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United Announces New Co-op

United Potato Growers of America has announced the addition of a new member co-op: United Southwest Potato Growers Association. The new co-op represents nearly 21,000 fresh potato acres and 13 growers from northeast Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

“The Southwest region is a vital part of our summer program,” said Albert Wada, UPGA chairman. “We are pleased to welcome them to our organization. The addition of the United Southwest Potato Growers Association represents another significant milestone in the evolution and progress of potato growers working together to stabilize this great industry.”

Southwest growers elected Warren Boegel, Lakin, Kan., chairman of the board of directors. Also on the board are Tim May, Leland Lissolo and Richard Barrett. Keith Barrett, manager of the Richard Barrett Produce Co. in Muleshoe, Texas, is the co-op’s executive director.

“We organized the Southwest and joined with potato growers across the nation because we realize the value of coordinating our shipments and volumes with those in other regions,” Boegel said. “The summer markets can be highly volatile, so synchronizing our market window with competing shipping areas only makes sense. The benefits of stabilizing our market can only bring stability and enhanced profitability to our growers.”

“As United grows in acres and membership, having a group of knowledgeable growers on board – like those in the Southwest – becomes an enormous asset in managing the fresh industry’s most difficult shipping period,” said Buzz Shahan, UPGA chief operating officer. “As these summer shipping areas coordinate their logistics, summer markets will become increasingly more predictable and more profitable. The summer shipping season and its pricing leads into the fall, and fall into winter. Growers everywhere understand the value of maintaining solid pricing throughout all seasons, beginning with the Southwest’s time slot. Hats off to the Southwest potato growers for stepping up.”

Originally posted Monday, Feb. 5, 2007

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