Apr 16, 2024 - News

Why Virginia has a Potato Board

Animated gif of potatoes at a boardroom table with one saying "spud, spud, spud!" and another responding with "spud"

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Last week, Gov. Youngkin signed a bill lowering the membership of Virginia's Potato Board from seven to five people.

Why it matters: It's a reminder that there's a state board dedicated to all things potatoes, complete with a Potato Fund to advertise and research them.

The big picture: The Board was established in 1994 via proclamation after growers voted to tax themselves and use that money to promote Virginia potatoes.

  • The goal was to compete with North Carolina and Delaware, which have promoted their potatoes so much that they've taken business from Virginia, per the Virginia Potato Board's annual report last year.

Yes, but: Potato lovers — whether it be of baked, French fry, tater tot, Virginia's Route 11 chips or mashed spuds — aren't eligible for the Board if they're not potato producers.

Fun fact: Former President Donald Trump came after Gov. Ralph Northam in 2020 by accusing him of undermining Second Amendment rights and leaving "no one guarding your potatoes."

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