The US is fighting a French fry shortage because it's been so cold that farmers are struggling to harvest their potatoes

cajun fries frenchBrent Hofacker

  • Cold weather has damaged potato yields in the US, which is now threatening the availability of French fries, Bloomberg reported.
  • Frosts stunted the growth of the long potatoes which are preferable for making French fries, and retailers are importing foreign stocks to make up for it.
  • "Production of potatoes for the 2019 crop year is forecast at 422 million cwt [22.4 million tons], down 6% from last year," the Department of Agriculture said on November 8.
  • "French fry demand has just been outstanding lately, and so supplies can't meet the demand," Travis Blacker, industry-relations director with the Idaho Potato Commission, told Bloomberg.
  • Cold weather between September and November affected potato yields in Alberta, Idaho, Manitoba, North Dakota, and Minnesota.
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Cold weather has led to a potato shortage in the US, threatening the availability of French fries, Bloomberg has reported.

Potato crop yields dropped in areas like Alberta, Colorado, Idaho, Manitoba, North Dakota, and Minnesota due to cold weather snaps between September and November.

Bloomberg report that retailers are turning to foreign producers to make up for the loss. Retailers are after long potatoes to make their French fries, but there have been less of those as the cold weather has stunted their growth.

"French fry demand has just been outstanding lately, and so supplies can't meet the demand," Travis Blacker, industry-relations director with the Idaho Potato Commission, told Bloomberg.

The US Department of Agriculture predicted in a report on November 8 that the production of potatoes at US farms will drop substantially this year.

potatoDan Kitwood/Getty Images

"Production of potatoes for the 2019 crop year is forecast at 422 million cwt [22.4 million tons] down 6% from last year," it said.

"In Idaho, growers reported losses due to freezing temperatures in late September and early October. Several farmers left potatoes in the ground to avoid the cost of digging them up."

"Washington producers reported some quality concerns due to soil borne issues and freeze damage at the end of the harvest season."

"Prolonged wet conditions during late September and early October hampered harvest progress in the Red River Valley of North Dakota. As of the week ending November 3, harvest was at 73% well behind normal," the department said.

The United Potato Growers of Canada told Bloomberg that about 18% of the potato harvest had to be abandoned this year.

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