According to the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association, 40 to 45 percent of fresh red and yellow potatoes are dug so far in the Red River Valley. Last year at this time, the number was more than 90 percent. Local packers are being impacted. Storage bins at NoKota Packers aren’t as full as they typically are this time of the year and some bins are completely empty. President Steve Tweeten said the packing company is working to adjust. “We have decided which customers we can service properly and others we can’t take care of this year,” he explained. “The lack of tonnage is causing the market prices to go up, which is good for farmers who could dig potatoes. For those who couldn’t get potatoes harvested, that market doesn’t matter.” Other packers, like Associated Potato Growers Incorporated, also say they are running at a slower pace this harvest. “This is the toughest harvest I can remember,” said APGI CEO Mike Torgerson. “It’s new to farmers as well.”
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