Processing, fries, chips, Trade/Markets/Prices, Trends

Idaho spud growers co-op says McCain contract is small potatoes

Idaho farmers who raise potatoes for making frozen fries fear a contract being offered by a Canadian food manufacturer could quash their chances of earning better profits in 2018 and 2019. Chuck Stadick, executive director of Southern Idaho Potato Cooperative, which represents Idaho growers in negotiations with potato processors, said McCain Foods circumvented the grower organization this fall and went straight to farms with an “unfair” contract. Stadick said dialogue with the other major processors — Lamb Weston and J.R. Simplot Co. — had been going well but stalled once the industry learned of McCain’s offer. Growers who signed the McCain contract say they’ve been prohibited from divulging details by a nondisclosure agreement. Growers and processors typically renegotiate their contracts annually. Sources have told SIPCO McCain’s contract would cover the next two seasons, locking prices paid to growers in at 2017 values, which Stadick contends were already depressed. More

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