PotatoPro Homepage
  • English
  • Español
  • 简体中文
  • Nederlands

Michigan Potato Industry Commission appointments, re-appointments

Michigan Potato Industry Commission appointments, re-appointments

The Michigan Potato Industry Commission fosters and promotes the economically sustainable potato industry in this US State.

July 17, 2016
On July 15, Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan announced the appointments of Donald Kitchen of Elmira, Travis Horkey of Dundee, Kevin Storm of Mecosta, Benjamin Sklarczyk of Johannesburg and Matt Wilkes of Grand Rapids and the reappointments of Philip Gusmano of Grosse Pointe Farms, Ted Hanson of Cornell, Wayne Leep of Martin and John Makarewicz of Elmira to the Michigan Potato Industry Commission.

The commission fosters and promotes the economically sustainable potato industry.

Rick Snyder, Governor of Michigan:

“These appointees bring a great deal of experience to the Potato Industry Commission and I appreciate their willingness to share their knowledge that helps spur growth in Michigan’s successful agriculture industry.”


Donald Kitchen is a fourth generation farmer owning Kitchen Farms, LLC, which produces 1,250 acres of potatoes. Kitchen oversees the planting, harvesting and packaging elements. He will represent fresh growers and replace Randall Styme.

Travis Horkey co-owns Horkey Brother Farms, LLC. Horkey Brother Farms sells fresh produce to Detroit Eastern Market and Metro Produce. Horkey will represent fresh growers and replace Patrick Du Russel.

Kevin Storm works on the Walther Farm which raises and stores potatoes for Frito-Lay and Better Made. Storm was the recipient of the “Walther Award” at the 2014 Potato Industry Leadership Institute. Storm previously worked for Homakie Farms and Brinkman Excavating. Storm will represent chip growers and replace Brian Sackett.

Benjamin Sklarczyk has farmed 14 years growing seed potatoes, white wheat, corn, oats, and soybeans on Sklarczyk Seed Farm, LLC. (SSF). SSF has been growing in size over the past five years and currently produces over 6 million mini tubers per year to sell around the United States, as well as exporting to Canada, Brazil, Thailand, and Chile. Sklarczyk will represent growers at large, and replace Kevin Storm.


Ted Hanson is the co-owner of Hanson Seed Farm, LLC., where he farms seed potatoes, corn, hay, and grain. Hanson holds a degree in Water Resource Management from Bay de Noc Community College. He will continue to represent seed growers.

Philip Gusmano is the vice president of purchasing for Better Made Snack Foods, Inc., where he is responsible for purchasing all materials used in processing and day-to-day operations and negotiating all contracts with brokers, farms, farm suppliers, waste hauling, cooking oil, and sanitation supplies. He previously served in various capacities at Better Made including production manager and manager of special projects, district sales manager, and management cross trainee. Gusmano holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a master’s degree in business administration from Central Michigan University. He will continue to represent the process shippers and processors.

Wayne Leep is the owner and operator of County Line Potato Farms, LLC. Leep has farmed for 29 years and has over 1,300 acres of potatoes and hay. Leep will continue to represent chip growers.

John Makarewicz is the owner/operator of Marker Farms, LLC. He has over 30 years of experience in the industry and farms over 600 acres of potatoes, wheat, soybeans, rye, and snap beans. He will continue to represent seed growers.

Appointees will serve three-year terms expiring July 1, 2019. Their appointments are subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.
Companies in this Article
Better made snack food company is a smaller manufacturer of Potato Chips and other savory snacks in Michigan, United States.
The Michigan Potato Industry Commission aims to foster and promote the potato industry in Michigan
Walther Farms is a supplier of commercial and seed potatoes for the potato chip and fresh table stock markets grown throughout the United States.