From overalls to suits: The business of potato farming
Wisconsin ranks third in the nation for potato production and includes more than 35,000 jobs in the state. One of the oldest potato growers in the area shared its story with students in the UW-Stevens Point School of Business & Economics on Thursday, Sept. 26. “Exploring Careers in Agri-Business” featured a panel from Bushmans’, Inc. that included Jerry Bushman (founder), Mike Carter (CEO) and John Hopfensperger ’98 (sales).
Located in Rosholt, Wis., Bushmans’ Inc. is the longest continuing potato growing operation in Wisconsin. Bushman has expanded the operation from being a regional farm operation to becoming a leading grower, packager and marketer of potatoes nationwide, including clients such as Red Lobster, Applebee’s and Roundy’s.
The breakdown of potato production in Wisconsin is 50 percent fresh market, 22 percent processed, 19 percent chips industry and 9 percent seed. For every acre of potato crop, 43,000 pounds are produced.
In 1998, Bushman was included in a list of 50 Most Powerful People in the Potato Industry. His abilities to learn how to weather the challenges of a changing market as well as his use of technology and creativity to remain at the top of the industry transfer to any business profession.