Growers group confirms vegetable acre, pay cutbacks

The Executive Director of the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association says many farmers are cutting back on vegetable crop acreage this year because of reduced demand caused by imported canned vegetables.

Tamas Houlihan tells Brownfield it’s also affecting farmer income. “We’re seeing anywhere from a ten to a twenty percent decline in acreage, and a similar decrease in price.”

Houlihan says vegetable canners have full warehouses, and the high cost of tin plate steel due to tariffs gives foreign canners an advantage. “When you look at a can of corn, one-third of the price you’re paying is for that steel can.”

Houlihan says some growers are moving from a four-year rotation to a three-year rotation, growing more potatoes. “Fortunately, potatoes have been pretty profitable for the last five to ten years, and so, if they grow a few more potatoes, they might be alright, but we’re also in a situation of overproduction on the potato crop. Not just in Wisconsin, but Idaho planted a heck of a lot more than they typically do.”

Houlihan says another factor affecting the vegetable market is decreased consumption of canned goods since the COVID pandemic.

AUDIO: Tamas Houlihan discusses the acreage and pay cutback vegetable growers are facing with Brownfield’s Larry Lee

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