Idaho Growers Face Contract Puzzle

Published online: Mar 28, 2003
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Southern Idaho process growers are very puzzled about how they should manage their farms this spring.

With the announcement McCain Foods is cutting back operation of its Burley, ID, plant, it means there will certainly follow a decrease in the number of acres it will contract.

Some growers say they are hearing cutbacks could be severe and in some cases growers cut out altogether. In the meantime, McCain and Simplot contract growers are puzzled about what they should do.

Without contracts being given from McCain Foods or Simplot, and Lamb-Weston still on the non-contact side, growers are ready to start canceling seed orders and turning back rented ground.

There was some hope that a contract proposal made a few days ago would be accepted by all three processors and that contracts could soon be handed out.

At least one grower said he and his neighbors are not about to plant open potatoes this year. This grower said he had already torn out over 100 acres of potato seedbeds.

“This is making a lot of people very nervous. People have been hurt enough,” the Burley-area grower said.