North America

Trucking shortage hinders movement of record Aroostook potato harvest

Aroostook County in Maine may have pulled a record potato harvest out of the ground this year, but transportation slowdowns and a driver shortage are making it difficult to get the crop to market, reports Paula Brewer for the Bangor Daily News.

Perfect weather during the growing season boosted yield by about 20 percent for The County’s staple crop. Some farmers simply ran out of room, so the Loring Development Authority offered former military buildings for potato storage.

With the surprisingly bountiful harvest, the supply is there to meet demand from french fry makers and grocery shoppers, and the potatoes are holding up well. But supply chain delays, fuel costs and lack of transportation workers could mean growers will get less money for their product.

Nationwide, the trucking industry is short 80,000 drivers, according to American Trucker, a situation exacerbated by the pandemic. It’s a shortage he believes will be around for a while, said Don Flannery, executive director of the Maine Potato Board in Presque Isle, on Friday.

Source: Bangor Daily News. Read the full story here
Photo: Brian Guerrette (right) and his nephew, Matt Whitten, stand in front of a pile of potatoes so large it has completely filled his backup storage facility. Credit: Hannah Catlin / Aroostook Republican via Bangor Daily News.

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