Idaho potato growers will convene in Sun Valley Aug. 31-Sept. 2 for the annual Idaho Grower Shipper Association conference. The annual event includes sessions on marketing, pack sizes and food safety.
Idaho potato growers will convene in Sun Valley Aug. 31-Sept. 2 for the annual Idaho Grower Shipper Association conference. The annual event includes sessions on marketing, pack sizes and food safety.

Whether to increase the minimum pack size of potatoes is just one of the topics on the agenda for the 83rd annual Idaho Grower Shippers Association convention Aug. 31-Sept. 2 at Sun Valley.

The Idaho Potato Commission has been researching the possible increase in pack size from the current 4 ounces to 5 ounces for the past eight months. Frank Muir, IPC president, will present the findings of that research during a workshop at 4 p.m. Aug. 31.

The controversial change has generated concern among a number of grower/shippers who say it will mean a big increase in the number of potatoes going to processing plants, rather than being sold fresh. The change was discussed at meetings in November 2010.

Travis Blacker, IGSA president, said in a convention announcement that strong opinions were expressed during the November meetings in Burley and Idaho Falls. At that time the IPC stepped up and offered to pay for research projects on the topic.

“I was amazed with the amount of detail that these researchers went through on our behalf,” Blacker wrote in the IGSA convention notice.

Another subject scheduled to be covered during the IGSA convention is the question of whether to increase the size of the Idaho shield logo on 5-pound and larger bags. Muir will also provide information on that topic.

Other speakers scheduled to present at the convention include Tom Stenzel, president of the Washington D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association.

As usual, the convention will feature details about the coming year’s promotion and advertising campaign by the Idaho Potato Commission.

Other convention workshops will cover GAP, transportation, food safety and what the country’s new health care legislation will mean for employers of workers in packing sheds and processing plants.