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 Potatoes USA Elects Leadership Positions

Potatoes USA Executive Committee.
From left to right: Doug Poe, John Halverson, Carl Hoverson, Blair Richardson, Mike Pink, Karlene Hardy, Jason Davenport, Jay LaJoie, Tim May, Steve Gangwish, Phil Hickman and Chris Wada.

Mike Pink elected to Lead Potatoes USA in 2016-2017

Mike Pink of Mesa, WA, was elected Chairman of Potatoes USA March 17, 2016, at the organization’s 44th Annual Meeting in Colorado Springs, CO. Pink is serving his fifth year on the Board. In 2014-2015, he served as Co-Chairman of the Board’s International Marketing Committee. He previously served three years on the International Marketing Administrative Committee.

Pink Farms has been a part of the Washington potato industry for the past 26 years. A frozen/process grower, Mike grows Ranger, Umatilla and Alturas Russet varieties. Sweet corn, field corn, seed corn, sunflowers, wheat, buckwheat, alfalfa, green peas and grass seed are grown in rotation. Cattle are also raised at Pink Farms.

Mike Pink:



“I am a current member of Potato Growers of Washington, and have served as a commissioner on the Washington State Potato Commission.”

“I have been very active in local, state and national potato organizations. I’ve been a Board Member on both the USPB [Potatoes USA] and the NPC.”

Mike attended Columbia Basin Community College, Pasco, WA, and holds an AA degree in agri-business. He is a member of the Farm Bureau and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). He is married to Davina Pink, and they have three daughters: Danika (age 20), Darbi (age 18) and Delaney (age 13).

“I stay very busy chasing my three daughters as they all play school sports, as well as club soccer and club basketball,” Mike said.

Carl Hoverson reflects on Year of Service

Potatoes USA Immediate Past Chairman Carl Hoverson of Larimore, ND, passed the gavel on to Mike Pink of Mesa, WA, the Board’s newly appointed Chairman of the Board for 2016-2017.

Carl Hoverson reflected on serving as Potatoes USA Chairman:





“This past year has been a great experience.”

“Rolling out a new strategic plan for the Board, creating a new business name, and identifying a new mission for our organization are some of the important highlights we can all be proud and thankful for.”

Hoverson paid special recognition to the Board Staff and his family for their help and support during his 2015-2016 chairmanship. He particularly noted the academic and professional successes each of his children has made, and expressed gratitude for their accomplishments.

Harkening back to a moment at the Board’s 2015 Annual Meeting, when he received his own Chairman’s nomination, he once again donned his University of North Dakota hockey jersey and led the Board in a final cheer for Potatoes USA. He challenged the industry to focus more on maintaining good taste and flavors in new potato varieties, and not be so quick to select potatoes based on appearances.

Hoverson grows Russet Burbank potatoes for frozen processing. He and his two sons grow 5,100 acres of irrigated potatoes for the JR Simplot Company. Sugarbeets, wheat, corn, soybeans, canola and navy beans are also produced on Hoverson Farms.

Hoverson has served as chairman of the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association, and also as the Secretary/Treasurer. He attended the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND, and North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND, studying civil engineering.

Hoverson has six children: sons Michael and Casey, and daughters: Alyssa, Fallon, Norah and Paris. He enjoys spending time with his grandchildren, and growing potatoes.

Jason Davenport to Lead Potatoes USA Domestic Marketing Committee

Jason Davenport of Arvin, CA, was elected to the Potatoes USA Executive Committee on March 17, 2016, at the organization’s 44th Annual Meeting in Colorado Springs, CO. He will be serving his first year on the Board as Co-Chairman of the Domestic Marketing Committee.

Davenport is originally from Idaho and has farmed for nearly his entire life. He has grown potatoes for nearly nine years for Allied Potato, Inc. This farm organization operates in California, Washington, Oregon, and Colorado. Potatoes are grown for the chip-stock, organic, seed and table-stock markets. Some of Allied Potato’s major varieties are Atlantic, Snowden, Chipeta, NY115, Lamoka, Frito-Lay varieties, Agata, Parella, and Colorado Rose. Barley, corn, alfalfa and sorghum are grown in rotation.

Davenport is a graduate of the University of Idaho, Moscow, ID, and holds a BS degree in plant science. He is a member of the Western Growers Association, serves on his local Boy Scouts of America district and council leadership, has been President of the Mortar Board and was a 2010 participant in the Potato Industry Leadership Institute. He has also been recognized in Who’s Who Among American CEO’s.

Davenport has been married to his wife, Nichole for 20 years. They have two sons: Brayden (age 19) and Trennyn (age 15) and two daughters: Kaitlyn (age 17) and Ashlyn (age 10). He enjoys basketball, snow skiing, wake boarding, travel, golf and flying.

Chris Wada continues leading Potatoes USA Domestic Marketing Committee

Chris Wada of Pingree, ID, was re-elected to the Potatoes USA Executive Committee on March 17, 2016, at the organization’s 44th Annual Meeting in Colorado Springs, CO. He will be serving his fifth year on the Board and his third year on its Executive Committee. In 2012 and 2013, he served on the Board Administrative Committee as a member of its Domestic Marketing Committee.

Wada has been involved in the potato business his entire life. After leaving for eight-years of college and other employment, he returned to the family business and joined the sales and marketing office at Wada Farms in 2007. His current role is market research and strategy. “My duties include a wide variety of things with a focus on strategic planning, business development, product marketing and communications,” he said.

Based in Idaho, the Wada family has been growing Idaho Russet potatoes since 1943. Today, their family of farms also grows reds, golds and smalls varieties across the country. Wada Farms is primarily a fresh table-stock producer.

Chris Wada explains:





“The Wada Family farmed in San Clemente, CA, until World War II broke out.”

“My grandfather Frank moved his family inland during the war to avoid internment when Japanese Americans were forced to relocate from California.”

“Upon settling in Southeastern Idaho in 1943, Wada Farms began growing potatoes on 160 acres of rented ground. My father Albert took over the 400-acre family farm in 1972 and grew the company to what it is today. My older brother Bryan is now company president, my father is chairman, and I’m just proud to be a part of Wada Farms.”

“Being part of a family business gives me somewhat of a unique perspective into both the grower/shipper and sales/marketing aspects of the potato industry. This perspective is used to understand the relationship between the necessity of sustainable grower returns in the face of competitive pricing, generational trends and less than ideal economic realities.”

Wada studied agri-business at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA, and holds a BA in marketing from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI. Chris is married to Cynthia Wada, and they have a 4-year-old son named Kenzo.