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Maine’s potato farmers face ever-rising costs, impact on consumer prices looms

In Aroostook County, Maine, the cost of potatoes is expected to rise due to increasing operating expenses for local farmers, as Paula Brewer reports for Bangor Daily News in this story.

Advanced farming technology and equipment have led to higher costs, including electricity for environmentally controlled storage and diesel for transportation. The agricultural sector in Maine, like many others, has been impacted by supply chain delays, labor shortages, and rising minimum wages.

Dan Corey of Daniel Corey Farms highlighted the significant increase in diesel and electricity costs, which have doubled in the past two years. This increase has reduced profit margins, making it more expensive to grow crops. Despite these challenges, potato prices in local grocery stores have remained stable for now.

Maine’s potato production, valued at $247 million, is the state’s top food crop. However, local growers have little control over market prices and must accept what they can get for their crops. Isaac Braley of Green Meadow Farms anticipates a 10-15% decrease in income this year due to cheaper Canadian shipping and increased energy costs.

Maine Potato Board Executive Director Don Flannery notes that inflation affects farmers too, with rising costs for fuel, heating, electricity, and labor. As these costs continue to rise, consumers may eventually see an increase in potato prices. The state’s minimum wage is set to increase in January, adding to the financial pressures on farmers.

Source: Bangor Daily News. Read the full story here
Photo: Elizabeth Hewitt of Graves Shop ‘n Save in Presque Isle stands next to the store’s potato display on Nov. 21. Credit: Paula Brewer / The Star-Herald

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