It’s almost “same old, same old” when it comes to finding transportation for Red River Valley potatoes. Freight rates are up, backhauls are not as plentiful, and every now and then, there is a moderate shortage of trucks, said Tom Campbell, co-owner and sales manager at Campbell Farms, Grafton, N.D.
Campbell said the situation this season appears typical, and he doesn’t expect any serious problems with securing transportation.
Every year, transportation is a concern, said David Moquist, partner and sales manager at O.C. Schulz & Sons Inc., Crystal, N.D.
“It’s always the same story,” he said.
The poor economy has affected sales of many products, and if there aren’t items being trucked into the Red River Valley, it becomes more difficult to hire trucks to take potatoes out.
Moquist said some products are more often being shipped by rail, which also decreases the supply of trucks into the valley.
Still, Moquist said trucking companies are offering their services to Schulz & Sons.
“They claim they can take care of all our needs,” he said. “We’ll see if they can do it.”
Because Schulz & Sons’ crop is short this year, it expects to ship only 12-15 loads a week instead of the typical 20 loads a week.
That eliminates some of the worry about finding enough trucks, Moquist said.
Northern Valley Growers, Hoople, N.D., this year has a transportation agreement with trucking and logistics company Farmers Express Inc., Becker, Minn., said Cory Seim, general manager for Northern Valley, which distributes potatoes to the southeastern U.S.
Farmers Express, which is owned and operated by the owners of shipper Ben Holmes Potato Co., Becker, is transporting all of Northern Valley’s potatoes this season.