Fast Food Nation

Every increase in productivity however has driven

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Unformatted text preview: The latest potato harvesting equipment — bright red, beautiful machines manufactured in Idaho by a company called Spudnik — can set a farmer back hundreds of thousands of dollars. It costs about $1,500 an acre to grow potatoes in Bingham County. The average potato farmer there, who plants about four hundred acres, is more than half a million dollars in the hole before selling a single potato. In order to break even, the farmer needs to receive about $5 per hundredweight of potatoes. During the 1996–97 season, potato prices fell as low as $1.50 per hundredweight. That year was a disaster for Idaho potato farmers, perhaps the worst in history. Record harvests nationwide and a flood of cheap imports from Canada created an enormous glut of potatoes. For many farmers, letting potatoes rot in the field would have been more profitable than selling them at such low prices. That was not a viable option, however; rotting potatoes can damage the land. Prices have recovered since then, but remain unusually low. An Idaho potato farmer’s annual income is now...
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This note was uploaded on 02/25/2014 for the course MGMT 120 taught by Professor Litt during the Spring '08 term at UCLA.

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