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Looking to the Future at the Prince Edward Island Potato Board Annual Meeting

(CHARLOTTETOWN, PE - November 19th, 2012) The Prince Edward Island Potato Board held its Annual General Meeting on Friday, November 16th, 2012 to a full room at the Delta Prince Edward Hotel in Charlottetown. Island potato growers and industry partners were informed by Board Chairman Gary Linkletter that the year ending June 30th, 2012 was a positive one for the industry. Coordinating research efforts between the Board, government, and other industry partners will be a priority for the next year, with consultation meetings with producers on research priorities and funding planned for early in 2013. 

In addition to the annual business meeting, potato growers and industry partners heard from a range of guest speakers in the morning and afternoon. These speakers addressed a variety of topics, including the state of the potato industry in PEI, Canada, and the United States, food safety and traceability, regulatory changes affecting Island growers, examining the retail climate in Canada and the Northeast United States, and defining a new brand identity for Prince Edward Island Potatoes.

A highlight of the day was a keynote address by Bob Treadway of San Diego, California, a futurist who advises anumber of Fortune 500 companies and agricultural businesses in North America. Mr. Treadway gave a packed lunchtime crowd a glimpse at the future through identifying a number of trends which will affect agriculture in the years to come. He highlighted the ongoing need to feed the world, changing world demographics and economic realities, and the opportunities that potato producers of all sizes have to adapt to a changing marketplace. Mr. Treadway was able to address Island growers through the assistance of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

Another distinguished guest speaker in the afternoon session was Barbara Hunt, Quality Assurance Manager with Wendy’s International of Dublin, Ohio who spoke on the importance placed on food safety by Wendy’s Restaurants and the position held by Prince Edward Island Potatoes in their supply chain. The Hon. Gail Shea, Minister of National Revenue and MP for Egmont, brought greetings from the Government of Canada, while the Hon. George Webster, Minister of Agriculture and Foresty, brought greetings from the Government of Prince Edward Island.

Following the afternoon of speakers, a draw was held for a $5000 prize voucher donated by Kensington Agricultural Services and New Holland. The winner of the voucher, drawn by 2012 Potato Ambassador Meghan Ellis, was Jason Webster of Middleton.

The awards banquet held in the evening provided an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of another successful year as well as to thank those who have made significant contributions to the industry. Certificates of appreciation were presented by Chairman Gary Linkletter to retiring Board members Wayne Diamond of Winsloe, Boyd Rose of North Lake, and Harris Callaghan of St. Louis. David MacSwain was presented with the PEI Potato Industry Appreciation Award in recognition of his contributions to the potato industry during his time as Regional Program Officer for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, as well as his continuing involvement in the industry through Potatoes Canada.

The Prince Edward Island Potato Board wishes to thank the many sponsors whose contributions helped to ensure a very successful Annual Meeting.

The potato industry is the single largest economic driver of the agriculture industry on Prince Edward Island, worth over one billion dollars to the Prince Edward Island economy each year. Prince Edward Island is also the largest potato-producing province in Canada. The Prince Edward Island Potato Board represents Island potato growers and assists in growing the market for PEI Potatoes locally, nationally, and internationally.

For more information on this release or for high resolution copies of photos, please contact Ryan Barrett, PEI Potato Board Communications Officer, at (902) 892-6551 or ryan@peipotato.org.

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND POTATO BOARD 
90 Hillstrom Avenue, West Royalty Business Park Charlottetown, PEI CANADA C1E 2C6 
Ph: 902-892-6551 Fax: 902-566-4914
Email: potato@peipotato.org Web: www.peipotato.org