With production costs on the rise, contract negotiations for this year’s processing crop have been harder than normal and are now at a standstill, the March 3 issue of the North American Potato Market News (NAPM) says.
“Growers are worried about covering their rapidly rising production costs, which have increased their capital requirements and financial risk significantly over the past two years,” the report says.
In other market setbacks, the Shearer’s Foods potato chip plant in Hermiston, Ore. was destroyed by fire on Feb. 22. The suspected cause is a boiler explosion, NAPM says. The company makes potato chips and other snack foods. It has 12 other facilities in the United States and Canada, but the Hermiston plant was the only western location.
“Early reports indicate that the company is uncertain about rebuilding, since the entire plant was destroyed. Potatoes intended for processing in Hermiston may be trucked to the company’s other plants.”
Growers in the Columbia Basin and North Carolina have started planting the 2022 potato crop, the report says. Favourable weather allowed for planting progress in the both regions this week.
“Early varieties will be in strong demand, given this year’s short supply of fry quality potatoes in the Pacific Northwest,” NAPM says.