The Idaho potato crop is expected to be a bit smaller this year, with acres down roughly 8% year-over-year.  Jamey Higham, CEO of the Idaho Potato Commission said one of the chief reasons for the drop is a dramatic increase in input costs.

“But you have to think that last year was up 6% from the year before, so compared to the 2020 crop we’re down 2% and it’s the lowest number we’ve seen in quite a while, but we’re expecting a much better yielding crop and a higher quality crop.”

Higham added more profitable alternative crops and water curtailments also discouraged some growers from planting potatoes this year.  He added while there are a variety of challenges impacting producers right now, potato farmers are optimistic.

“You know the cost of diesel fuel right now affects the cost to ship potatoes from Idaho to the east coast, to the southeast, and so, instead of just having that price that you sell them for, you have to take into consideration the freight to get them there.  And as that freight is at a very high level right now, that delivered price to the customer goes up and up, so we’ve got to be smart about how we price things.”

Higham noted one thing growers have enjoyed this year compared to 2021 is the weather.  He noted the cool start to spring and delayed heat have been much better growing conditions than last June’s heat dome.

 

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