SOME employees at the Simplot potato- processing plant in Portage la Prairie will see their hours cut in coming months due to a looming shortage of locally grown processing potatoes, industry officials say.
Simplot spokesman David Cuoio said the Idaho-based food-processing giant has begun shifting some production from its Portage plant to other plants it owns in the U.S. Pacific Northwest rather than import potatoes to Manitoba to make up for the shortfall.
As a result, some workers will see their hours reduced, Cuoio said, although no one will be laid off.
Although Simplot has opted to temporarily shift production elsewhere, an industry official said the province's other big potato processor, McCain Foods Canada, has decided to import potatoes from Washington state and maintain regular production levels at its two plants in Portage and Carberry.
Garry Sloik, manager of the Keystone Potato Producers Association, said that will enable McCain to avoid layoffs or reductions in hours.