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McCain Foods: Manitoba highest-cost processing potato producer in North America

McCain Foods: Manitoba highest-cost processing potato producer in North America
March 9, 2014
Manitoba potato farmers could face steeper cuts in contracted potato production unless they can become more cost competitive with other areas of North America, a senior official with McCain Foods says.

Christine Wentworth, McCain Foods’ vice-president of North America agricultural procurement, said in a recent interview Manitoba produces the highest-cost processing potatoes in North America.

“The Manitoba region is uncompetitive today and so the future of processing potato growing in Manitoba, at this point, is in the hands of the growing community,” Wentworth said.

“It is at a critical point within the potato industry in Manitoba as well as the potato industry in North America.”

However, the Keystone Potato Growers Association, which is currently negotiating 2014 potato prices with McCain, Simplot and Cavendish Farms, says McCain’s figures are not up to date. “I would submit that those numbers aren’t current and probably not very accurate when you look at the exchange (rate between the Canadian and American dollar),” said manager Dan Sawatzky, noting McCain appears to be using figures from last year.

McCain Foods has potato-processing plants in Portage la Prairie and Carberry. Simplot and Cavendish have plants in Portage and Jamestown, North Dakota, respectively.
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McCain Foods Limited is an international leader in the frozen food industry and the world’s largest manufacturer of frozen potato specialities, employing approximately 18,000 people and operating 50 production facilities on six continents.
McCain Foods (Canada) is a division of McCain Foods Limited, an international leader in the frozen food industry and the world’s largest processor of French fries and specialty potato products.
McCain Foods Canada - Carberry is one of the French Fry production plants of McCain Foods (Canada), located in Manitoba
McCain Foods Canada - Portage la Prairie is one of the French Fry production plants of McCain Foods (Canada), located in Manitoba
The Mission of the Potato Marketing Association of North America is to gather information pertaining to bargaining and the potato industry, on a North American level.
The J. R. Simplot Company potato processing plant in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, has an annual capacity of more than 300 million pounds (135 million kilos) of frozen french fries and formed potato products.
Simplot is one of the three larger french fry manufacturers in the United States.
Keystone Potato Producers Association (KPPA) is the processing potato producer organization for Manitoba (Canada).
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