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NPC Summer Meeting a chance to experience Colorado

Dwayne Weyers, 2017 president of the National Potato Council and principal in Aspen Produce located in Center, CO, said he’s looking forward to the NPC Summer Meeting to be held in Denver June 28-30.

The event will take place at the historic Brown Palace Hotel in downtown Denver, and Weyers said the agenda provides a good opportunity for attendees to get to know the Centennial State.

“I would like everyone who comes to go away with a feeling of what Colorado is about and what it has to offer,” Weyers said recently. “We have a lot of good speakers from Colorado as well as some activities that take in some of the sights of our area.”

Weyers, who has been on the NPC in various capacities since 2000, has spent six years on the executive board, and his officer positions have included vice president of grower relations.

As the council strategizes at the summer meeting for ways to reach industry goals, Weyers talked about some of the biggest issues the organization faces.

“Trade is always a big issue for everyone,” he said. “Also, each aspect of the industry faces the issues of rules and regulations.”

He said how newly confirmed Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue will work with the potato industry “remains to be seen,” and Weyers said the renegotiation or other changes to NAFTA are also a “wait and see” situation.

“We just don’t know if NAFTA will be renegotiated or if it will be done away with a bilateral agreement put in its place. It’s all how it’s written and how they approach trade. Right now there’s a lot of uncertainty, but there’s also optimism,” Weyers said.

The meeting’s agenda includes a general session on June 28 to be opened by Weyers and followed by an address from Colorado Agriculture Commissioner Don Brown entitled “Agriculture in Colorado.” Brown will be followed by Mitch Yergert, director of plants in the Colorado Department of Ag. Yergert will speak on “The Impact of Legalization of Marijuana on Colorado Department of Ag and Colorado Overall.”

The opening session will also include “How Colorado Consumers View Agriculture and Their Food Choices,” featuring Tom Lipetzky, director of marketing programs and strategic initiatives with the Colorado Department of Ag, and Dawn Thilmany McFadden, professor of agribusiness and agribusiness extension economist with Colorado State University.

Keynote speaker at the luncheon that day will be Ajay Menon, Ph.D., dean of college of ag sciences at CSU, and afternoon sessions will feature a look at the Colorado River Water Plan and “The State of the Agricultural Industry, and Then Some.” A tour of Coors Park will cap off the day.

Friday’s activities include a daylong local manufacturing tour that will include International Paper’s plant in nearby Golden, Coors Brewery and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab.