This is the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.
Potatoes are a traditional part of American meals. But people are not eating
as many potatoes as they did in the past. The United States Department of
Agriculture reports that it expects potato use to decrease during the
next 14 years.
Growers say one main reason is that more people are worrying about getting
too fat. Several popular weight-reducing plans restrict carbohydrates. Potatoes are high in
American potato farmers also face competition from foreign growers. To deal
with these problems, a non-profit organization is working to get farmers to
limit potato production. The United Potato Growers of America was formed more
than a year ago. Its members plant most of the potatoes in the nation.
Limiting production breaks with tradition. Over the years, many American
potato growers have done their best to grow large crops. The more potatoes they
produced, the more they had to sell.
But too many potatoes for sale can mean too little profit. So the potato
growers organization wants to reduce the amount of potatoes reaching the market.
The goal is to keep demand strong and continuous.
Members promise to reduce their planting of potatoes. They also say they will
not send potatoes to market when the supply becomes too large.
The idea began about two years ago when potato growers from the state of
Idaho formed the United Potato Growers of Idaho. The group expanded its
membership to become the national organization.
Idaho potato grower Albert Wada is board chairman of United Potato Growers of
America. Mr. Wada recently compared potato prices before and after formation of
the organization. Between September, 2004 and June, 2005, overproduction of potatoes brought prices
down. But in the same period a year later, growers received an average price
increase of four dollars for every 45 kilograms of potatoes.
But not all potato farmers want to join the organization and restrict their
crops. And planting time next spring will bring a test. The organization will
learn if members really will limit their planting of potatoes.
And that's the VOA Special English Agriculture Report, written by Jerilyn
Watson. To read the next of this program and download audio, go to www.unsv.com.
I'm Steve Ember.