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Monte Vista, CO — Monte Vista Potato Growers General Manager Steve Tillman said the cooperative’s nine-farm grower base has stayed stable in both acreage and production over the past several years, and in early January, Mr. Tillman said the shed was “basically right on track with what we usually are at this time of year” with shipments.

monte-vista-potato-growers-Steve Tillman, seated, and his son, Jason, oversee operations at the nine-grower Monte Vista Potato Growers cooperative north of Monte Vista, CO.A new poly bagger was installed in 2012, and the carton machine was also upgraded. MVPG is also using the Kwik Lok printer technology for its trace-back program, and a new computerized system tracks all tagged pallets of primarily russet spuds.

“My growers are very, very stable, and they don’t go up or down much at all in their acreage,” Mr. Tillman said. “We’ve been within 20,000 sacks of being the same volume in storage for the last several years.” Reflecting the stability of the growers is the shed’s customer base, which keeps the flow of bagged and cartoned spuds moving from the facility north of Monte Vista.

With 2013 representing his quarter-century mark with the co-op, Mr. Tillman said he’s eyeing retirement “a couple of years down the road.”

Son Jason Tillman came on board last year to assist his father, and Steve Tillman said the in-training potato man will eventually take over as general manager.”