Michigan News

 Another Successful Year Exhibiting at the WIC Conference (4/26/2017)  
Another Successful Year Exhibiting at the WIC Conference
April 26, 2017

The Michigan Potato Industry Commission, once again, was an exhibitor at the annual Michigan WIC Training and Educational Conference.  

WIC is the federal Women, Infants and Children supplemental feeding program, which is administered in Michigan by the Department of Health and Human Services, WIC Division.  The front-lines WIC workers including dietitians and dietetic aides attend an educational meeting each year that also includes exhibitor booths.  The 2017 event held at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa in Acme near Traverse City attracted over 700 attendees.

“It's a good opportunity to talk directly with nutritionists,” Michelle Wieferich, who represented MPIC, said.  “They were excited to see us again this year, and we want to keep strengthening our relationships with them.  They appreciate the role of potatoes in their program.”

The program is WIC's voucher system for the purchase of fresh produce which until a few years ago did not include potatoes.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) had prohibited the use of WIC vouchers for potatoes. The potato industry questioned the policy when it was instituted at the formation of the program a decade ago.  The National Potato Council (NPC) presented the FNS with a wealth of documentation on the nutritional benefits of potatoes for program participants and also stressed the potato cost advantage that would free up money for purchases of more expensive fresh produce.  The NPC also worked with members of Congress to advance its position and finally achieved its goal.  Congress in 2014 overrode the resistance of FNS administrators and stipulated that potatoes be included in the WIC voucher program.

The Commission has now exhibited at the WIC conference for the past three years.  “In our few years of exhibiting the participants already know we have wonderful resources for them to share with both their teams and clients.” Wieferich said.  “I had many good discussions with them about potato nutrition and, as in years past, they loved our recipes.”  


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NPC News articles are from the NPC Insider Report published by the National Potato Council and used with permission. 

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Current Market Report

 April 26, 2017 Market Report (4/26/2017)  
Market Report
April 26, 2017

The transition to new-crop chip potatoes seems to be going more smoothly than had been anticipated, so far. Earlier this month, some Florida chip potatoes traded hands for $22.00 per cwt, but current open market prices are closer to $1.00 per cwt over contract. The central Florida crop is starting to clean up. Harvest in that area should be complete sometime next week. The trade is happy with potatoes coming out of the Hastings District. Size is good (not too small and not too big), and defect levels are low. Some observers still expect some sur-prises over the next six weeks, but the industry is more relaxed about the transition than it was a month ago.

Michigan chip potatoes are cleaning up quickly. Some customers already have finished taking contracts, and have moved to Florida, while others still have 2-3 weeks left on shipments. Planting appears to be on schedule, but the weather forecast is calling for a lot of rain during the next ten days, which could slow things down.

US fresh potato shipments for the week ending April 22, 2017 totaled 1.730 million cwt. That is up from 1.695 million cwt shipped cwt during the same period, in 2016. Michigan packers shipped 59,770 cwt of table potatoes during the week ending April 22. That is up from 50,733 cwt a year earlier. This year’s Michigan ship-ments were 76.2% Russets,19.6% Round White varieties, 4.0% Yellow potatoes, and 0.2% Red potatoes.

Michigan shippers are selling 10# bags of size A Russet potatoes for mostly $1.70-$1.90 per bag, un-changed for the week. Wisconsin packers are selling size A Russet potatoes in 10# bags for mostly $7.00 per 50# bale, unchanged from last week. They are selling Russet 40-70 count cartons for $11.00-$12.00 per 50# box, up from $11.00 a week ago. The weighted average shipping price for Idaho Norkotahs is $11.42 per cwt, up from $11.23 at the same time last week.

Maine packers are selling 2-inch minimum Round White potatoes in 5/10# film bags for $8.00- $8.50 per bale, down from $8.50 a week ago. Florida packers are selling new-crop 50# cartons of size A Round White pota-toes for mostly $22.25 per 50# box, unchanged from this time last week.


This information comes from Bruce Huffaker, publisher of North American Potato Market News. This weekly newsletter has more complete potato market information. For subscription information call (208) 525-8397, fax (208) 525-8569, write 2690 N Rough Stone Way, Meridian ID  83646, or e-mail napmn@napmn.com.