DENVER (March 22, 2012)—Chris Wada of Idaho Falls, ID, was seated as a Board Member on the United States Potato Board (USPB) at the organization’s 40th Annual Meeting, March 15-16, in Colorado Springs, CO. He was named to serve on the Board by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on February 6, 2012, for a three-year term ending February 28, 2015. New Board Members serving on the USPB in their first three-year term can be reappointed to serve a second consecutive three-year term.
Wada is the youngest son of Albert Wada, and has been involved in the potato business his entire life. After an eight-year leave for college and other employment, he returned to the family business and joined the sales and marketing office at Wada Farms. He has now been working in this department for over four years. “My duties include a wide variety of things with a focus on product development, promotions, sales, shopper insights and related activities,” he said.
Based in Idaho, the Wada family has been growing Idaho Russet potatoes since 1943, and has recently started growing Reds, Yellows and Red-Skinned, Yellow-Fleshed varieties also. Wada Farms is primarily a table-stock producer. “The Wada Family farmed in San Clemente, CA, until World War II broke out,” Wada explains. “My grandfather Frank moved his family inland during the war to avoid internment when Japanese Americans were forced to relocate from California.
“Upon settling in Southeastern Idaho in 1943, Wada Farms began growing potatoes on 160 acres of rented ground. My father Albert took over the 400 acre family farm in 1972 and grew the company to what it is today. My older brother Bryan is now president, my father is chairman, and I’m just proud to be a part of Wada Farms.
“Being part of a family business gives me somewhat of a unique perspective into both the grower/shipper and sales/marketing aspects of the potato industry. This perspective is used to understand the relationship between the necessity of sustainable grower returns in the face of competitive pricing and less than ideal economic realities.”
Wada studied agri-business at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA, and holds a BA in marketing from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI. He is involved in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. He is married to Cynthia Wada, and they are expecting their first child in June 2012.
Chris Wada was confirmed with fellow New and Re-Nominated USPB Board Members by Patricia Petrella, USDA-AMS Marketing Specialist, Fruit and Vegetable Programs (right side podium)at the 40th USPB Annual Meeting, Thursday, March 15, 2012, at The Broadmoor Hotel, Colorado Springs, CO. Bob Keeney, USDA-AMS Deputy Administrator, Fruit and Vegetable Programs (second from left), also welcomed and approved the confirmation of the new and returning USPB Board Members.
Authorized under the 1971 Potato Research and Promotion Act, the USPB is composed of producers, importers and a public member appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture. Producer members are nominated at state and local producer meetings and by mail ballot. Each state is entitled to at least one producer member, and additional members are allotted on the basis of the volume of production. Importer members are nominated by importers, and the number of members is related to the volume of imports, up to a maximum of five importer members.
The USPB administers an industry-funded national research and promotion program to increase US exports and domestic potato consumption. USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service oversees the operations of the USPB. More information about the research and promotion programs is available at www.ams.usda.gov/FVPromotion.
For more information on the USPB as the nation’s potato marketing organization, positioned as the “catalyst for positive change,” and the central organizing force in implementing programs that will increase demand for potatoes, please visit www.uspotatoes.com.