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USDA swears in 32 members to Potatoes USA’s Board of Directors

April 3, 2023

image of new board members being sworn in
Alex Caryl from USDA swears in the new Potatoes USA Board members during the Board’s Annual Meeting.

USDA swears in 32 members to Potatoes USA’s Board of Directors

DENVER (April 3, 2023) – On March 14, 2023, the United States Department of Agriculture conducted a swearing-in ceremony for 30 producer members and two importers to join the Potatoes USA Board of Directors during its Annual Meeting.

In a display of commitment to the potato industry, the USDA appointed 16 new members and reappointed 16 members to the Board to serve three-year terms, expiring February 28, 2026. Alex Caryl, Branch Chief of the Market Development Division of the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service’s Specialty Crops Program, officiated the swearing-in ceremony.

The nomination process for Board Members is conducted annually. Candidates are proposed by the industry and are appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture after a thorough review. The 2023 Board showcases an ensemble of 93 members, with representation from growers, importers, and one public member, reflecting the organization’s commitment to a broad spectrum of knowledge and experience in the industry.

The Potatoes USA Board of Directors is the guiding force behind the organization’s efforts to promote and support the potato industry. Tasked with setting strategic goals and objectives, the Board allocates resources to various initiatives such as marketing, research, and education. Additionally, the Board monitors the performance of these programs, adjusting as necessary to ensure their effectiveness and impact for the potato industry, including growers, processors, and other stakeholders.

New Board Members

  • Jim Corneillie, Arizona
  • Trever Belnap, Idaho
  • Ben Josephson, Idaho
  • David Mundt, Idaho
  • Jeff Irving, Maine
  • Eric Makarewicz, Michigan
  • Sander Dagen, Minnesota
  • Tom Nilson, North Dakota
  • Dave Masser, Pennsylvania
  • Rhonda Kleyn, Washington
  • Blake Underwood, Washington
  • Levi Underwood, Washington
  • Jake Wardenaar, Washington
  • Charlie Husnick, Wisconsin
  • John D. Schroeder, Wisconsin
  • Aron Derbidge, Importer Member

Reappointed Members

  • Kamren Koompin, Idaho
  • Ryan Moss, Idaho
  • Andrew Porath, Idaho
  • Justin Searle, Idaho
  • Jennifer Gogan, Maine
  • David Fedje, North Dakota
  • Casey Folson, Minnesota
  • Jess Blatchford, Oregon
  • Troy Sorensen, Nebraska
  • Steve Barrett, Texas
  • Juan Martinez, Washington
  • Dennis Wright, Washington
  • Michael Carter, Wisconsin
  • Josh Knights, Wisconsin
  • Kevin Schleicher, Wisconsin
  • Kathy DeVries-Ruehs, Importer Member


About Potatoes USA
Potatoes USA is the national marketing and promotion board representing U.S. growers and importers. Potatoes USA, the largest vegetable commodity board, was established in 1971 by potato farmers to promote the benefits of eating potatoes. For more information on Potatoes USA’s mission to “Strengthen Demand for Potatoes,” visit

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