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Trade issues, inflation and Future Farm Bill weigh on US potato growers

Geopolitical turmoil, global changes, trade issues and politics have all impacted the American potato industry over the past year and will continue to do so into the second half of 2022. Growers from across the United States gathered in Nashville, Tennessee, for the National Potato Council (NPC) Summer Meeting on June 16, to discuss public policy and organizational updates.

The 25-year-long trade dispute with Mexico has dragged on due to circumstances out of the U.S.’ control, such as the Mexican legal system. While the border has successfully opened for the U.S. potato market, the process was anything but simple.

“We had to generate leverage within Mexico to accelerate that process. We also needed to have significant political pressure from the U.S. government going on to Mexico. So, it was kind of a twofold deal,” explains Kam Quarles, CEO of the NPC, during a presentation at the conference. “We basically just wrapped ourselves up with the Mexican avocado industry. We got very public, very aggressive, very fast. We said, ‘You are going to sink or swim with us.’ You want expanded access to the United States? You will not get it. We will fight you as hard as we possibly can to make sure you never have that until our issue is resolved.”

Despite the previous restriction to the 26 km border region, Mexico was the second-largest market for fresh potato exports in 2021, accounting for 124,449 metric tons valued at $60 million last year. The U.S. potato industry estimates that access to the entire country for fresh U.S. potatoes will provide a market potential of $250 million per year, in five years.

Source: seedworld.com


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