CHAPTER VII:
IDAHO® POTATO SHIPPERS BECOME MARKETERS FOR INDUSTRY



Conversely, shippers invested in processing plants to round out their operations, such as Rolland Jones Potatoes in Rupert who built a flake plant in 1966 and another in 1985. Idaho Potato Packers in Blackfoot, Idaho Fresh Pak, Inc., in Lewisville, Larsen of Idaho in Hamer, Idaho Supreme Potatoes in Firth, and Sun Glo of Idaho in Rexburg are all processors who also ship fresh potatoes. Each year, the potato acreage in Idaho became larger, the processing industry's requirements grew, individual fresh shippers did more business, but they became fewer in number.

By the mid-1970s, the trends of more processing activity and a shrinking supply for the fresh market had stabilized somewhat. By the early '90s, both segments of the industry are larger than ever and seem to be permanent partners in the Idaho potato industry. Idaho growers, shippers, and processors all have good reasons for wanting to stay in the business of supplying fresh potatoes to consumers and the foodservice industry.

The shippers that have survived have in a large part become more marketing and merchandising oriented and potatoes in both fresh and processed forms seem to be an integral and permanent part of the American diet. Pacific Rim markets have also been introduced to processed Idaho® potatoes, and the export potential is huge if the acceptance of Western food continues to increase. It would be difficult to pay tribute to all of the people who were responsible for growth, innovation, and changes in the Idaho shipping industry. The Idaho Grower Shippers Association did much to hold the industry together and to pursue the common goals of its members.

Edd Moore, who served as executive manager of the association through the '50s and '60s, kept the organization's attention focused on problems as they developed and provided solutions whenever possible. Upon Moore's retirement in 1973, Meldon B. Anderson took over the organization's reins and served until 1980 when he left to accept the executive manager's job at Potato Growers of Idaho. Anderson was ably replaced by Dave Smith, who in the early '90s still guides the organization's activities.

IGSA has interested itself in the industry's transportation problems and marketing practices and, through the efforts of the capable executive managers, directors, and various committees, accomplished much in upgrading Idaho shipping practices helped establish the Idaho® potato as the number one produce commodity in the nation.

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