Cultivation/Production, North America, Trends

High-cost Idaho potato harvest is a wrap, french fry processors to pay farmers 20% more

The end of the Idaho potato harvest was in view when DTN/Progressive Farmer visited Russell Paterson’s farm not far from Burley, Idaho, a community on the Snake River in south-central Idaho and about 40 miles east of Twin Falls. The Idaho native has been in the potato business for 55 years, growing the crop and leasing land to other growers. Dan Miller, Progressive Farmer Senior Editor reports in this news article.

Potatoes are a high-cost, water-thirsty crop. Input costs for contract potato growers this year are $3,500 to $4,000 per acre. That’s compared to $2,200 to $2,400 in 2020.

Water is an all-the-time concern, Patterson said. Water deliveries to the Idaho crop have been reduced in 2022, with available supplies affected by drought and a limited snowpack up in the Grand Tetons.

French fry processors agreed to pay Idaho growers about 20% more this year than in 2021. While that seems significant, not every grower receives that increase, and it will not offset high production costs. Processors set the contract price growers receive.

The price paid to the farmer generally is about 20% of the retail price. “That’s the law of supply and demand and (processor) control,” Patterson said.

Check out a DTN/Progressive Farmer video of the 2022 harvest here.

Source: DTN/Progressive Farmer. Read the full story here.
Photo: Idaho Russet Burbank potatoes are loaded into storage cellars nearly a football field in length where they are stored under closely monitored temperatures and humidity levels. (DTN photo by Dan Miller)

Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse

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