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Dan Sleaford from Weaver Popcorn, which has a major popcorn production facility just outside of Forest City, says he looks forward to advocating for popcorn as he joins the U.S. national USDA Popcorn Board. The board works to promote and expand markets for popcorn products across the world.

Sleaford oversees the planting and development of popcorn as the Production Manager for Weaver Popcorn. The Manito resident has been employed for 29 years by Weaver Popcorn. He works with farmers from Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri and Nebraska who grow popcorn for the company.

Weaver Popcorn was founded in 1928, sells its products in 90 countries. This family-owned company is based in Forest City, Indiana with a 21-acre processing and packaging facility. Forest City is located in Mason County, the No. 1 popcorn-producing county in the United States. Illinois is annually among the top three or four popcorn-producing states in the U.S. In 2016, Mason County was the largest producer of popcorn in the country.

Sleaford has a new year-round connection to popcorn. He was appointed to the five-member national Popcorn Board for a three-year term by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. The board’s first quarterly meeting will be in March in Chicago.

The Chicago-based board oversees a not-for-profit organization of the same name funded by U.S. popcorn producers that has goals of raising awareness of popcorn as a versatile, whole-grain snack, and maintaining and expanding existing markets and developing new markets for popcorn and popcorn products.

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