Idaho Takes Multi-million-dollar Hit

Published online: Apr 17, 2001
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>"This is the worst I've ever seen it. I have other growers calling me and some are almost in tears. They don't know what to do. They can't get operating loans. I can't get one either," said a well-respected southern Idaho grower who wished to remain anonymous.

Idaho growers appear to be in a standstill mode, waiting for warmer weather for planting but having difficulty lining up production loans.

"Banks don't seem to care anymore. I guess they can't see the industry riding this thing out. You can't blame them but what's a grower to do?" he asked.

Fertilizer and implement dealers are also in a state of inactivity, with little fertilizer being moved to mid-April as compared to ordinary years.

Seed growers are also disappointed in early sales. Seed sales have been few. Most commercial growers are just checking price, it has been reported. Seed growers appear ready to take a hit along with their commercial-growing customers.

Potato Growers of Idaho has reported the state is taking an estimated $6-7 million per week loss on its fresh and dehy potatoes because of overproduction, foreign competition, and low prices. For the marketing campaign, the loss would range between $175-200 million. This money is not returning to growers, packers or Idaho communities.