the biggest concern for MPIC
I believe that the biggest challenges are the same as what
other areas of the country are focused on. Environmental issues,
especially those dealing with water are continuing to take the lead
in this area. Second is food safety compliance and staying vigilant
and at the forefront of the topic is paramount, not only for growers
but the entire supply chain.
What is your
favorite way to
Potato soup with potato
chips for garnish is not only
my favorite potato dish,
but also the favorite for
What do you enjoy doing away
I am currently working on achieving
my doctoral degree, so between that and two
kids who are involved in 4-H and after school
programs, I don't have much time. When
I finish my degree, I plan to get back into
running. Anyone up for the Dopey Challenge?
Spudman * November/December 2019
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