DENVER (March 22, 2011)— As a United States Potato Board (USPB) Chairman, Cheryl Koompin of American Falls, ID, had an effective year leading grower meetings and traveling across the United States to give presentations and listen to the issues and concerns from the industry. “I feel like I’ve been on the USPB for a dozen or more years because of attending all of the meetings with my husband, Klaren, when he was serving as a Board Member,” she said. “I am very appreciative of this organization, and I value the experience and perspectives each Board Member brings from their diverse backgrounds.”
During her chairmanship in 2010/2011, Koompin oversaw the planning process for the new Long Range Plan (LRP) for 2012-2016, and encouraged all Board Members to provide input and become engaged in the process of its development. “The involvement of all Board Members—not just those serving on the Executive or Administrative Committees—has been important, and I consistently looked to all of the Board Members, industry sectors and the USPB staff, for direction,” she explains.
Prior to her election to USPB Chairman, Koompin completed three years as the Co-Chairman of the USPB International Marketing Committee. Before her election to the USPB by fellow Idaho constituents in 2005, Koompin became involved in USPB programs by traveling to West Africa to help with a USPB International Food Aid Initiative project, teaching Senegalese people to prepare US dehydrated potatoes.
This experience sparked a passion in Koompin. As she began her first term, she immediately began serving on the International Marketing Committee, continuing her involvement in the food aid program, including another training mission in one of the least-developed, food-deficit countries in the world, Burkina Faso. “I have a great passion for the USPB’s International Marketing Programs,” she said, “especially those which emphasize the introduction of our wholesome, life-sustaining dehydrated potato products into food-aid efforts around the world.”
Although Koompin’s focus has been predominately international, she is very impressed with all the USPB programs and strategies and how they are developed by a professional staff that listens to input from the industry. “I appreciate the time and effort the staff puts in and how their different committees work together for the benefit of all segments of the US potato industry,” she said.
Koompin’s involvement in farming began in 1974, just after she married Klaren. He and his brother, Ken, partnered in the operation of Koompin Farms. In 1964, it was an 80-acre operation. Today, they farm over 12,000 acres, including 3,400 acres of commercial and seed potatoes, with rotations of sweet corn, feed corn, fresh peas, wheat, safflower and hot mustard. They are also partners in a compost operation.
Klaren served on the USPB during 1996-2002, and was on both the Executive and Administrative Committees. He is the Vice President of Grower Relations for the National Potato Council (NPC). The Koompins have two sons, Kamren and Kael, who have formed their own general partnership within Koompin Farms.
Koompin is now serving as the USPB Immediate Past Chairman. Todd Michael of Urbana, OH, was unanimously elected as the new USPB Chairman on Friday, March 11, 2011. He was most recently USPB Co-Chairman of the Domestic Marketing Committee.