Last month, potato growers and industry partners teamed up to launch a new initiative dedicated to growing future leaders.  It’s called The Potato Leadership, Education and Advancement Foundation, or Potato LEAF.  Othello potato farmer Shelley Olsen will chair the new 501(c)3.



“[It] was formed to basically support the Potato Leadership Institute (PLI) program that we’ve had for years in the industry and one of our main supporters basically pulled their funding a couple of years ago, so we had to kind of go out and figure out a new way to long-term fund our leadership program.”


Olsen said it came together as part of a joint effort by the industry’s two largest entities.


“So, Potatoes USA and the National Potato Council came together with this idea to build a foundation and we’ll go and ask our industry to basically, the original goal for the next year or two is to just build an endowment. And, if we can get the endowment at the $2-million level with some annual contributions, if people are willing, we will be able to essentially fund our leadership programs with the interest made from the endowment program. So, then it’s a kind of self-sustaining program.”



Olsen says she’s pleased to see the industry come together on Potato LEAF, dedicated to growing leaders who can thrive in a competitive global marketplace.


“They go through this 10-day program and they end in D.C. at the Fly In. So then, we break these folks up and they go with their state representatives and meet, you know, they go to the House and the Senate and they meet their actual representatives and it is just a really cool experience and it’s a different side of things than being a tourist in D.C. It’s really rewarding and really interesting.”


Click Here for more information on the program.



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