TWIN FALLS, ID - The USDA Agriculture Statistics Board released its acreage report for the 2005 crop today. It stated, "Potato growers across the United States have planted an estimated 1.11 million acres of potatoes in all four seasons this year, down 7 percent from last year and the lowest since 1866 when record keeping began."
The announcement came as the United Potato Growers of America Board met to finalize its long-term strategy to bring supplies in balance with demand.
"We are pleased with the USDA report," stated Jerry Wright, United Potato Growers of America CEO. "Part of the 7 percent decline in acreage is a result of UNITED'S business plan, part of which was executed this spring through an acreage bid buy-down program. Economic conditions and poor weather in growing areas of the U.S. and Canada also contributed to the acreage reduction."
Although acreage is down, UNITED growers are confident there will be enough potatoes to fulfill demand.
"According to United States Potato Board research, consumption has been on a decline since the 1980s.Meanwhile, growers have continued to over-supply the market. Last year alone there was an excess of 12 million cwt or about 30,000 semi-truckloads in the marketplace. The result: growers are selling potatoes for less than the cost of production, losing equity in their business and some are simply going bankrupt," added Wright.
"UNITED has shown that collectively we can address the challenges of over-supply and create opportunity for our growers," Wright concluded.
For more information about UNITED'S programs, visit www.unitedpotatoesusa.com