NPPG Head Says Sales Up In Midwest, East

Published online: Dec 02, 2004 NPPG
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Northern Plains Potato Growers Marketing Director Ted Kreis says he believes the truck shortage is helping Midwest and Eastern potato production areas at the expense of the Pacific Northwest because of the shipping rate advantage.

Kreis, said in his newletter this week, said he believes rail shipping is also picking up. For the week of November 21-27, Kries says the USDA Market News Service reported that over a quarter of all fresh potato shipments from the Red River Valley were by rail. Last year less than 10 percent was shipped by rail for the same week. At the same time, truck shipments were down by over 9 percent.

Kreis believes the truck shortage has also caused buyers to buy closer to home. Michigan, Wisconsin, and New York--all close to large metropolitian markets--saw huge increases in their Thanksgiving week business. These markets have traditionally been Western markets.

The RRV was up about 11 percent for the Thanksgiving week, and even more the weeks before, so it appears the Northwest is getting hurt the worse by the transportation shortage, he reported.

Kries also points out that the newly formed United Fresh Potato Growers of Idaho have succeeded in increasing prices for the second week in a row, but at the expense of volume, down 19 percent from last year. Other production areas are seeing increases or much smaller declines.

"It appears Idaho is going to have a lot of potatoes this spring if trends don't change. Increased production and lower demand is not a good mix," he reported.