Potato growers in Washington and Oregon met today at the DoubleTree Hotel in Pasco, WA, to hear the potato diversion plan from the Potato Management Company.
The meeting is the third in a series of seven that will be held before the cut-off deadline of Jan. 15 at which time the program will move forward or be disbanded.
Other meetings are planned for Airport restaurant, Pocatello, ID, Jan. 8 at 10 a.m.; Burley Inn, Burley, ID, Jan. 10, 2 p.m.; Cotton Tree Inn, Rexburg, ID, Jan. 11 at 1 p.m., and the Shilo Inn, Idaho Falls, ID, Jan. 15 at 1 p.m.
In addition to these meetings, organizers are also trying to schedule meeting in Colorado and Wisconsin.
The plan is to buy up surplus potatoes in storage and take those potatoes off the market in order to create a better market for the potatoes that remain.
The three Pacific-Northwest States have about 30 million cwt more in storage at this time than there were last year. Potato industry analysts estimate that at least half the surplus will have no market at all. This will keep prices low for the remainder of the marketing season.
Growers are currently receiving one cent per pound when it costs five cents per pound to produce potatoes. The plan is to purchase and dispose of the potatoes for fertilizer on farms and to organize give-away programs for food banks and America's Second Harvest.