Higham: 2022 A year like No Other In Idaho Potato History
Idaho potato growers are hopeful 2023 will be much improved over last year for a variety of reasons. Jamey Higham, Executive Director of the Idaho Potato Commission said producers faced a number of difficult challenges last year. One of the more interesting one occurred late in the year, when rumors started the Idaho potato growers ran out of spuds. Higham said despite what you heard on social media, they didn’t run out of potatoes.
“You know the supplies were tight and the price went up and so it got a little dicey there toward the end but it there was never a point where we weren't shipping potatoes. It was just not as many as we're used to and it's not unprecedented, we've had gaps in supply in the past when I when I first got into this business back in 1990-91, you know Idaho didn't even ship all the way through this summer. You're kind of done in may or June and then other states took over and over time it's become a kind of a year round business.”
Higham added 2022 was very challenging thanks to elevated input costs.
“And what that does to potato grower, is it makes the risk in growing potatoes even higher. And if your cost of growing is increased by what you know whatever X percentage it is then you have to get X percentage higher to make money on your crop. So that made a lot of our growers a little bit nervous.”
Higham added last year was also difficult thanks to a lack of irrigation water, courtesy of a dismal snowpack. But he pointed out that the Idaho snowpack is already in much better shape, which will provide growers with encouragement as the season gets underway.
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