Jul 30, 2019
Acreage report discrepancy aside, Idaho growers expecting good year

Idaho potato growers are expecting a good year, albeit probably a smaller crop.

In a report by John O’Connell for the Idaho State Journal, planted acreage numbers are down and the crop is a little behind schedule. Demand for Idaho potatoes is up, however, the Idaho Potato Commission’s (IPC) Travis Blacker told the State Journal.

While the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Idaho growers planted 315,000 acres of potatoes this year — same as in 2018, when they had a record year for yield — United Potato Growers of Idaho-collected acreage numbers are slightly below 309,000 acres.

International demand is strong, Blacker said, both for fresh and processing, and that should equal a successful year. In addition, Ritchey Toevs of Aberdeen said growers secured late contracts with buyers in Wisconsin and Canada due to poor conditions in those regions.

Be sure to read the State Journal’s full story for more information.

Numbers discrepancy

Randy Hardy
Randy Hardy speaks during a presentation at the National Potato Council’s 2019 summer meetings.

Blacker told the State Journal that the NASS uses a formula to calculate acreage, while the UPGI, using funding from the Idaho commission, sends representatives out to do physical counts.

The conflicting reports was brought up Randy Hardy of Oakley during the National Potato Council’s summer meetings in Wisconsin in July. The higher the acreage numbers, the lower the market price will be, Hardy noted.

“It’s costing us a lot of money,” Hardy said during the NPC’s Legislative & Government Affairs Committee meeting. “Misreports throw the market off.”

Hardy suggested it’s time for the potato industry to address the situation with USDA leaders.

“I don’t think the NASS is being our friend,” he said. “I don’t think this is what (Secretary of Agriculture) Sonny Perdue wants to see.”

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