PGI Says 15,000 Acres Cut

Published online: Apr 30, 2002
Potato Growers of Idaho says that the Southern Idaho Potato Co-op has now identified at many as 15,000 acres of potatoes cut from contracts by the Simplot Company in southern Idaho.

Most of these are either planted or in the process of being planted and will wind up on the open market next fall.

Keith Frank, PGI spokesman, said it also appears the total cutback in commitments could be even more wide-ranging than originally thought.

Frank says while there is speculation Simplot may be trying to drive the price of potatoes down so that it can purchase them for less on the open market, there are also indicators that show sales of processed potatoes are flat.

“Therefore, growers should not expect a turnaround in market conditions to make Simplot want to buy their potatoes this fall,” Frank said.

Frank says PGI has no intention to dictate the number of acres growers plant. It only wants to remind them that unless growers unite and cut back acreage to solve the problems Simplot has created, that the entire industry could return to the kind of conditions that created the disastrous marketing situation two years ago.