The Empire State Potato Growers Inc. is a nonprofit grower association representing approximately 150 commercial potato growers in New York State.  Our websites include,,,,, and


It is committed to providing information, legislative and research support, grower education and a unified voice for the betterment of New York’s potato industry.


NY growers grow about 20,500 acres of crop for seed, fresh and processing.  New York’s potato growers are 13th in the nation in potato production.

The NY potato industry crop is valued at $65.3 million and production amounts to 5.2 million cwt.

NY growers grow many varieties including round whites, reds, yellows, russets, fingerlings and potato varieties for chips.

Many potato growers in NY grow fresh potatoes. Some producers grow and package their own potatoes. Others grow and sell to others to package them. You can find NY grown fresh potatoes at New York local farmers markets, grocery stores and produce stands.

NY potato farmers also grow potatoes for chips. NY grown potatoes can be found in Wise, Utz, Herr,  Terrells and  Cape Cod potato chip products. Bubbas Chips and North Fork Chips are grown and made by NY farmer/ processors.

The best potatoes are grown from the best seed. NY farmers also produce the highest quality potato seed available.

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The Empire State Potato Growers Inc. annually awards a scholarship for undergraduate students, residing in New York state, pursing college studies benefiting the agricultural industry. All applications will be considered.

It will be provided at the rate of $500 per academic year, for up to 4 consecutive years of undergraduate education. Full-time academic study in the field of agriculture must be pursued.

Selection will be based on the following criteria: Agricultural-related areas of undergraduate study (i.e. Agricultural Engineering, Agronomy, Crop & Soil Sciences, Entomology, Food Sciences, Horticulture, Plant Pathology, Agricultural Economics), academic achievement, leadership abilities and NYS residency.

Anyone in the potato industry should encourage qualified applicants to apply. Completed application forms must be postmarked on or before January 15 to be considered.  Application forms can be downloaded at the ESPG website, or by writing, calling, emailing: Scholarship Fund/ Empire State Potato Growers Inc., PO Box 566, Stanley, NY 14561, 585.526.5356,

The winner will be honored at Empire Farm Days at the Rodman Lott & Son Farms, Seneca Falls. The show is sponsored by the Empire State Potato Growers Inc.



’12 Ryan Willits, Lowville, NY attending SUNY Morrisville State College

’11 Tracee Schiebel, Vernon, NY attending SUNY Cobleskill College

‘10 Jennifer Call,  Batavia, NY attending CALS @ Cornell University

’09 Corey Reed, Adams Center, NY attending CALS @ Cornell University

’08 Emmaline Long, Bergen, NY attending CALS @ Cornell University

’07 Allyson Jones-Brimmer (CALS @ Cornell University

’06 Callin Ayers, Pike, NY attending Alfred State College

’05 Jonathan Mahany, Dansville, NY attending Alfred State College

’05 Betsey Howland, Candor, NY attending CALS @ Cornell University

’04 Ryan Goupil, Chazy, NY attending CALS @ Cornell University

’03 Christopher P. Crandall, Medina, NY attending CALS @ Cornell University

’02 Brandon Kaness, Pavilion, NY attending SUNY Morrisville College

’01 Kristen Keryk, Middleport, NY attending CALS @ Cornell Univeristy

   The grower & industry-funded, ESPG-matched, Potato Research & Development Fund annually accepts proposals for consideration from researchers. The primary goal of any submission must be that it will have a direct, positive impact on the NYS potato industry. A grower-industry technical advisory committee determines distribution of funds. Gary Mahany serves as chairman of the committee.

Deadline for submissions is March 1st. Please send 7 copies of proposal to Chairman Gary Mahany,  8790 Oak Hill Road, Arkport, NY 14807, 607.725.1956, email:

Growers are given the opportunity to voluntarily fund these projects through the annual grower membership fund.  It is suggested that growers contribute a minimum of $2.00 per acre. Interested growers or industry representatives should make checks out to the “Empire State Potato Growers Inc.”, and in the memo line on the check please indicate this check is for the “Research & Development Fund”. ”.  Mail to: Melanie Wickham, Empire State Potato Growers Inc., PO Box 566, Stanley, NY  14561.

Any ides or suggestions for projects should be shared with Gary Mahany or Melanie Wickham, ESPG, (877-NY-SPUDS.)


The grower & industry-funded project focuses on the acceleration of selection and development of improved potato chipping varieties for the NY-PA region. The Eastern potato chipping industry feels there is an urgent need to enhance the development of new potato varieties that are best adapted for our growing, storage and utilization enterprises. 

Grower contributions to continue the fast-track development of chipping varieties, are voluntary. It is suggested that growers contribute a minimum of $2.50 per acre and processors will provide 0.5 cents /cwt utilized in the NY-PA region.

Chris Hansen is chairman of this committee and can be reached at 585.322.7274 or email at  A grower-processor technical advisory committee determines distribution of funds, with the goal of providing a relatively stable funding source for desirable potato improvement projects such as breeding and variety development. 

Interested growers or processors should make checks out to the “Empire State Potato Growers Inc.”, and in the memo line on the check please indicate this check is for the “Potato Variety Development Fund”.  Mail to: Melanie Wickham, Empire State Potato Growers Inc., PO Box 566, Stanley, NY  14561.



Given to individual who:

·         Has a history of making a positive difference within the agriculture community;

·         Is a faithful and steadfast supporter and contributor to the long-term success and improvement of the NY potato industry;

·         Is or has been involved in the industry on a local, state, national and/ or international level.


·         Will be accepted from grower members and associate members;

·         ESPG Awards Committee will review the nominations;

·         Majority vote among the committee results in a recommendation to the ESPG Board of Directors;

·         ESPG BOD makes the final determination with a majority vote of its members.

The winner will be invited to receive their award at the Empire State Producers Expo, Potato Day and also be given the opportunity to be recognized at the Ag Leadership Luncheon at EFD. A visual presentation will be prepared and shown at the where appropriate.


The Potato Goodness Unearthed website is filled with information for CONSUMERS, FOOD SERVICE PROVIDERS, HEALTH EDUCATORS, KIDS, MEDIA, FOOD INDUSTRY and more. It is stocked full of recipes, nutritional information, trivia, videos, and everything potatoes.



Cultivating Future Leaders: The Potato Industry Leadership Institute (PILI) provides tools to grow as leaders and motivates growers to commit their time and energy to the betterment of the potato industry. The Leadership Institute is an eight-day program that provides an overview of the potato industry, the challenges and issues beyond the production sector, and the roles of the industry's state and national organizations in maintaining a positive business climate for potato growers.

This Leadership Institute takes participants to a growing region to conduct in-depth discussions with upper management on key industry issues, and then concludes in Washington D.C. for an overview of public policy issues and lobbying training.

Institute graduates are one of the industry's greatest assets. Participants develop a broad understanding of the industry and a common bond that is envisioned to be a wellspring of leadership for the industry. Many important and complex decisions lie ahead for the industry. By creating this leadership base today, the industry is investing wisely in its future.

NY potato growers are encouraged to participate in this innovative leadership program. For more information contact Melanie Wickham, Executive Director, or visit


Seed Potato Certification In New York: Alan Westra, Manager, Cornell University, 103C Leland Lab, Ithaca, NY 14853, 607.255/9869, Email:

The primary objectives of seed potato certification are to maintain and make available to the public dependable sources of top quality seed. The New York Certification program, which originated in 1913, represents a voluntary agreement between the seed grower and the certifying agency. The NYS College of Agriculture & Life Sciences (CALS) at Cornell University, designated by the Commissioner of Agriculture as the official seed certifying agency in the state of New York, works in cooperation with the NYS Department of Agriculture & Markets in carrying out the objectives of seed certification. Seed growers are members of the NY Seed Improvement Cooperative, Inc. Program administration and recordkeeping are conducted by the New York Seed Improvement Project in CALS’ Plant Breeding and Genetics Department.



This chipping potato grower group meets annually to discuss issues of importance to the NY potato chip industry. They are a group of growers dedicated to offering quality chipping potatoes and same day delivery. Contact: Jim McCormick, 585.322.7274 or email at



The National Potato Council is the advocate for the economic well-being of US potato growers on federal legislative, regulatory, environmental, and trade issues. It is an agricultural organization that partners with the Empire State Potato Growers Inc to represent New York potato growers on a national level.

Formed in 1948, it is currently located in Washington, DC. working for the 45,000 US potato growers. Representatives from every large potato producing area (including NY) are named to serve on the NPC Board of Directors who meet periodically to consider the potato problems and make recommendations for their improvement. Finances are provided by state potato organizations that collect dues, or quotas, from individual growers.

NPC is committed to providing a unified voice for the U.S. potato industry on national legislative, regulatory, environmental, and trade issues to promote the increased profitability for growers and greater consumption of potatoes. NPC has been highly successful in representing the diverse interests of U.S. potato producers and plays a significant role influencing policy that directly affects the U.S. grower's ability to compete both domestically and globally.

John Keeling, Executive Vice President & CEO, 1300 L Street NW, Suite 910, Washington, DC 20005, 202.682.9456, Email:, Website:



The United States Potato Board (USPB) is the nation’s potato marketing and research organization. It is an agricultural organization that partners with the Empire State Potato Growers Inc to represent New York potato growers on a national level. Based in Denver, Colorado, the USPB represents more than 2,500 potato growers and handlers across the country. The USPB was established in 1971 by a group of potato growers to promote the benefits of eating potatoes. Today, as the largest vegetable commodity board, the USPB is proud to be recognized as an innovator in the produce industry.

Anchored by a strong foundation of market and consumer research and analysis, the USPB domestic and international potato marketing programs include:  advertising, nutrition science, public relations, retail and foodservice marketing, and issues management.  Whether the potato is grown for fresh, frozen, chip, dehydrated or seed use, the USPB is dedicated to positioning potatoes as a nutrition powerhouse—truly, goodness unearthed.

Tim O’Connor-President & CEO, 7555 E. Hampden Ave #412, Denver, Colorado 80231, 303.369.7783, Email:, website



The PAA is the official society for those interested in advancing the potato industry globally.


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