Apr 6, 2005
American Potato Cooperative Begins Acreage Bid Buy-Out Program

The recently-formed United Fresh Potato Growers of America board of directors met for the second time March 30 and 31 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

At that meeting, representatives of state and regional cooperatives across the country agreed to participate in the first national acreage bid buy-down in the history of United States potato production.

Although United Potato Growers of America has been formed to work on programs that aid regional and state cooperatives in bringing significant value and benefit to United growers, the immediate concern is to address the near certainty that too many acres are going to be planted in 2005. Supply and demand analysis currently indicates that 2005 grower potato-planting intentions could result in another oversupply of potatoes for the 2005 season. Nationally, the United States potato industry could have more than 12 million cwt. of excess potatoes.

United of America is offering all growers an opportunity to bid acres into a buy-out program. To be eligible, growers must be planting fewer acres than their base acreage, which is determined by what a farm planted in potatoes in 2004. United is only interested in buying acres that were going to be planted, and priority will be given to United growers planting less than their 2004 base.

Acreage bid sheets are currently being mailed and e-mailed by state and regional cooperatives. Bids should be filled out, sealed and returned to your respective state or regional cooperative office or board member by mail, e-mail or in person no later than April 11. State and regional cooperatives will evaluate bids and prioritize them before taking them to the United Potato Growers of America board meeting April 14-15. There, confidential bids will be reviewed as needed by the United of America board.

United of America stresses that the acreage bid buy-out program will be executed and managed at the local level. The national cooperative is only positioned to aid in providing a national strategic direction to the supply management program. Additionally, all bids are confidential and growers can be assured their names or specific locations will not be included in board meeting discussions.

Growers also are reminded that the discussion of their bids and the acceptance of bids is strictly confidential. Any other action would result in a voided contract. If bids are accepted, they will be paid on a per acre basis.

Forms and details are available through state and regional cooperative board members and offices or at the United of America Web site, www.unitedpotatousa.com. Interim United of America CEO Jerry Wright is available to answer questions. He can be reached at (208) 535-8500 or info@unitedpotato.com.

This is a great opportunity to bring stability and rationale to our potato industry,” said Albert Wada, chairman of the board for United Potato Growers of America. “Through cooperation and unity we can, and will, help ourselves and each other achieve our goals. We strongly encourage all growers to take advantage of this offer while it is available and join their state or regional cooperative and the United of America Board to reduce 2005 acres.” ”

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