North America, Trends

CEO of Potatoes USA: Potato growers face changing market trends, daunting supply chain costs

After being forced to cancel the event last year due to the coronavirus, the Grower Education Conference sponsored by the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association and UW Extension, made a successful return to the Holiday Inn Convention Center.

As Dan Hansen reports for Wisconsin State Farmer, one of those sessions included an industry update by Blair Richardson, CEO of Potatoes USA.

Richardson began his presentation by noting that for several years dollars spent for potatoes by the food-service industry outpaced those spent by consumers for use at home. “When I was here two years ago, I predicted this trend would never change, but I’ve learned over the past two years not to use the word never,” he admitted. The potato industry, like so much of the rest of the economy, has changed considerably over the past two years due to the coronavirus.

Working off razor-thin margins is not a new phenomenon for growers, Richardson said. However, the sheer number of supply chain cost increases that growers will be facing this season – such as minimum wage increases to $15 an hour, 40-hour overtime work week, all petroleum-related inputs, including fertilizers, diesel fuel, as well as health insurance – will be daunting.

Richardson advises that all growers must be hyper-diligent in all their farming practices.

Source: Wisconsin State Farmer. Read the full story here
Photo: Courtesy Dan Hansen

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