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Potato Processing Deals Reached in Manitoba, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick

Manitoba's potato producers have struck a deal with french fry producers. According to Dan Sawatzky, manager of Keystone Potato Growers Association, growers voted May 2 to accept the agreement with processors that will see increases in both price and production volumes.

Manitoba farmers grow processing potatoes for McCain Foods plants in Carberry and Portage la Prairie, a Simplot plant in Portage la Prairie, and a Cavendish Farms plant in Jamestown, North Dakota.

The new contract includes a price increase of approximately 3.5 per cent this year compared to 2014. The volume of contracted potatoes for McCain and Simplot is going up about 18 per cent, while the volume for Cavendish Farms will rise by approximately 60 per cent.

According to Sawatzky, this year's increases are largely due to the currency exchange rate resulting from the low Canadian dollar, which has contributed to a higher cost of production for potato growers facing rising crop input and capital costs.

In Prince Edward Island, contract talks between potato growers and processors were completed in April. According to the Prince Edward Island Potato Board, growers will receive a price increase over 2014 of approximately three per cent, which will help address the increasing costs of potato production. The board also reports indications are that Island processors signed individual growers up at similar volumes as last year.

In New Brunswick, growers voted April 30 to accept a deal with McCain Foods that includes an approximately three per cent price increase this year over 2014. According to Potatoes New Brunswick, the volume of contracted potatoes for the french fry processor is also up by approximately five per cent in 2015.