NPC’s annual EPA-USDA Farm Tour allows federal regulators the opportunity to meet with growers face-to-face to better understand how their decisions have real-world implications on family farms.
In July 2023, NPC partnered with the Washington State Potato Commission (WSPC) to host its annual Agency Farm Tour in Washington’s Columbia Basin for USDA and EPA staff.
The annual tour is designed to strengthen the relationship between agency staff and the U.S. potato growing community and educate agency participants on commercial potato production practices, including the real-world use of federally regulated pesticides and Integrated Pest Management. Growers also provide demonstrations on safe handling and proper use of pesticides and the various pieces of equipment used in pest management.
Tour stops focused on the use of potato production technologies, including demonstrations of seed treatment, irrigation-mounted imaging cameras, drone and see-and-spray cameras, fumigation and chemigation equipment, and monitoring devices and models.
Participants included staff from EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) and USDA’s Office of Pest Management Policy (OPMP).
“This was one of the most educational crop tour experiences I’ve ever had. Even though I’ve only been back at work a few hours, I’ve already been having engaging conversations with other staff at OPP about my experience, and believe that what I’ve learned will help me be much more aware of the kinds of issues that potato growers deal with. Thanks so much to you, [Washington State Potato Commission staff], the growers, and [Washington State University] staff that made this experience so rewarding!”2023 Agency Tour Participant
“It was a pleasure being able to interact with staff from OPP and OPMP and share with them the complexities of producing a high-quality, high-cost potato crop for U.S. consumers and consumers around the globe in an environmentally friendly manner in my community and on my farm operation,” said Grant Morris, Washington state potato grower and member of NPC’s Environmental Affairs Committee.
The annual event is hosted by the National Potato Council and sponsored by Potatoes USA.