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Abstract

The Michigan potato industry has undergone major transformations in the last twenty-five years. In Michigan the number of farms harvesting potatoes in 1969 was 1.4% of what it was in 1945. Since that date acreage in potatoes in the state decreased by two thirds. The industry deeply felt the shift in consumption from fresh potatoes to processed potato products. The industry has been a stagnant portion of the state agricultural economy with around 2% of the cash receipts from marketings since 1960. Yet there are some indications that the Michigan potato industry has a good potential which could be realized, if certain modifications in the way it markets its products were implemented. This paper focuses on the market for potatoes in their raw form, as opposed to processed potatoes or potato products. It attempts to provide an understanding of the relationship between basically two groups of participants in the market: those who grow potatoes and those who ship them to wholesalers, processors, or retailers. Hopefully, with this understanding, individuals in the industry and in public agencies will have a better basis for evaluating problems and the consequences of the decisions they will make in trying to increase the total revenue in the Michigan potato industry.

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