Potato industry leaders say new USDA numbers show they're making a modest dent in a large 2012 crop supply that's depressed fresh prices.
Idaho's potato stocks, at 80.4 million cwt, were up 11 million cwt, or 16 percent, through Feb. 1 compared with the previous year, according to the USDA report.
As large as the surplus may be, Dan Hargraves, executive director of the Southern Idaho Potato Cooperative, said it represents progress from the original crop size, which was 14 million cwt greater than the prior year.
"There's been progress on dealing with the excess, and we need to continue to stay the course," Hargraves said.
In Washington, potato stocks through Feb. 1 totaled 44.5 million cwt, compared with 43 million cwt on Feb. 1, 2012. Oregon's Feb. 1, 2013 stocks, at 13.4 million
cwt, were up from 12.9 million cwt during the previous year, and California's stocks, at 1.5 million cwt, were down from 1.7 million cwt.
SOURCE: John O'Connell, Capital Press
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