French Fries Fall Victim to Wild Weather

December 3, 2019

Early warning of climate caused food pinch.

America’s favorite vegetable dish endangered.
We appear to be still very much under the influence of the weather patterns as we saw in winter/spring of the year – described by scientists above.
I have concerns for the coming winter.


Potato processors are rushing to buy supplies and ship them across North America in order to keep French fries on the menu after cold, wet weather damaged crops in key producers in the U.S. and Canada.

Cool conditions started to hit growing regions in October, lashing potatoes with frost. Farmers in Alberta and Idaho were able to dig up some damaged crops for storage. But growers in Manitoba, North Dakota and Minnesota received snow and rain, forcing them to abandon some supplies in fields.

As the wild weather hurt crops, an increase in fry-processing capacity in Canada has boosted demand. The combination will lead to tight supplies, and it’s likely that potato prices could climb this year across North America, Stephen Nicholson, a senior grains and oilseeds analyst at Rabobank, said in a phone interview. International costs may also rise as the U.S. won’t be able to export as much.

“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, said in a phone interview.

The United Potato Growers of Canada estimates about 12,000 Manitoba acres (about 4,900 hectares), or 18% of the province’s planted area, were left unharvested — equal to what was abandoned for all of Canada last season. About 6.5% of Alberta’s potatoes are estimated to be frost damaged. Manitoba is the country’s second-largest grower, followed by Alberta. Prince Edward Island is No. 1. The government will issue estimates for the nation’s crop on Dec. 6.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts domestic output will drop 6.1% this year to the lowest since 2010, the agency said in a Nov. 8 report. In Idaho, the top producer, output is forecast to fall 5.5%.

Part of the problem for processors is the crop damage means potatoes are coming in smaller. French-fry makers usually favor longer spuds.

In Canada, Cavendish Farms recently opened a new processing plant in Lethbridge, Alberta. Thanks to a better harvest on the country’s East Coast, the company isn’t expecting any customer shortages at this time, Mary Keith, a spokeswoman, said by email.

“It’s a manageable situation,” Kevin MacIsaac, general manager of the United Potato Growers of Canada, said in a phone interview. “Potatoes are going to have to move from one channel to another that they sometimes don’t move in a normal year.”

14 Responses to “French Fries Fall Victim to Wild Weather”

  1. redskylite Says:

    As Climate reports from bodies like the WHO and the WMO get more dire, and still the urgency to cut back on carbon emissions is ignored by a few, it is increasingly obvious mankind’s regional diets are changing and will have to change in the future, and we can live happily without traditional fries, it is low on our list of concerns. Back to the drawing board on spuds. = = = = = = = >

    How Peru’s potato museum could stave off world food crisis

    High in the Peruvian Andes, agronomists are looking to the ancestral knowledge of farmers to identify genetic strains which could help the tubers survive increasingly frequent and intense droughts, floods and frosts.

  2. dumboldguy Says:

    Things are really getting quite serious when climate change starts to impact one of the two most important food groups—-potatoes (the other being meat). We simply cannot sit still for this! It’s Torches and Pitchforks time, all—-mobilize!!

  3. terry123a Says:

    It is colder in parts of Canada and the USA were a lot of potatoes are grown. The world is cooling not warming if it is colder. Lets solve the issue by smoking giant Cuban cigars and flying everywhere in our private jets. Oh wait, only Hilary, Pelosi and Obama have those.

    Per the quote in this article, the issue is a temporary shortage in one part of the country which is solved by shipping abundant crops grown in another part of the country. There is no actual problem except fry demand is up a lot most likely due to the 3.6% unemployment rate, best in 50 years. People have more to spend on fry’s.

    • dumboldguy Says:


    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      Tovarishch, the extra heat from the Arctic Ocean creates high pressure which pushes the polar vortex to lower latitudes.

      Are you impressed at how H, P and O managed to melt the world’s glaciers all by themselves?

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