Pennsylvania Cooperative Potato Growers is celebrating its centennial this year. Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding joined cooperative members, processors and others to recognize the accomplishment November 1st, at the Bender Potato Farm in Orrstown, Franklin County.
The cooperative was chartered June 13, 1922 with 22 members, growing from an association of potato growers. Nathan Tallman, president of the cooperative, said forming a cooperative gave them protection by the Capper-Volstead Act and allowed the group the ability to talk about pricing and work together on marketing.
Pennsylvania has never been one of the top producers of potatoes in the country, but it is one of the top states for snack food manufacturing establishments, with 24 potato chip factories based in the state.
The cooperative handles marketing and logistics for its members, which includes selling potatoes to many of those snack food makers. There are 28 Pennsylvania growers in the cooperative that produce more than 83,000 tons of potatoes each year. There are also a number of associate members from other states that help fill contracts for potatoes year round, Tallman said.