United Fresh Begins Acreage Bid Buy-Out Program

Published online: Apr 06, 2005 United Fresh Potato Growers of America
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IDAHO FALLS, ID - The United Potato Growers of America Board of Directors has agreed to participate in the first national acreage bid buy-down in the history of United States potato production.

Although United Potato Growers of America has been formed to work on programs that aid regional and state cooperatives in bringing significant value and benefit to UNITED growers, the immediate concern is to address the near certainty that too many acres are going to be planted in 2005. Supply and demand analysis indicates that 2005 grower potato planting intentions could result in another oversupply of potatoes for the '05 season.

Nationally, the United States potato industry could have over 12 million cwt. excess potatoes. The urgency to act NOW is very real or growers could experience another financial disaster in 2005.

United of America is offering ALL growers an opportunity to bid acres into a buy-out program. To be eligible, growers must be planting fewer acres than their base acreage, which is determined by what a farm planted in potatoes in 2004.

United is only interested in buying acres that were going to be planted and priority will be given to United growers planting less than their 2004 base. United must be fair and prudent not to spend money on acreage bids unless it is in the best interest of United and it's Growers. 

Acreage bid sheets are currently being mailed and emailed by state and regional cooperatives. Bids should be filled out, sealed and returned to your respective state or regional cooperative office or board member by mail, email, or in person NO LATER THAN April 11th, 2005.

State and regional cooperatives will evaluated bids and prioritize them before taking them to the United Potato Growers of America board meeting on April 14 and 15, 2005. There, confidential bids will be reviewed as needed by the United of America Board. 

United of America stresses the fact that the acreage bid buy-out program will be executed and managed at the local level. The national cooperative is only positioned to aid in providing a national strategic direction to the supply management program.

Additionally, all bids are confidential and growers can be assured their names or specific locations will not be included in board meeting discussions. Growers are also reminded that the discussion of their bid and the acceptance of that bid is strictly confidential. Any other action would result in a voided contract. If bids are accepted, they will be paid on a per acre basis.

Forms and details are available through state and regional cooperative board members and offices, or at the United of America website, www.unitedpotatousa.com.  Interim United of America CEO, Jerry Wright, is also available to answer any questions at 208-535-8500 or info@unitedpotato.com.

"This is a great opportunity to bring stability and rationale to our Potato Industry." said Albert Wada, chairman of the United of America Board. "Through cooperation and unity we can and will help ourselves and each other achieve our goals.

"We strongly encourage all growers to take advantage of this offer while it is available and join their state or regional cooperative and the United of America Board to reduce 2005 acres." 

Wada and other United Board Members are voluntarily reducing acres in their own operation and are not able to take advantage of United's bid buy-out program.