History

Overview

Established in 1956, the Commission has the legislated authority to collect assessments from growers to pursue its mission on behalf of Washington potato growers. The Commission is governed by fifteen Commissioners who serve three-year, rotating terms. A staff of eight operates the Moses Lake office.   


Historical Events


Potato men to finance advertising drive as Langlie vetoes commission
 - Columbia Basin Herald, March 25, 1949

Blocked by Gov. Arthur B. Langlie in their campaign for a state commission, Washington potato growers this week dug down in their pockets to finance an advertising program, something they had hoped a commission would do. Read more

Potato Men Vote on Marketing Agreement - Columbia Basin Herald, August 19, 1949

Grant County’s 155 potato growers, along with some 1,200 others throughout Washington were deciding this week on a proposed marketing agreement under which they could control the sale of surplus crops and maintain steadier prices. Read more

Three Generations Have Grown Double-N Potatoes in Skagit Valley

Norm Nelson grew up on a farm in Skagit Valley near Burlington, Washington. His father’s farm wasn’t large enough to support all of the three brothers once they were old enough to farm on their own. As a result, each one started his own operation. Read more

Early research on raising potatoes in Washington originates at WSU

Research is one of the basic reasons the Washington State Potato Commission was founded in 1956. The Commission worked closely with Washington State College, which later became Washington State University. Read more

Potato Wars: Interstate Rivalry Sometimes Friendly, Sometimes Not

A 1976 Associated Press story documents the great potato war of words between Idaho and Washington. Washington assistant attorney general questioned Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus in federal court about the Idaho Potato Commission advertising for which Andrus was the chief spokesman. Read more

Washington and Oregon Potato Industry Working to Open Japanese Chip Market - January 3, 2001

MOSES LAKE, WA--The Washington State Potato Commission and the Oregon Potato Commission are working cooperatively with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) to open the market in Japan for Washington and Oregon chip potatoes. Officials of the two commissions recently returned from Japan with confidence that Japanese trade barriers on Washington, Oregon and U.S. chip potatoes won't be permanent if the two commissions can work through some quarantine issues. Read more


Historical People


Walter LePage: Longest Serving Commissioner

“The main thing that got it going was the increase in potato acreage because of all the new growers by 1956,” Walter LePage said, speaking of the Washington State Potato Commission. “The water from the Columbia Basin Project helped to increase the acreage, and we needed help in marketing the potatoes and also in research to help with some of the growing problems.” Read more

Ed McKay: Potato and Commission Pioneer

Ed McKay was an original member of the Washington State Potato Commission. He grew potatoes in Prosser and then in the Columbia Basin near Othello. Read more

First Washington Potato Queen: Jeanette Kelly Burk

The first organization meeting of the Washington State Potato Commission had not been held yet, but the potato men of the state felt the need for a little public relations through the election of a princess or a queen. After all, some of the other crop associations had a princess or a queen, as did the various festivals around the Pacific Northwest, such as the Washington State Apple Blossom Festival Queen in Wenatchee, the Rose Festival Queen in Portland, Oregon and the Lilac Festival Queen in Spokane. Read more


Historical Radio Commercials
 

You must install Adobe Flash to view this content.
You must install Adobe Flash to view this content.
You must install Adobe Flash to view this content.
You must install Adobe Flash to view this content.
You must install Adobe Flash to view this content.
You must install Adobe Flash to view this content.