May/June 2022 - 31

Are heels still dug in?
Those that enjoy
Buzz Shahan
Chief Operating
Winston Churchill's
witty responses
to other people's
attacks on him will
enjoy this. His forever
antagonist, Lady
Astor, never seemed
to give up in her
quest to embarrass
her arch enemy. At a
state dinner, Churchill
drank more scotch
than he should have,
which he was known to do, and would not let
anyone else get a word in edgewise.
Hoping to shut him up, Lady Astor said:
" Winston, if I were married to you, I'd put
poison in your coffee, " to which Churchill
replied: " If I were married to you, Lady Astor,
I'd drink it. "
While this riposte was done in humor,
there is an element in human beings that
makes one defensive when one's mode of
action is questioned. In fact, research shows
that once a person stakes out a position,
even though that position is later proved
wrong, pride surges and heels dig in.
It is a rare month when this column does
not emphasize the influence that the supply/
demand equilibrium exerts over a potatoproducer's
business. Whether a producer
acknowledges this economic reality or not,
it remains the principal factor in determining
his crop's value.
At UPGA's formation, a minority of potato
producers dug in their heels, taking the
position that they would rather go it alone,
supply/demand equilibrium be damned! The
very assumption that a producer operates
independent of fellow producers was (and is)
nonsense and can be expensive nonsense.
Fifteen years ago, UPGA's database did
not exist and neither did interregional
communication systems based upon that data.
Potato markets were wildly random.
Fifteen years ago, except for a few
process-potato producer organizations,
potato producers operated independently,
each sequestered within its own marketinformation
silo. Sales organizations
depended upon buyer feedback and rumor
to manage sales, not upon key market
data. Hitting a positive fresh-potato market
was a roll of the dice at best. Such is no
longer the case.
Today, regions that embrace UPGA's market
data and communication systems develop
potato-production strategies that keep the
supply/demand equilibrium between the lines
and the potato producer on solid economic
footing. There is no other way to consistently
do it, not for lettuce, citrus, bananas,
Toyotas, Chevrolets, Boeing 737s or any
other production item.
(Freeriders do exist, profiting beneath the
market umbrella provided by fellow producers
that know what they are doing in terms of
production volume.)
Few products in your grocery store's
produce aisle enjoy consumer approval even
close to that of our beloved tuber. Potato
producers outshine other vegetable producers
not only in producing what people want, but
what people love, need and can afford.
For methodically satisfying this public
need, savvy potato producers enjoy both
prosperous businesses and happy lives.
Life is not what it used to be for the potato
producer nor for the potato consumer; the
former receives fair value for obedience to
economic reality, and the consumer enjoys
an abundant supply of nutritious, low cost,
delicious food.
Join us for SpudWeek, featuring three 1-hour interactive webcasts with
industry experts discussing the latest issues facing growers today, as
well as production tips and guidelines to grow successfully.
Sponsored by:
Spudman * May/June 2022

May/June 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of May/June 2022

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