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    A shortage of locally grown processing potatoes is threatening to make the Canadian province of Manitoba an importer of spuds for the first time in more than two decades and will lead to production cuts in at least one local processing plant.
     
    A spokesman for local potato growers said Friday a nightmare growing season last year took a big bite out of Manitoba's 2011 potato production, and that will lead to a serious shortage of processing potatoes by June.
     
    He said because of the looming shortage, Manitoba's potato processors - McCain Foods (Canada) and Simplot - will likely have to import potatoes from Idaho or Washington state or shift some production to other North American plants until Manitoba's next potato crop is ready in August.
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