The global potato market is tight on supply and prices for Idaho farmers are up substantially. Alas, so are farm input costs and, with prices for other Idaho crops also up significantly, many Idaho potato farmers may see some tough planting decisions in 2022.
Although Russet potato prices for Idaho farmers typically drop significantly from August to October, that didn’t happen this year, according to Ben Eborn, president of North American Potato Market News.
Idaho Russet prices dropped $8 per hundredweight from August to October in 2019, $12 per cwt during that period in 2020, but only $3 per cwt during that same time in 2021. Idaho is the nation’s top potato-producing state and Gem State farmers produce about a third of the nation’s total spud supply.
The price increase is partly due to Idaho producing a smaller spud crop in 2021 compared with 2020. Idaho farmers planted 315,000 acres of potatoes in 2021, compared with 300,000 in 2020, but total statewide production decreased 2 percent in 2021 to 132 million hundredweight.