>As Idaho growers swing into full harvest this month, they are faced with two difficult challenges.
The Longshoremen strike in 29 Pacific Coast ports is starting reverberations throughout the industry. This will lead to a backup of finished potato products, mostly in Oregon and Washington. This will then lead to a backup of product domestically.
Then, just as growers were receiving a fair return for the ’01 crop, the National Agriculture Statistics Service revised its ’01 acreage figures for Idaho downward by 20,000 acres.
Coupled with this year’s estimate Potato Growers of Idaho believes is higher than it should be, the acreage adjustment for ’01 coupled with the forecast acres for ’02 does not set well for the market.
While the Pacific Northwest industry is scrambling to get help with the shipping strike, PGI is arguing acreage figures that could cost the industry millions of dollars. NASS puts Idaho’s acreage at 395,000 and PGI estimates it at 363,000. The 32,000-acre forecast difference coupled with the 20,000 final downward figure, is a swing of 52,000 acres.