Idaho Looks at Buyout, Diversion

Published online: Dec 08, 2000
Potato Growers of Idaho agreed to pursue government buyout of potatoes/products through its foods surplus purchase programs and to also continue to explore the possibilities of a self-help diversion program for up to 15 million cwt of potatoes.

At the group's annual meeting held in Boise, ID, Dec. 5-7, a proposal was made and approved by all growers to seek government help in removing what product it can through its regular food-surplus school lunch, military and international charitable programs.

In addition, a proposal to form a legal entity and seek voluntary cooperation of Idaho growers, first, and then other fresh growers throughout the country would be made. This effort would be focused on removing from 10 to 15 million cwt of potatoes in hopes of getting upward price movement in the glutted market.

PGI will host a meeting of all growers on Tuesday, Dec. 19, in Idaho Falls, ID, beginning at 2 p.m. at the University Place Auditorium on Science Center Drive to explain the self-help, non-governmental diversion program.

PGI growers agreed it would be "too little too late" to wait for any form of government diversion program. Growers expressed opinions that because Idaho is responsible for a great percentage of the over-production, that it take the lead in promoting a nation-wide self-help diversion program.

Details of the plan are to be finalized for the Dec. 19 meeting so they can be clearly explained. Growers understanding the urgent need for immediate action to help market the 2000 crop will seek authorization at the meeting to proceed. "If we don't do something, we all know where we'll end up," Mike Telford, Paul, ID, grower said.