Representatives of the Potato Growers of Alberta and Potato Growers of Idaho conversed freely, discussing matters of mutual concern and irritation at the annual PGI meeting held in Boise, ID, Dec. 5-7
The Canadian growers, invited to the meeting to help understanding and sooth relations, explained their challenges to the Idaho growers. Idaho growers then turned the tables. Questions revolved around marketing, cost-of-production, and the fact Idaho seed cannot go into Alberta but the opposite is true for Canadian seed.
Ty Lund, Alberta provincial minister of agriculture, led off the discussion by explaining how alike the two growing areas are and how better relationships are needed for mutual challenges.
Canadian growers are very upset that a consortium of southern Idaho growers has formed a joint venture with Lamb-Weston and moved into Alberta to grow potatoes for the huge processor. They are taking rental acres away from Canadian growers and will reportedly receive better benefits than local growers.
Idaho growers are upset that there is whole-scale expansion going on in Canada and it is impacting production and contracting of processed potatoes in Idaho. They are also concerned about the dollar exchange rate.