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Idaho Potato Commission's new hire, promotions

The Idaho Potato Commission recently announced the addition of Sam Eaton as the new vice president of legal and government affairs. Additionally, industry veteran Travis Blacker was promoted to vice president of industry relations and research, and Ross Johnson has been promoted to vice president of retail and international.

Eaton is the former director of policy and counsel for Gov. Brad Little of Idaho will primarily manage the IPC’s government affairs at the federal, state and local levels, direct the IPC’s trademark licensing, and provide legal and regulatory advice to the commission.

“Sam’s experience in working with legislative and executive officials, as well as Idaho’s biggest organizations, including commodity groups, has already proven to be extremely beneficial in the few months he’s been on board,” said Jamey Higham, president and CEO of IPC. “Sam’s expertise and enthusiasm will greatly contribute to the IPC’s ongoing commitment to strengthening the Idaho potato brand and building a strong and unified industry.” 

As director of policy and counsel for Gov. Little, Eaton managed and coordinated agency policies and priorities for the governor. He also provided policy and legal advice to the governor on agriculture, energy and natural resource issues. Prior to that, Eaton served as legal counsel in the office of Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter.

Eaton received his undergraduate degree from Gonzaga University and his law degree from the University of Idaho. He lives in Boise with his wife and two young daughters.

Blacker has been with the IPC since 2012 building and developing relationships between the IPC and all industry members: growers, shippers and processors. He has worked very closely with the University of Idaho and other industry leaders on many research programs, including ways to improve and increase crop production. Prior to joining the IPC, Blacker was president of the Idaho Grower Shippers Association.

Previously the director of retail and international, Johnson now directly manages all the IPC’s retail advertising and promotions, including Potato Lover’s Month. On the international front, Johnson will oversee all global projects, including generating demand and sales for Idaho potatoes in 23 countries and mining new opportunities around the world.

“We’ve got a solid team of very talented folks in the Eagle office who are all committed to building the Idaho potato brand,” said Higham. “Guided by the leadership of these three gentlemen, we’re poised for a very successful year.”

Photo: Sam Eaton

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