Columbia Basin growers ratified a 2010 contract with Lamb-Weston recently. The editor of North American Potato Market News, Bruce Huffaker, reported that this was to be the second year of a two-year contract, which was indexed for production costs.
The settlement reportedly honored the price terms of the original agreement. The contract return declined slightly less than 12 percent, in line with the reduction in input costs. According to Mr Huffaker, the growers agreed to other material changes to the contract, to make it more palatable to Lamb-Weston.
The 2010 contracts will still be acreage based, but they will include a cap of 3 percent over a target volume. The cap will be enforced for each grower, at the variety level. The settlement is likely to be a template for remaining settlements in the Columbia Basin. Mr Huffaker said the settlement with Lamb-Weston will be viewed as a benchmark for other negotiations across North America this season.