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Record Breaking Potato Expo 2020 Focuses Industry on the Future

Record Breaking Potato Expo 2020 Focuses Industry on the Future

Potato Expo 2020 Steering Committee members cut the ribbon opening the 90,000 sq ft Expo Hall.

January 17, 2020
From Jan. 14 through 15, more than 2,000 U.S. potato growers and industry members from a dozen countries turned out for Potato Expo 2020 at The Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, to do business and prepare their operations for the future.

Record breaking attendance

Now in its 12th year, the annual Potato Expo has become the largest meeting of its kind in North America. The Potato Expo 2020 broke previous records with 2,019 attendees and 189 exhibitors covering more than 90,000 square feet in the Expo Hall.

Cully Easterday and Dan Moss, Potato Expo 2020 co-chairs:

“Though it started as a relatively small gathering of folks 12 years ago, this year’s record breaking event is evidence that Potato Expo has evolved to become the place for North American potato growers and value chain members to come together, share ideas, and do business.”

“However, the Potato Expo isn’t about numbers – it’s about experiences. And this year we were pleased to offer the industry some new, unique opportunities to learn and grow their businesses.”

Fostering networking and collaboration

For the first time, the 2020 Expo Hall provided attendees with spaces specifically dedicated to networking, with five Meet-Up Lounges to have a conversation and recharge, as well as a coffee bar that was open throughout the show. The Expo Hall also featured a stage for 'The Potato Talks', a center of activity featuring engaging discussions and entertainment all centered around potatoes and potato production.

Potato Expo serves as a forum to foster collaboration between national and state potato associations, as well as the rest of the industry. Maintaining its reputation as a place to help better position the industry for the future, the Potato Expo 2020 addressed many pressing issues from evolving consumer trends to disruptions in agribusiness.

Technology and digital expert Erik Qualman discussed the habits that effective leaders use to thrive in today’s digital era. Mike Lee, co-founder and co-CEO of Alpha Food Labs and founder of The Future Market, shared his perspective on consumer behaviors that are shaping the future of food. David Parker, executive vice president of FLM Harvest, described current agribusiness trends and disruptors, and their implications on the future.

Spud Nation Throwdown chef cook-off

The fifth annual Spud Nation Throwdown chef cook-off, hosted by award-winning chef and best-selling author Chef Jeff Henderson, brought together an exciting fusion of tastes and flavors as a diverse group of chefs incorporated potatoes into their dishes.

The Throwdown included Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill Las Vegas’ Chef Daniel Stramm, Chef Robert 'Stew' Stewart from the OWN Network’s 'Raising Whitley' and Food Network's 'Guy’s Grocery Games' and 'Cutthroat Kitchen,' and winner of Season 3 of 'Hell's Kitchen' on FOX, Chef Rock Harper.

The Throwdown was won by Chef Harper with his dish featuring Patatas Bravas.

'Eye on Potatoes' podcast

The National Potato Council, the Potato Expo’s organizer, used the event to announce the launch of its new podcast, 'Eye on Potatoes'. The podcast, available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts, provides a platform for growers throughout the country and policy makers in Washington to learn about the industry policy priorities and hear from growers and experts on the latest issues affecting the industry.

The National Potato Council took advantage of having diverse industry voices all in one place to record upcoming episodes of its new podcast, 'Eye on Potatoes'.


Potato LEAF

The event also served as platform to announce the creation of a new organization dedicated to growing future leaders who grow potatoes.

The Potato Leadership, Education, and Advancement Foundation (LEAF), a 501(c)3 organization, was launched by the industry as a way to provide tools, training, and support necessary to help growers and industry members develop as leaders.

The Foundation also serves to encourage members to commit their time and energy to the betterment of the U.S. potato industry as a whole.
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The National Potato Council is looking after the interest of the potato growers in the United States. The NPC website provides information on potato history, potato cultivation, potato statistics and US state potato organisations
The Potato Leadership, Education, and Advancement Foundation (LEAF) is a 501(c)3 (US non-profit) organization, created to provide tools, training, and support necessary to develop growers and industry members as leaders.
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