Want to Attend PILI? Apply Soon

July 30, 2014   
PILI time is approaching. Growers who are interested in participating in the program need to fill out an application form and return it to the office of the Michigan Potato Industry Commission (MPIC) by Oct. 1.

PILI is the Potato Industry Leadership Institute conducted annually for more than a dozen years by the National Potato Council (NPC) and the U.S. Potato Board (USPB). The aim is to develop leadership skills in the potato industry at the grassroots level so that growers may become increasingly effective in dealing with future state and national challenges.

The next PILI session is scheduled for Feb. 19-26, 2015. Michigan is sponsoring two individuals to participate, all expenses paid by the MPIC.

The participants will spend most of their time in Washington, DC attending various types of training sessions and learning about the inner workings of the federal legislative and regulatory processes. The two Michigan participants will also join other Michigan growers in Capitol Hill meetings with the staffs of the state’s Congressional delegation.

The PILI format also includes a visit each year to a potato-producing area. The 2015 host is the Washington State Potato Commission based at Moses Lake in the vast Columbia Basin east of the Cascade Mountains. Tours are scheduled in the growing, packing and processing area there, and water issues will be a topic of discussion with regulators and irrigation officials. Washington potato production is a dryland industry shifting away from dependence on a declining groundwater resource toward greater reliance on surface water available to irrigation districts through a complex of dams and lakes and canals. The region operates under the western system of water rights.

Briefings on national and international potato issues are on the PILI agenda both in the Washington state and Washington, DC portions of the weeklong event. Participants will also get opportunities to enhance their skills in public speaking and conducting meetings.

PILI has generated strong endorsements from past participants. Both growers and affiliated industry members are eligible for the 2015 PILI. Michigan will submit nominations to a committee run jointly by the NPC and the USPB, which makes the final selections for each state.

Those interested for consideration can access the application form online at NPC Potato Leadership Institute Application A form can also be secured from the NPC by contacting Marie Ruff at marier@nationalpotatocouncil.org.

The completed form must be sent to the MPIC office by Oct. 1. Executive Director Mike Wenkel encourages interest in the 2015 PILI. “It’s a valuable program,” he said. “Our industry has benefited greatly from PILI. Many of our industry leaders have gone through this training and added to their leadership skills.”

He can receive applications by e-mail at mike@mipotato.com or by fax at 517-253-7373 or through regular mail.

The Weekly Potato Report