According to the Potato Growers of Idaho, this season’s planting forecast is clouded by several facts.
First off, water issues continue to cloud the production situation. At least two major canal systems may send letters to stockholders warning them that current projections show they will not have enough irrigation water to grow row crops such as potatoes, corn and sugarbeets.
The second issue relates to processing contracts. No contracts have been signed in any of the fry-production states. Processors seem content to let planting take its course like it did in 1996. That year growers over-planted after a good market year.
PGI asks, “What will growers without signed contracts or known prices do? For some the best option may be to collect ‘prevented planting payments’ from their crop insurance.”
The PPPs are available to growers who have at least a one-year history of “multi-peril” or catastrophic insurance. To quality they must purchase multi-peril insurance for potatoes by March 15.