US: Acreage reduction means better prices for potato growers

Hillary Fernandez of Stanfield releases a gate on the back of a potato truck as Estella Dueñez of Hermiston sorts Russet potatoes as they move down a conveyor belt on Tuesday outside of Hermiston.Early season potatoes are being harvested around Hermiston in the state of Oregon, and growers are so far encouraged by what they see. “It’s going to be a decent year,” said Amstad, owner of Amstad Farms. “It started out bad and ended up good.” Not only is quality looking good this year for Columbia Basin potatoes, but so is price, according to Amstad. Thanks in large part to a 15,000-acre reduction in neighboring Idaho, Amstad said the fresh market is looking to bring in about $12 per 100 pounds, which is the best he’s seen in three years. “It’s called supply and demand,” he said. “And demand has been real good so far.” Bill Brewer, CEO of the Oregon Potato Commission, said the fresh market has been dogged by overproduction the last couple of years. When Idaho, the largest supplier nationwide, reduces production, Brewer said Oregon is well positioned to reap the benefits. More