UNITED Potato Growers of America announces that its goal to reduce potato supplies and bring them back in line with demand has been met. Preliminary numbers show U.S. potato acreage down 35,000 acres as a result of UNITED's acreage bid buy-down program.
An additional 4,000 fresh potato acres were cut on the east coast, outside of UNITED. Utilizing last year's yields, at 401 cwt per acre, UNITED has removed approximately 15,600,000 cwt potatoes, representing an 11 percent reduction in potatoes available for fresh shipments from the 2005 crop.
Potato growers from across the U.S. met in Prince Edward Island last week and communicated with Canadian potato growers on the excess supplies that have plagued markets for the past several years. PEI, the largest potato-growing province in Canada with over 100,000 acres of potatoes, recognized the supply management efforts of UNITED this spring and voted to cap island potato acreage for each grower.
PEI has cut 9,600 acres, and all Canadian provinces project a 24,000 total acreage reduction (including fresh, process and seed). The acreage reduction has removed approximately 6,500,000 cwt of the 2005 crop potatoes from the market.
"UNITED's efforts are an ongoing and fundamental change on how potato growers will balance supply with demand," said Jerry Wright, CEO of United Potato Growers of America. "Unity with Canada has been a great stepping stone for UNITED."
Potato growers from New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba and PEI were eager to learn how they might be able to collaborate with United Potato Growers of America. Morley Wood, Chairman of PEI's Potato Board, said, "We strongly support UNITED's mission to manage potato supplies so growers can receive a fair price for their product while, ensuring our customers and the consumer can access high-quality, fair-priced potatoes on a consistent basis. We look forward to continuing the open communication this meeting has initiated. It truly is "A Brand New Day for Potato Growers!"
To date, UNITED co-ops have been formed in several growing regions and account for 75 percent of fresh potato acres across the U.S. UNITED's legal counsel is exploring how Canada can formally join the cooperative. For more information about UNITED's programs, visit www.unitedpotatoesusa.com.