(Dec. 5) The Blackfoot-based Potato Growers of Idaho made official its downsizing and elected a new slate of officers.

At the group’s Nov. 14 All Grower Meeting, members ratified the new role for the organization, said Keith Esplin, executive director.

Members voted July 16 to transfer most association duties to the Eagle-based Idaho Potato Commission.

The merger is expected to reduce grower assessments and increase efficiencies without compromising growers' representation on legislative and regulatory issues, Esplin said.

The new version of the association will focus on the maintenance of a political action committee and membership in Grower's National Cooperative, a grower-owned co-op providing benefits to association members.

Because of its status as a state agency, the Idaho Potato Commission cannot form political action committees. The bulk of the work formerly done by Potato Growers of Idaho will be handled by a new commission committee, the Agricultural Affairs committee.

The association most likely will meet a few times per year, Esplin said.

Also at the Nov. 14 meeting, association members selected Ray Tominaga as board president; James Hoff, vice president; Willie Heward, secretary/treasurer; and Paris Penfold and Kamren Koompin, members.

Esplin will stay with the organization on a contract basis, he said. Esplin has started his own consulting business, Blackfoot-based Keith Esplin Management Services.