The side of effects of COVID on potato farming

in STEMGeeks10 months ago (edited)

I love potatoes just as much as the next person, probably more. I never gave much thought to the farming and the supply chain behind bringing them to my kitchen.

COVID though has created a lot of unique problems for businesses around the world. The potato farming industry is particularly being hit hard and it amazing to the extent of the problem.

As you may have guessed, demands for potatoes is primarily driven by restaurants and the food industry. With residential consumption being a small portion of the market and commercial food establishments being shut down, the demand for potatoes has dropped considerably.

I suddenly have the urge for french fries.

Speaking of which, I recently stopped at a McDonalds to get some fries, holy shit they were good. I don't typically get fast food and I especially don't like McDonald's, but they were crazy good and I can only guess it is because I haven't had them in so long.

I watched a YouTube video earlier about the current conditions as a potato farmer and many are throwing away more than half of their crops. Just digging a giant hole and dumping them in. Potato farmers already have a surplus of potatoes from their 2019 harvest. Potatoes harvested from 2019 will start to go bad in August 2020 shortly before their 2020 harvest in late August.

For potato farmers, it is actually cheaper to give away potatoes than pay for heavy equipment operators to dig huge holes and fill them with millions of potatoes.


Potato farmers were experiencing 15-year high prices prior to the Coronavirus and are now experiencing 20-year lows. A 100-pound sack of potatoes used to cost $12, now it is around $3. Farmers need to make roughly $5 a sack to just break even.

When a business takes losses like this, they need to decide if they want to stay in business or start to look at business loads and remortgaging their properties. For most business owners, it will take years to recover from a situation like this, if they ever do.

Farmers are looking at cheaper and community-focused alternatives like weekly free giveaways and using them to create a food source for cows and other animals.

Potatoes farming is not the only industry struggling with surpluses. It is estimated 3.7 million gallons of milk are being dumped on a daily basis by farmers.

There is currently no end in sight for this pandemic, we are likely looking at next year for any form of relief if not longer.

Next time you are at the grocery store, consider picking up another bag of potatoes. Matt Daemon tought me you can live off potatoes.


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Some coordination and a plan would be good here. While I know you can't store potatoes indefinitely, milk on the other hand is a different matter.
You can make cheese and store it for years. I know it's not the same as selling the fresh products right away and cashflow is slow but still. Maturated cheese is more expensive than the milk itself and can be sold later.

This is just an idea and I know lack of income can put the lock on your business. I also know this pandemic won't go away by itself and as far as people are concerned, I don't see the vast majority to understand what it's needed to be done. So we'd better start working out plans and learn how to survive, how to sell or transform these products.

In any case, posts like this are good as are raising awareness and we can all do our part.

If it goes so, there could be a real food shortage in the world.

I recently stopped at a McDonalds to get some fries, holy shit they were good. I don't typically get fast food and I especially don't like McDonald's, but they were crazy good

Only if you get a fresh lot.., the ones that have been left hanging around too long taste like rubber and bounce off your teeth.

They were 100% fresh. That's always a big deal. I heard you ask for low salt and you always get fresh ones.

That's exactly what I used to do in the UK going back 30 years. Ask for no salt and you always had hot, fresh ones made.

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I love my potatoes so have been having them as often as I can.

One of the programs the Canadian brought out was to purchase surplus food stocks from farmers at fair value and then distribute them to food banks. Farms get the surplus taken away and struggling families get fresh food on the table.

Would be nice to have more programs like that but ultimately we foot the bill one way or another.

In most cases I'd agree with that. This situation is unprecedented, well at least in the last 100 years. By purchasing the goods from the farmers, they now have funds to put back into producing more food to keep the supply chain going and those hammered economically by this pandemic get much needed help. Without the program, the farmers would have needed direct support to keep our food supplies producing which is more or less what was paid to buy the produce. And those in need would gain no benefit while the farmer would have to dispose of produce that is going to start rotting. The program maximizes return.

warning_eq9ky4.pngPlease be aware of @themarkymark. The user have been kicked off other social platforms and is harassing other users by continually downvoting them. The user also control and use the @buildawhale account (An old voting bot) for this too.

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I had french fries last night for the first time since Winter and also experienced them as being delicious, despite them being the frozen kind with crinkles, which I normally would not eat. I guess it is just having not had them in so long!
Is sad to hear about the problems farmers are having. Meanwhile so many families can't feed their kids. Such distribution problems, despite all our technology and systems expertise in this country. Hopefully there will be a will to solve it at some point.

There's opportunity for charities to be able to feed a bunch of people if they can manage the logistics of getting the potatoes shipped. $3-5 a sack is a bargain.

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 10 months ago 

Omg, I need to look around the local farmers to see if I could get some freebies.

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Thats interesting. I never thought of that aspect of covid but it makes sense. Nowadays, farming is really all about subsidies and knowing how to navigate them. Most of the staple crops (corn, wheat...etc) are grown at a loss and then subsidized by the government. Sounds like potatoes will be going that way soon as well. I read a long time ago that the best farmers used to have/require specialized knowledge about keeping seeds, now the best farmers are the ones who know how to navigate the government subsidies.



and we thought we had challenges with our 5 potato plants being eaten by our resident deer out of their bath tub home, its amazing how certain markets have been affected, Potatos was not one we would have thought of, quite the opposite expecting higher demand, got that completely wrong.

The one thing we have seen is a serious increase in brand new cars all 20 plates and relatively high models, as for BBS going bankrupt that completely flumoxed me.

I just happen to know that the producer price for potatoes goes up and down like a whore's drawers. I never commercially raised potatoes but I knew a bunch of the growers. High risk, high reward.

I still get my old weekly newspaper from my youth. There have been several 'potato giveaways' at various exits on the I-90 freeway this year. Just hand everybody that stops 5 (or more) pounds of potatoes. Manned by volunteers and there are LOTS of potatoes available.

I'm liking the air fryer I got just before the pandemic. I can turn raw, cheap potatoes into french fries in 20 minutes.

Yeah, I think I saw the same news you did. I saw lots of American potato farmers digging holes to dump their goods. A bit of this problem certainly comes from farm subsidies.

There is just no reason to grow anything other than soy and corn in the USA, because you know the government will even pay you not to grow these things to control market prices.

Potato farmers on the other hand, are basically on their own when something goes wrong.

Now I wonder what people are eating instead. Is the price of wheat and rice going up?

Here they dumped a mountain of potatoes on a square and on a parking lot in the city. You could take whatever you could carry for € 7.50 - which still wasn't attractive to me as a single person without a cellar.

May I ask why you're offended with my actifit posts?

Not only potatoe Farming but on very living thing. The fact that it is a deadly virus running up and down the whole World, it affected all. The Farming, the economy, the Humans. Thanks for bringing this my mentor @themarkymark