US: Weather, prices affect North Dakota and Minnesota potato growers during strange year

Freezing temperatures over the weekend appear to have effectively ended the harvest for northwest Minnesota and northeast North Dakota potato growers. The harvest — which lasted as much as two months longer than usual for some growers — brought heavy rains, soggy fields, rising prices and exceptionally warm temperatures in late October and the the first half of November. The crop year also brought wide variation in yields and profits. Growers who enjoyed average or slightly-below-average yields, and who didn’t contract to sell their potatoes earlier this year at low prices, will be able to take advantage of higher prices and do relatively well financially. Growers with poor crops, or who contracted their potatoes previously at lower prices, won’t do so well, officials say. The Red River Valley of eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota — where the two states’ potato production is concentrated — is the nation’s leading producer of red potatoes and the only region that produces in volume for all of the chip, fresh, seed and process markets. More

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