USDA to Buy Red Potatoes

Published online: Jun 28, 2018 Articles
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The USDA will reportedly purchase $3 million in red potatoes for nutrition assistance programs. National Potato Council (NPC) executive vice president and CEO John Keeling confirms the purchase, noting that’s the equivalent of 20,000 hundredweight of red potatoes.

We worked with USDA over the past couple of weeks to get them the information about what the real surplus was and then, what would be needed to be removed. And then, what time was remaining to be able to do that because we are getting late. Potatoes have been in storage for a while now,” says Keeling.

A few weeks ago, Associated Potato Growers said they will have 50,000 hundredweight of potatoes that need a home. This purchase could help, but there’s still an excess of fresh spuds in the Red River Valley. The red potato issue was brought to North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer’s attention by the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association (NPPGA). 

Chuck Gunnerson, former president of the NPPGA, described the current environment in the U.S. red potato market as “a nightmare due to high yield, no trucks early in the season and the exchange rate with Canada.” 

The Red River Valley Region bordering eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota is the largest producer of red potatoes in the US.
(Sources: Red River Farm Network / Potato Bytes newsletter)