Extremely cold weather in eastern Idaho has slowed the Potato Management Company potato diversion program.
John Thompson, communications director of the Potato Growers of Idaho, said growers have told him they are very concerned about opening the doors to their storages in below-zero or single-digit temperatures.
"This is something we did not contemplate," Thompson said. Most storages are held between 35-40 degrees F unless they are going to fryers.
Growers have committed nearly 5 million cwt to alternative uses-including food banks. Thompson says by next week the PMC hopes to have 2 million cwt taken from storages. Most is going on fields to be tilled under as fertilizer. However, Second Harvest and other food-bank entities will take a large volume of potatoes.
A media event to show the first load for charity being taken out of the Blackfoot, ID, area was postponed last Friday when a snowstorm closed many highways and made travel difficult.