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    Wada Farms, Farm Fresh Direct Form Joint Potato Marketing Organization

    Mac Johnson, USPB's well known v.p., will head up the new venture as president and c.e.o.

    Wada Farms Marketing Group, LLC and Farm Fresh Direct, LLC are partnering to form a joint venture marketing organization -- Category Partners, LLC -- designed to better enable the two major potato suppliers to support the changing needs of retailers, foodservice operators, wholesalers, and consumers.

    "We will continue to operate our businesses and sales offices as separate entities," said Bob Meek, c.e.o. of of Idaho Falls, Id.-based Wada Farms. "But we are seeing a real need to provide value-add services to our customers beyond great products, and felt we had to add a higher level of marketing to effectively compete in today's changing environment."

    "While we are two separate businesses, both our organizations saw an opportunity to improve our category management, and marketing approaches to support our customers" added Jim Knutzon, president of Monte Vista, Col.-based Farm Fresh. "And in today's economy it didn't make sense for both of us to build an infrastructure to meet those needs."

    To that end, Category Partners will focus on category management, innovative products and packaging, and promotion, all with a consumer focus.

    Mac Johnson, most recently v.p./domestic marketing for the United States Potato Board, will head up the new venture as president and c.e.o. Johnson has been at the Potato Board for eight years directing its retail, chip, research and innovation programs. Prior to that, Johnson held senior marketing positions at Tom's Foods, General Mills, Beatrice Foods, and Ketchum Advertising.

    Category Partners, LLC will be headquartered in Denver.

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