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    Dan Sawatzky, manager, Keystone Potato Growers Association Inc (courtesy Allan Dawson)

    McCain Foods still hasn’t settled on the volume of potatoes it wants Manitoba processing potato growers to produce this year, even though planting is just weeks away.

    “We know there will be another decrease in volume though (from last year),” Dan Sawatzky, manager of Keystone Potato Growers Association Inc., told the Keystone Agricultural Producers’ general council meeting April 11. “There are a lot of concerns in the potato industry.”

    Growers have agreed on production volumes with Simplot and Cavendish Farms, which have potato-processing plants in Portage la Prairie and Jamestown, North Dakota, respectively. McCain Foods has plants in Portage la Prairie and Carberry.

    All three processors have cut some growers entirely from their contract list.

    “With McCain, that number isn’t exactly clear because some growers have multiple farms and until we have everything settled we don’t really know what it will come out at,” Sawatzky later told reporters. “The best I can say is probably about a half-dozen farms were affected completely with that company. Simplot has also cut a couple of growers at 100 per cent volume.

    “Some of those growers will have contracts with other companies. There are two (growers) I believe that will exit the business because of those cuts.”