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Associated Growers will have ample quality potatoes this season

Despite weather-related losses sustained by some members of Associated Potato Growers Inc., Manager Paul Dolan said that the grower-owned cooperative will not disappoint its customers this season. “I feel we’re going to have a good supply of quality potatoes,” he said Sept. 30.

The cooperative is based in Grand Forks, ND, and has a total of 18 members, two of which are located in Minnesota. The organization is one of the larger fresh red potato packing facilities in the Midwest. Yellows are also produced. Its three facilities are located in Grand Forks, Grafton and Drayton, ND. “We take care of the potatoes,” Mr. Dolan stated. “We wash and market them.”

Growers in Grand Forks were the least affected by this year’s cold, rainy weather. “In the Grand Forks area, they didn’t have as much rain early on,” Mr. Dolan said. “Overall, quality [from Grand Forks] is better than last year.” He expects yields to be average to above-average.

Producers in Grafton sustained some losses, and Mr. Dolan said overall volume from the area was expected to be down approximately 10 percent this season. He is looking for good quality and average yields.

Growers in Drayton sustained the heaviest losses, Mr. Dolan said, noting that one grower suffered losses on the order of 40 percent.

Taking everything into account, Mr. Dolan went on to say, “We’re still getting an ample supply into storage. Overall, we have a good, marketable crop.” Sixty-five percent of volume is sold to repackers, and the balance is marketed for direct resale or wholesale.

The cooperative moves potatoes to the South and East. Potatoes are marketed under the “Nodak” and “APG” labels. Private label is also available. “We do a variety of packs, down to a 3-pound bag and up to a 2,000-pound tote bag,” Mr. Dolan said.