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Tom Lundgren foresees strong potato market finish

by Tad Thompson | January 10, 2011
This winter and spring, the russet potato market "will continue to climb because of a lack of potatoes out there," according to Tom Lundgren. The president of Spud City Sales LLC in Stevens Point, WI, hopes the national industry's conservative potato acreages “will continue the trend this fall.” This will happen “if people don’t go too crazy on planting. It has been the same thing since I started 25 years ago. It’s all in supply and demand.”

Mr. Lundgren told The Produce News Jan. 11 that “the season has been wonderful. Wonderful! The crop is short this year. Yields are down, and the acreage is down slightly” in Wisconsin “because of rains in the latter part of the harvest season and, in general, yields were down. Shipping-wise, we’ve had good movement from the beginning in August. The state as a whole will be down, so products are a little tighter now.”

Mr. Lundgren expects to continue the shipping of Wisconsin russets until the normal conclusion time of about mid-June.

Shipments of red Wisconsin potatoes were “pretty much all but done” approaching mid-January. “There are a few reds around, but that’s really not a factor now. Usually, once February and March roll around, people are looking for the new Florida red crop anyway.” He added that Florida red potato growers have experienced cold weather again this year, “and it will be very interesting to see how the crop comes out there.”

Spud City Sales ships potatoes 12 months a year because “that is the only way shippers can keep their doors open these days.” He added, “I am buying more from Idaho this year than a lot of years because of price.”

Looking toward overall pricing for the remainder of this shipping season, he said, “You have got to stay in the mindset: 'Let’s continue on this path.’ The growers have made good money seven of the last 10 years. The trend used to be that the industry would lose money seven of 10 years. So, kudos to the industry so far. Let’s stay on track with that.”