According to Pingree, North Dakota farmer Matt VanRay, potato acres for processing are a big unknown this year. VanRay grows russet potatoes for Cavendish Farms. “We’re uncertain on future demand for frozen potato products due to the coronavirus,” explains VanRay. “Potatoes on the processing side are more perishable than grain and it’s a season to season crop.” Potato production is all about balance. “You want to find that balance where you can have right amount of acres to meet supply, but not put too many acres in for an overabundance,” says VanRay. “It’s a multi-million dollar question. We’re waiting on someone to throw out an answer there.” The North American Potato Market News is forecasting Minnesota’s 2020 potato area to decline to 40,000 acres. This is a 13 percent decline from one year ago, due to the decline in processing demand. In North Dakota, the estimated decline in processing could result in a 5,000 acre drop in the state’s planted potato area.
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