Representatives from six potato-producing states will head to Washington, DC, Monday, Nov. 20, to meet with Mike Dunn, USDA Assistant Secretary of Marketing and Regulatory Programs, about this year’s bumper crop.
Association representatives from Idaho, Oregon, California, Colorado, Wisconsin and Maine will sit down with Dunn, explain the over-production problem and seek a possible diversion program.
According to Potato Growers of Idaho, there appears to be strong support among growers from throughout the United States for a program that could help divert this year’s record potato crop of 463.4 million cwt.
This record crop is 32.1 million cwt more than the ’99 crop. The crop also surpasses the previous record crop of 1996 by 7.8 million cwt.
PGI says a perception has been created that increased acreage was the reason for the increase. “But acreage is only one small piece of a complicated puzzle,” PGI stated in a news release issued today.
For example, in 1990 Idaho growers planted 403,000 acres and harvested a crop with an average yield of 295 cwt per acre. This year there were 413,000 acres—only a 2.5 percent increase—but because of an exceptional growing season yield topped out at 369 cwt per acre.
PGI believes because the role of government is well established in administering relief and moderating the effects of disasters that this oversupply in Idaho and the nation is a disaster.
PGI encouraged growers to contact their congressional representatives to support the diversion program.