• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Copyright
 Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Introduction
 Selected farm characteristics,...
 Changes in methods of harvesting,...
 Growing potatoes under contrac...
 Distribution of sales
 Opinions and attitudes of growers...
 Improving market organization and...
 Summary
 Calculation of chi-square
 Federal marketing agreements and...
 Appendix tables
 Literature cited






Group Title: Bulletin - University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station - no. 668
Title: Market organization and practices for potatoes in the Hastings area of Florida
CITATION PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE PAGE TEXT
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00027536/00001
 Material Information
Title: Market organization and practices for potatoes in the Hastings area of Florida
Series Title: Bulletin University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station
Physical Description: 99 p. : charts, maps ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Greene, R. E. L ( Robert Edward Lee ), 1910-
Blair, Paul Titus, 1922-
Publisher: University of Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Publication Date: 1964
 Subjects
Subject: Potatoes -- Marketing -- Florida -- Hastings   ( lcsh )
Potato industry -- Florida -- Hastings   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Bibliography: Bibliography: p. 99.
Statement of Responsibility: R.E.L. Greene and Paul T. Blair.
General Note: Cover title.
General Note: Originally presented as: Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida.
Funding: Bulletin (University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station) ;
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00027536
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Marston Science Library, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Holding Location: Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Engineering and Industrial Experiment Station; Institute for Food and Agricultural Services (IFAS), University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000929051
oclc - 18353726
notis - AEN9819

Table of Contents
    Copyright
        Copyright
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Title Page
        Page 3
    Table of Contents
        Page 4
    Introduction
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Recent changes in the potato industry in the United States
            Page 7
        The problem and purpose of study
            Page 8
            Page 9
        Research procedure
            Page 10
            Page 11
            Page 12
            Page 13
            Page 14
    Selected farm characteristics, potato acreage, and volume sold
        Page 15
        Farm characteristics
            Page 15
        Acres of potatoes planted and harvested
            Page 16
            Page 17
        Volume of sales
            Page 18
            Page 19
    Changes in methods of harvesting, packinghouse operation, and production financing
        Page 20
        Mechanization of harvesting operations
            Page 20
            Page 21
            Page 22
            Page 23
        Ownership and operation of packinghouses
            Page 24
        Production financing
            Page 25
            Page 26
            Page 27
            Page 28
            Page 29
    Growing potatoes under contract
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Contract characteristics
            Page 32
        Opinions about contract growing
            Page 33
            Page 34
            Page 35
            Page 36
            Page 37
        Evaluation of contracting in the hastings area
            Page 38
            Page 39
        Proposed fixed percentage contract
            Page 40
            Page 41
    Distribution of sales
        Page 42
        Number of growers patronizing specified handlers
            Page 42
            Page 43
        Volume of sales by type of handler
            Page 44
            Page 45
        Volume of sales by type of buyer
            Page 46
            Page 47
            Page 48
            Page 49
        Sales by type of market
            Page 50
        Grade and size distribution by type of market and type of buyer
            Page 51
            Page 52
            Page 53
    Opinions and attitudes of growers and shippers relative to market organization and practices
        Page 54
        Problems confronting the potato industry
            Page 54
            Page 55
        Opinions about production and quality
            Page 56
            Page 57
        Opinions about marketing and distribution
            Page 58
            Page 59
            Page 60
            Page 61
            Page 62
            Page 63
            Page 64
        Other opinions
            Page 65
    Improving market organization and practices
        Page 66
        Federal or state marketing agreement and order
            Page 67
            Page 68
            Page 69
            Page 70
            Page 71
            Page 72
        An area-wide cooperative association with one or more central sales agencies
            Page 73
            Page 74
        Growing bargaining association
            Page 75
            Page 76
            Page 77
            Page 78
    Summary
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
    Calculation of chi-square
        Page 83
    Federal marketing agreements and orders
        Page 84
    Appendix tables
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
    Literature cited
        Page 99
Full Text





HISTORIC NOTE


The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source
(EDIS)

site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.






Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
of Florida






/goi ~f


Bulletin 668
March 1964








Market Organization and

Practices for Potatoes

in the
Hastings Area of Florida



R. E. L. Greene and Paul T. Blair












Agricultural Experiment Stations
University of Florida, Gainesville
J. R. Beckenbach, Director















MARKET ORGANIZATION AND
PRACTICES FOR POTATOES
IN THE HASTINGS AREA
OF FLORIDA



R. E. L. GREENE AND PAUL T. BLAIR



Agricultural Economist and Former Research Assistant,
Agricultural Economics Department,
Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, Gainesville










ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Much of the data in this manuscript was originally in a dis-
sertation presented by Paul T. Blair to the Graduate Council
of the University of Florida in partial fulfillment of the require-
ments for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. The authors
wish to express their appreciation to potato growers and potato
handlers in the Hastings area, without whose cooperation this
study would have been impossible.










CONTENTS
Page
INTRODUCTION .. ........... .............. -.. -..........- ... ..... ......... ........... 5
Recent Changes in the Potato Industry in the United States ......... 7
The Problem and Purpose of Study ...................................... ....... 8
Research Procedure ..... ........................ .. ........... .. ....... 10
SELECTED FARM CHARACTERISTICS, POTATO ACREAGE, AND
VOLUME SOLD ................. ....................... ................... 15
Farm Characteristics ...................-...- --............ ..... .... ..... 15
Acres of Potatoes Planted and Harvested ...--................ ........ 16
Volume of Sales .................... ........ .... ....... ....... ....... .. ..... 18
CHANGES IN METHODS OF HARVESTING, PACKINGHOUSE OPERATION, AND
PRODUCTION FINANCING ......... ............................ ................ ...... 20
Mechanization of Harvesting Operations ......... ................... 20
Ownership and Operation of Packinghouses ............................... 24
Production Financing .......... ................... ...... ... .. 25
GROWING POTATOES UNDER CONTRACT .......... .................. ....... 30
Extent of Contract Growing ........- ............... ....... .........-.. 30
Contract Characteristics ........................ ......... 32
Opinions About Contract Growing ...................... .... ...... 33
Evaluation of Contracting in the Hastings Area ................ ........... 38
Proposed Fixed Percentage Contract ................ ......... 40
DISTRIBUTION OF SALES .............. ............................. ----- ....... 42
Number of Growers Patronizing Specified Handlers .................... 42
Volume of Sales by Type of Handler .............................-...... 44
Volume of Sales by Type of Buyer ..............--........ ............... 46
Sales by Type of Market ........... .. ............................. ....... 50
Grade and Size Distribution by Type of Market and Type of Buyer .. 51
OPINIONS AND ATTITUDES OF GROWERS AND SHIPPERS RELATIVE
TO MARKET ORGANIZATION AND PRACTICES .................................. 54
Problems Confronting the Potato Industry ..................... -........ 54
Opinions About Production and Quality ....................- ............ 56
Opinions About Marketing and Distribution .................... .........-. 58
Other Opinions ................... .. .............. .... .. 65
IMPROVING MARKET ORGANIZATION AND PRACTICES .................................. 66
Federal or State Marketing Agreement and Order ......... ......... 67
An Area-Wide Cooperative Association with One or More
Central Sales Agencies ................. ............ ........ ................ .. 73
Grower Bargaining Association ............................ .... ....- .....--. 75
SUM M ARY ......... .... ... .. .............. ............ -......... ........ 79
APPENDIX ............... ......................... ........ .. -----------........ .-. 83
Calculation of Chi-Square ................... ... ...... ....... ... ........ 83
Federal Marketing Agreements and Orders ............. ............. 84
Appendix Tables ......................... ...............-............... 85
LITERATURE CITED .......~.. .. .......... ........ ...... 99











MARKET ORGANIZATION AND

PRACTICES FOR POTATOES

in the Hastings Area of Florida



INTRODUCTION

Production of potatoes in Florida was 7,076,000 hundred-
weights in 1956-57, or 2.9 percent of total United States pro-
duction. During the period 1935 to 1939, Florida produced less
than 1 percent of the nation's supply (4)1. Considering the
time of year in which Florida potatoes enter the market, Flor-

SNumbers in parentheses refer to Literature Cited.


zr-ir- -
ft 9.
.j
i ~x ~"'/
IIii


-~I

" i' : ,t 'J
.'

' ,-, 4





r .



a


.. '


Figure 1.-Location of Hastings potato producing area, Florida, 1958.







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


ida's production is of more significance than the above data in-
dicate. From December through April almost the entire domestic
supply of new potatoes comes from Florida. The annual value
of Florida Irish potatoes was almost $20 million during the 1954-
55 to 1957-58 period. Acreage harvested annually has about
doubled since 1950. Florida's winter crop potatoes, most of
which are marketed from December through March, are produced
in the southern part of the state. Spring crop potatoes, mar-
keted from April through June, are produced in the northern
part of the state. The spring crop makes up about 60 percent
of Florida's annual potato acreage.
The Hastings potato area is defined as the combined potato
producing area of three adjoining counties-Flagler, Putnam,
and St. Johns (Figure 1). Normally, about one-half of the total
production of potatoes is in St. Johns County. The remainder is
about equally divided between Putnam and Flagler counties.
Approximately 85 to 90 percent of Florida's spring crop potato
acreage is located in the Hastings area. In 1954 the value of
potatoes harvested constituted 75 percent of the total value of
all farm products sold in St. Johns County, 78 percent in Flagler,
and 31 percent in Putnam County (Table 1).

TABLE 1.-VALUE OF ALL FARM PRODUCTS SOLD, VALUE OF POTATOES HAR-
VESTED, AND PERCENT VALUE OF POTATOES HARVESTED WAS OF VALUE OF
ALL FARM PRODUCTS SOLD, BY COUNTIES, HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, 1954.

Value of Potatoes
Value of All Value of Harvested as a
County Farm Products Potatoes Percent of Value of
Sold* Harvested** All Farm Products
_Sold
(dollars) (dollars) (percent)
St. Johns 7,123,525 5,322,525 74.7
Flagler 2,054,934 1,602,720 78.0
Putnam 4,635,356 1,454,055 31.4

Total 13,813,815 8,379,300 60.7

Taken from 1954 Census of Agriculture, Vol. I, Counties and State Economic Areas,
Part 18, Florida.
** Calculated from production data and average prices reported in Florida Vegetable
Crops, Vol. X, 1954.







Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


,Recent Changes in the Potato Industry
in the United States

All segments of the Irish potato industry in the United States
have undergone rapid changes and adjustments in recent years.
Concurrently developing changes in different segments of the
industry have added to the complexity and uncertainty involved
in the production and marketing of potatoes.
In the consumption segment, the major change has been the
swiftly expanding demand for potatoes in various processed
forms. The total quantity used in all processed products in-
creased from 39 million bushels in 1953 to 88 million bushels in
1959 (Table 2). This was a 126 percent increase and reflected a
per capital consumption that increased from 14.8 to 31.0 pounds.
Per capital consumption in fresh form decreased from 97 pounds
in 1953 to 79 pounds in 1959.

TABLE 2.-UTILIZATION OF IRISH POTATOES IN SPECIFIED FORMS OF PROC-
ESSED PRODUCTS AND PER CAPITAL CONSUMPTION OF FRESH AND PROCESSED
POTATO FOOD PRODUCTS, UNITED STATES, CROP YEARS 1953 TO 1959.

Use Classification ICrop Year*
S1953 1954 I 1955 | 1956 I 1957 1958 1 1959
(million bushels)
Processed products:**
Flour 1.6 2.6 2.9 3.0 2.0 3.1 2.5
Dehydrated 3.4 3.0 4.7 5.0 6.8 15.1 17.0
Canned 1.3 0.8 1.3 1.4 1.6 1.6 1.5
Hash, stews, soup 1.0 0.8 0.8 1.3 2.4 2.5 2.5
Frozen french fried 2.7 3.6 7.7 9.0 8.0 12.6 17.5
Potato chips 29.0 32.0 39.3 45.0 45.0 47.0 47.0

Total 39.0 42.8 56.7 64.7 65.8 81.9 88.0

(pounds)
Civilian per capital
consumption for food:
Processed forms 14.8 15.9 20.7 23.5 23.4 28.7 31.0
Fresh form 96.9 89.0 83.3 82.7 81.0 78.8 79.0

Total 111.7 104.9 104.0 106.2 104.4 107.5 110.0

May through April.
** Industry estimates.
Source: Potato Utilization Table, furnished by The National Potato Council, 542 Munsey
Buildings, Washington 4, D. C.






Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


Impressive changes have taken place in the marketing and
distribution segment of the potato industry. The merger move-
ment in the retail food distribution industry has led to further
concentration of food store sales and purchases. Between 1955
and 1958, about 2,650 locally operated food stores with an esti-
mated annual sales volume of nearly $3 billion were consolidated
through mergers (11). This trend toward large scale operations
in food distribution has been accompanied by greater emphasis
on quality control and increased demand for consumer packs
ready for retail display.

The Problem and Purpose of Study
Factors affecting the national potato industry have had their
impact on the potato industry in the Hastings area. The swiftly
expanded demand for potatoes used in making potato chips and
the need of chippers for a supply of early potatoes have been es-
pecially important. During the period of the rapid growth of
the processing industry, sales of potatoes from the Hastings
area to processors increased greatly. By the 1958 season, more
than half of the area's production was being sold to processors.
Growers in the Hastings area experienced unusually good
financial returns from 1952 to 1956. Prior to the 1944-45 season,
the value of the spring crop in Florida seldom exceeded $3 mil-
lion (Table 3). The value of the spring crop was more than $12
million in the 1951-52 season and almost $15 million in the
1954-55 season. Increase in income was due in part to the in-
crease in demand for potatoes from processors. These were
also years of good yields of high quality potatoes. The demand
for the Hastings crop was also affected by a series of unusual cir-
cumstances outside of the area, such as the Korean War, hurri-
cane Hazel in the fall of 1954, and a late spring freeze in 1955.
The acreage of potatoes planted in the 1956-57 and 1957-58
seasons was almost 20 percent more than the average acreage
during the 1952-56 period. Less favorable growing conditions
during these years resulted in lower yields per acre and also
a lower quality product. These factors, together with a more
normal supply situation outside of the Hastings area, resulted
in a gross income of less than 60 percent of what farmers had
received.
During the years that incomes were high, many changes
occurred in the Hastings' potato industry. Many growers paid








Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


off debts and also increased the size of their holdings. New
growers were attracted to the area. Growers made capital in-
vestments in improving their farms, purchased new equipment,
and in many cases invested in new packing facilities. Many
growers pulled away from their established sales agencies, and
a number of new sales agencies were started in the area. The
keen demand for potatoes from processors, together with a some-
what less exacting requirement as to packing and grading, was
thought to have lowered the quality of potatoes packed. The
introduction of contract growing by processors also affected the
normal channels through which a part of the crop was marketed.
Numerous explanations were given for the low returns in
the 1956-57 and 1957-58 seasons without too much emphasis
being placed on the lower quality product, a more normal market-

TABLE. 3.-ACREAGE, YIELD, PRICE PER UNIT, AND VALUE OF SPRING
POTATOES, FLORIDA, 1929 TO 1960*.


I
Season** Acres
Harvested


5-season
average:
1929-30 to
1933-34
1934-35 to
1938-39
1939-40 to
1943-44
1944-45 to
1948-49
1949-50
1950-51
1951-52
1952-53
1953-54
1954-55
1955-56
1956-57
1957-58
1958-59
1959-60
1960-61


19,680
19,040
17,010
15,820
14,800
15,700
19,900
26,500
21,200
25,200
25,700
31,300
30,900
25,000
27,300
24,400


I Yield I
S per
Acre
(cwt.)


Total Price Value Total
Pro- per per Acre Value
duction Cwt. Harvested


(1,000
cwt.)


(dollars) (dollars) (1,000
dollars)


66 1,299 1.93 127 2,507
65 1,238 1.73 112 2,142
83 1,412 2.15 178 3,036


1,519
1,881
2,474
3,048
3,541
3,716
3,776
3,998
4,116
4,286
2,868
3,435
4,500


5,043
5,175
6,724
12,189
8,449
9,802
14,856
14,315
7,576
8,588
8,933
12,679
9,552


The Hastings area accounts for about 90 percent of the production of Florida spring
crop potatoes.
** The five-season averages were derived from Table 1, page 9, Florida Agricultural
Experiment Station Bulletin 472, September 1950. Data for individual seasons, 1949-50
through 1960-61 were obtained from Volumes XIV and XVII, Florida Vegetable Crops,
Florida Crop and Livestock Reporting Service, Orlando, Florida.







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


ing situation, and the increased volume of potatoes that was
being placed on the market. Many growers and shippers were
of the opinion that the increase in competition for sales due
to the increase in number of sales agencies had resulted in
prices lower than would have occurred otherwise. Leaders in
the industry began to examine various ways by which the in-
dustry might acquire a stronger and more unified marketing
position. Two means to which particular attention were given
were a federal marketing order and agreement program and a
central sales agency.
Group action was hampered by the diversity of opinions and
attitudes and the lack of reliable information about general
conditions and practices necessary to evaluate the proposed pro-
grams. Grower and shipper representatives requested that a
study be made to provide the industry with more adequate in-
formation to serve as a basis of reconciling differences or aiming
at correct conclusions. This study was undertaken to describe
and evaluate recent changes in marketing organization and prac-
tices for potatoes produced in the area. Its specific objectives
were:
1. To describe and evaluate changes in the Hastings potato
industry during the five-year period 1953-54 to 1957-58
in market organization, grower and shipper practices, and
in the amount of potatoes going to processors.
2. To determine the opinion and attitudes of growers and
shippers relative to market organization and practices.
3. To evaluate the probable effects of some alternative pro-
posals for improving the marketing of potatoes in the
Hastings area.

Research Procedure
There were two primary groups-growers and handlers-
from which information could be obtained.2 The grower popu-
lation included all individuals and organizations in the Hastings
area that produced potatoes for market during the 1957-58
season. Information on changes in production, harvesting, fi-
nancing, packing, and marketing, and opinions of growers relative
2 "Handler" is the term most commonly used in the Hastings area to
designate those who perform the sales agent function. The term "grower-
handler" is used to designate those producers who perform the sales agent
function themselves.







Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


to certain production and marketing practices were obtained
from this group.
The handler population included all persons or agencies,
within or outside the Hastings area, that sold potatoes for one
or more Hastings area producers during the 1957-58 season.
The main information obtained from this group concerned the
distribution of sales by grade and size, by type of buyer, and by
type of market.
Grower Sample.-A list containing the names, addresses, and
estimated 1957-58 potato acreage for all known growers in the
Hastings area was obtained for each county from the respective
County agricultural agent. This list included 269 growers. Acres
of potatoes per grower were extremely skewed, with over two-
thirds of the producers growing less than 100 acres of potatoes
and less than one-tenth with 250 acres or more (Table 4). The
grower population was stratified into three size groups: (a) less
than 100 acres, (b) 100 to 249 acres, and (c) 250 acres or more.
Each size group accounted for about one-third of the total 1957-58
potato acreage and hereafter are referred to as small, medium,
and large farms, respectively.

TABLE 4.-NUMBER AND PERCENT OF GROWERS, NUMBER AND PERCENT OF
ACREAGE, AND RANGE IN POTATO ACREAGE, BY SIZE OF FARM, HASTINGS AREA,
FLORIDA, 1958.

Size of Growers Acres
Farm Number ] Percent | Number ] Percent I Range
Small 183 68.0 8,467 31.8 5- 93
Medium 61 22.7 8,749 32.9 100 227
Large 25 9.3 9,403 35.3 255 -632

Total 269 100.0 26,619 100.0 5 632


Resources available for the study were estimated to be suffi-
cient for including 90 to 100 producers in the grower sample.
A disproportionate sampling rate was used in allocating the
sample among the three size-of-farm groups (Table 5).
A systematic random process was used to select sample and also
alternate growers from each group. Growers were arrayed by
counties in each size group in order that county representation
in the sample would be proportionate to the total number of
growers in the county. Records were obtained for 52 small,
25 medium, and 16 large farms.







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


TABLE 5.-SAMPLE ALLOCATION AND RELATED INFORMATION FOR POTATO
PRODUCERS, BY SIZE OF FARM, HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, 1958.

Item iSize of Farm I All
___Small Medium Large Farms
Number of growers:
Total 183 61 25 269
In sample 52 25 16 93
Sampling fraction 0.28 0.41 0.64 0.34
Number of acres:
Total 8,467 8,749 9,403 26,619
In sample 2,360 3,415 5,927 11,702
Average number of acres
per grower:
All growers 46 143 376 99
In sample 45 142 395 129


Handler Sample.-A probability sample of handlers could
not be obtained since a complete list was not available. The
difficulty of making contact with some handlers would have
presented a major problem even if a complete list had been ac-
quired, as they were not operating in the area at the time of
the study. A list of handlers was prepared from information
obtained from growers interviewed (Table 6). The handler
sample was arbitrarily selected to include only the first seven
listed in Table 6, as they appeared to be the most important in
the area. Sales of these seven handlers plus sales made by indi-
vidual growers included about 74 percent of all sales from the
Hastings area in 1958 and 90 percent in 1957 (Table 7).

TABLE 6.-NUMBER OF HANDLERS INVOLVED IN DISPOSING OF THE 1957-58
CROP OF SAMPLE GROWERS AND NUMBER OF GROWERS USING EACH HANDLER,
HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, 1958.
Handler ,Number of Growers Handler Number of Growers
Number Using Handler* Number Using Handler*
1 28 12 1
2 16 13 1
3 13 14 1
4 8 15 1
5 4 16 1
6 3 17 1
7 3 18 1
8 2 19 1
9 2 20 1
10 2 21 1
11 1
Total** 92


* Some growers used more than one handler.
** Does not include 11 growers who sold all of their own potatoes.







Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


TABLE 7.-DISTRIBUTION OF TOTAL POTATO SALES, BY SPECIFIED HANDLERS,
HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, 1957 AND 1958.

Handler Year
1957 I 1958
(cwt) (percent) (cwt) (percent)
Grower handlers* 1,072,961 30.0 1,077,319 29.6
Seven sample handlers 2,144,892 60.1 1,610,399 44.2
Other handlers** 352,147 9.9 952,282 26.2

Total Hastings area sales 3,570,000 100.0 3,640,000 100.0

*Estimated total sales computed by expanding grower probability sample totals.
** Total sales for "other handlers" computed as the residual of total Hastings area sales
after deducting grower sales and agency sales.
t Total area sales for 1957 and 1958 as reported in Florida Vegetable Crops, Anssual
Statistical Summary, Vol. XIII, 1957 and Vol. XIV, 1958.

Method of Obtaining Data.-Data were obtained from grow-
ers and handlers by personal interview and from pertinent rec-
ords. Opinions and attitudes of handlers were given by firm
owners or managers. Data on distribution of sales by grade
and size were taken directly from 1957 and 1958 sales invoices.
Buyers listed on invoices were classified by the firm managers
according to type3 and also whether they purchased for the
fresh market, the processed market, or a combination of the
two. If a buyer purchased for both markets, the firm manager
was asked to estimate the distribution of potatoes between the
two markets.
Method of Analysis.-Data from the grower sample were
analyzed to show comparisons between the three size groups
relative to changes in production, harvesting, packing, financing,
contracting, and marketing for the period 1953-54 to 1957-58.
Opinions and attitudes existing at the time of interview are
presented by size group. Group weights were calculated and
used to expand sample results to population estimates for cer-
tain characteristics4, and for estimating population totals for

8 Types of buyers consisted of retailers, processors, wholesale receivers,
local buying brokers, and others.
4 Group weights referred to are the reciprocals of the sampling fraction
for the respective size groups. The sampling fraction was 0.284 for
small farms, 0.410 for medium farms, and 0.640 for large farms. The
reciprocals for these fractions yield 3.52, 2.44 and 1.56 as appropriate group
weights for the small, medium, and large farms, respectively. Thus, a pop-
ulation total may be estimated by WiS + W2M + WsL, where S, M, and L
denote group totals for the small, medium, and large farms, respectively,
and W1, W2, and W. denote appropriate group weights.







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


the four seasons prior to 1957-58, on which the sample was
based5.
Growers were asked to specify the amount of money bor-
rowed annually to finance potato production. If respondents
did not wish to state the amount borrowed, they were asked to
estimate the percentage of their total production cost which was
borrowed annually during the five-year period 1953-54 to 1957-58.
These percentages were converted to dollar amounts on the basis
of average annual per acre cost of producing potatoes for the
Hastings area.6 Information relative to changes in the source
of borrowed funds was also enumerated.
Data from the handler survey were analyzed to show distri-
bution of sales by grade and size, utilization for fresh or pro-
cessed market, and type of buyers. The seven handlers included
do not constitute a probability sample, which places theoretical
limitations on expanding the sample data into estimates for the
population. However, these limitations were not considered
serious, since a large proportion of the total Hastings area sales
were accounted for in the estimates.
Information concerning opinions and attitudes of important
handlers should be useful to all industry participants. How-
ever, due to the arbitrary nature of sample selecting there is no
statistical basis for claiming that the attitudes and opinions of
the seven handlers are representatives of the handler population
from which they were selected.

6 It is recognized that the use of the group weights based on the sam-
pling fractions as a means of estimating population totals for previous years
does not take into account growers that may have gone out of business
during the period studied. This is not considered to be a serious limitation
in this study due to the fact that the period covered was one of general
expansion in the industry and only a very few producers in the area went
out of business during the period. Further indication that the limitation
is not serious in this case is the close agreement of estimates for prior
years with particular totals available from secondary sources.
Annual per acre cost of production data were taken from Florida Vege-
table Crops, Annual Statistical Summary (Florida Crop .and Livestock Re-
porting Service, Orlando, Florida) Vol. X, 1954; Vol. XI, 1955; Vol. XII,
1956; Vol. XIII, 1957. The potato production cost section was discontinued
with the 1957 report. Since no data were available on production cost for
the 1957-58 season, calculations were made on the assumption that costs
were the same as those reported for 1957.







Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


SELECTED FARM CHARACTERISTICS, POTATO
ACREAGE, AND VOLUME SOLD

The potato industry in the Hastings area is highly specialized.
As previously indicated, potatoes constitute the main source of
farm income. In this section, a discussion is given of selected
farm characteristics, acreage, and amount of potatoes produced
during the period covered. Sample totals have been expanded
to yield estimates for all farms in the area.

Farm Characteristics
Growers on large farms tended to be somewhat older than
those on small and medium farms (Table 8). The average age
of all growers in 1958 was 48 years. Operators of medium and
large farms had an average of 20 years experience in growing
potatoes compared with 16 years for operators of small farms.

TABLE 8.-SPECIFIED CHARACTERISTICS OF COMMERCIAL POTATO OPERATIONS,
BY SIZE OF FARM, HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, 1958.

Item Size of Farm All
SSmall I Medium I Large [Farms
Age of growers (years) 47 47 52 48
Years of experience in growing
potatoes in the Hastings area 16 20 20 18
Cabbage:*
Number growers producing 99 32 17 148
Total acres planted 2,246 1,425 1,750 5,421
Average acres per farm 23 45 103 37
Total acres followed by
potatoes 116 85 81 282
Estimated number of potato
growers in Hastings area:*
1953-54 148 51 22 221
1954-55 151 54 22 227
1955-56 165 61 23 249
1956-57 180 61 23 264
1957-58 183 61 25 269
Percent increase in number of
growers from 1954 to 1958 23.6 19.6 13.6 21.7

Computed from Appendix Table 1.

Cabbage production was important as a supplementary enter-
prise on many farms. About 55 percent of the producers had
cabbage enterprises in the 1957-58 season. An estimated total







Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


SELECTED FARM CHARACTERISTICS, POTATO
ACREAGE, AND VOLUME SOLD

The potato industry in the Hastings area is highly specialized.
As previously indicated, potatoes constitute the main source of
farm income. In this section, a discussion is given of selected
farm characteristics, acreage, and amount of potatoes produced
during the period covered. Sample totals have been expanded
to yield estimates for all farms in the area.

Farm Characteristics
Growers on large farms tended to be somewhat older than
those on small and medium farms (Table 8). The average age
of all growers in 1958 was 48 years. Operators of medium and
large farms had an average of 20 years experience in growing
potatoes compared with 16 years for operators of small farms.

TABLE 8.-SPECIFIED CHARACTERISTICS OF COMMERCIAL POTATO OPERATIONS,
BY SIZE OF FARM, HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, 1958.

Item Size of Farm All
SSmall I Medium I Large [Farms
Age of growers (years) 47 47 52 48
Years of experience in growing
potatoes in the Hastings area 16 20 20 18
Cabbage:*
Number growers producing 99 32 17 148
Total acres planted 2,246 1,425 1,750 5,421
Average acres per farm 23 45 103 37
Total acres followed by
potatoes 116 85 81 282
Estimated number of potato
growers in Hastings area:*
1953-54 148 51 22 221
1954-55 151 54 22 227
1955-56 165 61 23 249
1956-57 180 61 23 264
1957-58 183 61 25 269
Percent increase in number of
growers from 1954 to 1958 23.6 19.6 13.6 21.7

Computed from Appendix Table 1.

Cabbage production was important as a supplementary enter-
prise on many farms. About 55 percent of the producers had
cabbage enterprises in the 1957-58 season. An estimated total







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


of 5,421 acres was planted on 148 farms for an average of 37
acres per farm. About 54 percent of the operators of small
farms produced cabbage, compared with 52 percent for medium
and 68 percent for large farms. Only about 5 percent of the total
cabbage acreage was followed by potatoes. No other cash crops
of significance were reported.
The number of potato growers in the area increased 21.7 per-
cent during the five-year period studied. The increase was 24
percent on small farms, compared with 20 percent on medium
and 14 percent on large farms.

Acres of Potatoes Planted and Harvested

Acres planted in potatoes increased from 18,052 in 1953-54 to
26,410 in 1957-58, an increase of 46 percent (Table 9). All size
groups showed annual increases in planted acreage of all pota-
toes throughout the five-year period except medium farms, which
had a slight decline in 1957-58. In each group, the relative in-
creases were greater for red than for white potatoes. However,
red potatoes accounted for only about 7 percent of total planted
acreage in the 1957-58 season. The sharpest increase in planted
acreage occurred in the 1956-57 season.


Index


Legend:
Small farms
Medium farms _
Large farms __-


0nI I


1953-54


1955-56
Season


1957-58


Figure 2.-Relative change in acres of potatoes harvested,
Hastings area, Florida, 1953-54 to 1957-58.
(Seasons 1953-54 to 1957-58 100.)
Source: Table 9.


by size of farm,


,,, -J







Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


TABLE 9.-ESTIMATED ACRES OF POTATOES PLANTED AND HARVESTED, BY
TYPE OF POTATO AND SIZE OF FARM, HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA,
1953-54 TO 1957-58*


SType of Potatoes
White potatoes I Red potatoes I All potatoes
I PlantedjHarvestedl PlantedlHarvestedl PlantediHarvested


Small Farms


5,917
6,336
7,198
8,159
8,518


5,903
6,336
7,198
8,092
7,973


6,174
6,677
7,546
8,814
9,236


6,160
6,677
7,546
8,747
8,677


5-season average 7,226



1953-54 5,439
1954-55 5,917
1955-56 5,917
1956-57 7,903
1957-58 7,505
5-season average 6,536


1953-54
1954-55
1955-56
1956-57
1957-58


6,184
6,917
7,181
8,592
8,636


7,100 464 461 7,690 7,561

Medium Farms


5,439
5,917
5,917
7,830
6,964
6,413



6,184
6,917
7,181
8,530
7,900


5,476 5,476
6,027 6,027
6,039 6,039
8,169 8,086
7,912 7,371
6,724 6,599


Large Farms


6,402
7,135
7,477
9,026
9,262


6,402
7,135
7,477
8,964
8,448


5-season average 7,502


1953-54
1954-55
1955-56
1956-57
1957-58


17,540
19,170
20,296
24,654
24,659


7,342 358 343 7,860 7,685

All Farms


17,526
19,170
20,296
24,452
22,837


512
669
766
1,355
1,751


512
669
766
1,345
1,659


18,052
19,839
21,062
26,009
26,410


18,038
19,839
21,062
25,797
24,496


5-season average 21,264 20,856 1,011


990 22,275 21,846


Computed from Apppendix Table 2.

Acres of potatoes harvested were approximately equal to the
number planted from 1953-54 to 1956-57. About 7 percent of
the planted acreage was not harvested in the 1957-58 season due
to a combination of poor quality and low prices toward the end
of the season. The relative change in acreage harvested did not
differ greatly among size groups (Figure 2).


Season


1953-54
1954-55
1955-56
1956-57
1957-58







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


Volume of Sales
The estimated total volume of potato sales in the Hastings
area increased from 3.1 million hundredweights in 1953-54 to
4.0 million in 1956-57 and then declined to 3.7 million in 1957-58
(Table 10). Peak volume of sales on small farms was attained in
1955-56 but sales on medium and large farms did not reach a
peak until 1956-57. For the five seasons, the three groups had
about equal total sales but medium farms accounted for only 19
percent of the average sales of red potatoes compared with 38
and 43 percent for the large and small farms, respectively. The
rate of increase in the volume of all potatoes sold was relatively
stable from 1953-54 to 1956-57 (Figure 3). The decrease in
sales during the 1957-58 season reflected a lower yield and a
larger than usual unharvested acreage.
Index
120

115


105

100









1953-54 1954-55 1955-56 1956-57 1957-58
Season
Figure 3.-Relative change in total volume of potato sales and average
sales per acre, Hastings area, Florida, 1953-54 to 1957-58.
(Seasons 1953-54 to 1957-58 = 100.)
Source: Table 10.

Average sales per acre harvested were relatively stable for
each size group from 1953-54 to 1955-56 but dropped to much
lower levels during the last two years studied. Seasonal average
sales per acre for all potatoes were highest on medium farms
and lowest on small farms. Red potato sales per acre averaged







Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


highest in the large farm group. It exceeded those for white
potatoes for medium and large farms. The relatively low level
of sales per acre in 1956-57 and 1957-58 reflects extremely un-
favorable growing conditions (Figure 3).

TABLE 10.-ESTIMATED HUNDREDWEIGHTS OF POTATOES SOLD AND AVERAGE
SALES PER ACRE HARVESTED, BY TYPE OF POTATO AND SIZE OF FARM,
HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, 1953-54 TO 1957-58*.

Type of Potatoes
Season White potatoes Red potatoes I All potatoes
Total Average Total I Average ITotal I Average
sales per acre sales I per acre sales I per acre
hundredweightss)
Small Farms

1953-54 991,855 168 42,001 163 1,033,856 168
1954-55 1,066,014 168 57,823 169 1,123,837 168
1955-56 1,245,654 173 57,147 164 1,302,801 173
1956-57 1,177,475 146 97,476 149 1,274,951 146
1957-58 1,133,609 142 103,041 146 1,236,650 143

5-season average 1,122,921 158 71,498 155 1,194,419 158
Medium Farms


1953-54 966,301 178 7,320 200
1954-55 1,099,354 186 21,960 200
1955-56 1,066,597 180 23,912 196
1956-57 1,241,374 159 42,529 166
1957-58 1,086,149 156 66,024 162
5-season average 1,091,955 170 32,349 174


973,621
1,121,314
1,090,509
1,283,903
1,152,173
1,124,304


Large Farms


1953-54
1954-55
1955-56
1956-57
1957-58


1,092,374
1,177,415
1,285,877
1,320,989
1,228,849


41,028
42,120
57,112
83,671
95,982


1,133,402
1,219,535
1,342,989
1,404,660
1,324,831


178
186
181
159
156
170



177
171
180
157
157


5-season average 1,221,100


166 63,983 187


1,285,083 167


All Farms


1953-54 3,050,530 175 90,349
1954-55 3,342,783 174 121,903
1955-56 3,598,128 178 138,171
1956-57 3,739,838 154 223,676
1957-58 3,448,607 153 265,047

5-season average 3,435,977 166 167,829

Computed from Appendix Table 3.


181 3,140,879 175
186 3,464,686 175
185 3,736,299 178
174 3,963,514 155
164 3,713,654 153

175, 3,603,806 166






Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


CHANGES IN METHODS OF HARVESTING, PACKING-
HOUSE OPERATION, AND PRODUCTION FINANCING
Many of the changes occurring in the Hastings area during
the 1950's were associated with the advent of mechanical harves-
ing. Other changes resulted largely from the very favorable
income received in each of the five seasons from 1952 to 1956.
With the advent of more complete mechanical harvesting, old
packing facilities had to be altered to permit handling of bulk
potatoes, or new packinghouses had to be constructed. Some
growers built new packinghouses with the change to mechanical
harvesting. Others built houses even though they made no
change in their method of harvesting. Operation of their own
packinghouses may have influenced growers to start selling their
own potatoes or shift from their usual sales organization, es-
pecially the cooperative associations.
Sources of production credit did not remain the same in
many cases because changes took place in the party or parties
performing the selling function. All of these factors seemed to
have been important in changes in market organization and prac-
tices in the area.

Mechanization of Harvesting Operations
Systems used for havesting and handling potatoes may be
classified as (a) the conventional system, (b) the completely
mechanized system, and (c) the partially mechanized system.
Equipment used in the conventional system is a roto-beater, a
two-row digger, and necessary pickup and field containers. In
the conventional system, the potatoes are hauled from the field
to the packinghouse on flat-bed trucks. The field containers are
loaded and unloaded by hand. In the completely mechanized
system of harvesting, the potatoes are dug with two-row me-
chanical harvesters that load them directly into a hopper-type
bulk body mounted on trucks or trailer. The potatoes are hauled
to the packinghouses in the bulk body and are unloaded by
means of a conveyor in the bottom of the body. In the partially
mechanized system, the potatoes are usually dug with a one- or
two-row machine that places them in field bags. The field bags
are hauled to the packinghouse the same as in the conventional
method. A roto-beater may or may not be used with mechanical
equipment depending on make of equipment, type of vine elimi-
nation, and other factors.






Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


CHANGES IN METHODS OF HARVESTING, PACKING-
HOUSE OPERATION, AND PRODUCTION FINANCING
Many of the changes occurring in the Hastings area during
the 1950's were associated with the advent of mechanical harves-
ing. Other changes resulted largely from the very favorable
income received in each of the five seasons from 1952 to 1956.
With the advent of more complete mechanical harvesting, old
packing facilities had to be altered to permit handling of bulk
potatoes, or new packinghouses had to be constructed. Some
growers built new packinghouses with the change to mechanical
harvesting. Others built houses even though they made no
change in their method of harvesting. Operation of their own
packinghouses may have influenced growers to start selling their
own potatoes or shift from their usual sales organization, es-
pecially the cooperative associations.
Sources of production credit did not remain the same in
many cases because changes took place in the party or parties
performing the selling function. All of these factors seemed to
have been important in changes in market organization and prac-
tices in the area.

Mechanization of Harvesting Operations
Systems used for havesting and handling potatoes may be
classified as (a) the conventional system, (b) the completely
mechanized system, and (c) the partially mechanized system.
Equipment used in the conventional system is a roto-beater, a
two-row digger, and necessary pickup and field containers. In
the conventional system, the potatoes are hauled from the field
to the packinghouse on flat-bed trucks. The field containers are
loaded and unloaded by hand. In the completely mechanized
system of harvesting, the potatoes are dug with two-row me-
chanical harvesters that load them directly into a hopper-type
bulk body mounted on trucks or trailer. The potatoes are hauled
to the packinghouses in the bulk body and are unloaded by
means of a conveyor in the bottom of the body. In the partially
mechanized system, the potatoes are usually dug with a one- or
two-row machine that places them in field bags. The field bags
are hauled to the packinghouse the same as in the conventional
method. A roto-beater may or may not be used with mechanical
equipment depending on make of equipment, type of vine elimi-
nation, and other factors.








Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


A more complete mechanization of the harvesting operation
has expanded rapidly in recent years. Increasing labor costs
and problems associated with obtaining an adequate supply of
labor when it is needed are contributing factors to the mechani-
zation movement.
It was estimated that 88 of the 269 Hastings area growers
owned mechanical harvesters in 1958 (Table 11). Over one-
half of the owners were in the small farm group, but the propor-
tion of growers owning mechanical harvesters was much higher
on medium and large farms. Expansion of sample data indi-
cated there were 130 mechanical harvesters in the area in 1958,
of which one-half were one-row machines found mostly on small
farms. No mechanical harvesters were purchased by growers
prior to 1954. The number bought annually increased rapidly

TABLE 11.-ESTIMATED DISTRIBUTION OF OWNERSHIP OF MECHANICAL
HARVESTERS, BY TYPE OF MACHINE AND NUMBER OF HARVESTERS PURCHASED,
BY DATE OF PURCHASE AND SIZE OF FARM, HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, 1958*.

Item I Size of Farm
I Small Medium I Large I All farms


Number of growers in
Hastings area
Number of growers owning
mechanical harvesters
in 1958
Percent of all growers owning
mechanical harvesters


Number of mechanical harvesters
owned:
1-row machines
2-row machines
Total

Average number of machines
per owner
Estimated number of machines
purchased in:
1954
1955
1956
1957
1958
Date unknown
Total

Computed from Appendix Table 4.


183 61


49 27


46 10
11 37


25 269


12 88


9 65
17 65


57 47 26 130


1.16 1.74 2.17 1.48


4 5 9
14 14
21 12 15 48
4 22 2 28
7 8 9 24
7 7
57 47 26 130







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


from 1954 to a peak of 48 machines in 1956. Purchases in 1957
and 1958 were approximately one-half the level in 1956, no doubt
reflecting the unfavorable production and marketing conditions
which tended to weaken the financial position of growers in
these years.
Mechanical harvester owners used their machines primarily
to harvest their own potatoes (Table 12). Growers on medium
size farms made more intensive use of harvesters on both an
absolute and relative basis than those on small and large farms.
For all farms, 44 percent of the total acreage was harvested me-
chanically in 1958. Custom harvesting was much more prevalent
on small and medium than on large farms. The average custom
rate charged in 1958 was 38.1 cents per graded hundredweight.

TABLE 12.-ESTIMATED TOTAL ACRES OF POTATOES HARVESTED, EXTENT OF
USE OF MECHANICAL HARVESTERS AND THE AVERAGE CUSTOM RATE CHARGED,
BY SIZE OF FARM, HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, 1958.*
-I
Item Size of Farm
Small I Medium I Large ] All farms

Acres of potatoes harvested
by all harvesting methods 8,677 7,371 8,447 24,495
Acres of potatoes harvested
with mechanical
harvesters:
Owner's crop 2,696 3,284 3,233 9,213
Custom basis for others 722 703 156 1,581
Total 3,418 3,987 3,389 10,794
Percent of total acres
harvested with mechanical
harvesters 39.4 54.1 40.1 44.1
Average custom rate charged
(cents per graded
hundredweight) 36.2 42.5 37.5 38.1

Computed from Appendix Table 4.

Growers interviewed who owned mechanical harvesters were
asked to state their main reasons for making the change. The
labor problem was cited by 24 of the 33 harvester owners (Table
13). Two segments of the problem were felt to be important-
the labor supply was not dependable, and labor costs per unit
were high. Many growers felt the labor problem in terms of
supply and cost would get progressively worse. About two-
thirds of the harvester owners said they converted to mechanical







Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


harvesting because they thought it would be more economical
than the conventional method. Underlying this reason was the
feeling that labor cost would continue to rise. Of the 33 har-
vester owners, 10 gave various other reasons for changing.
Some felt there would be less physical injuries to potatoes. Others
believed they could get potatoes removed from weather exposure
faster by using mechanical equipment.

TABLE 13.-NUMBER OF SAMPLE GROWERS OWNING MECHANICAL HARVESTERS
AND SUMMARY OF REASONS FOR CONVERTING TO MECHANICAL HARVESTING,
BY SIZE OF FARM, HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, 1958.

Item ___Size of Farm
Small Medium Large All farms
(number)
Growers owning mechanical
harvesters 14 11 8 33
Reason for using mechanical
harvesters:
Labor problem 12 8 4 24
More economical 5 8 8 21
Other 6 4 10
Total* 23 20 12 55
Some growers gave more than one reason.

The 60 sample growers who did not own mechanical harvest-
ers were asked to state their reasons for not buying. The main
reasons of operators of small farms were insufficient acreage and
the relatively large investment requirement (Table 14). On

TABLE 14.-NUMBER OF SAMPLE GROWERS NOT OWNING AND SUMMARY OF
REASONS FOR NOT BUYING MECHANICAL HARVESTERS, BY SIZE OF FARM,
HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, 1958.

Item Size of Farm
Small | Medium I Large I All farms
(number)
Growers not owning mechanical
harvesters 38 14 8 60
Reasons for not buying mechanical
harvesters:
Not enough acreage 29 2 31
Too much investment required 9 10 2 21
Mechanical harvesters are too slow 2 3 5
Waiting for improved harvesters 5 2 3 10
Other 4 4 5 13
Total* 49 18 13 80


* Some growers gave more than one reason.







Florida A,, ;, 'I,t, ral Experiment Stations


medium farms, growers generally felt they had sufficient acreage
but had not purchased harvesters mainly because of the high
investment required. On large farms, factors other than acre-
age and investment requirements appeared to influence the con-
version to mechanical harvesting. For instance, some growers
felt that harvesters were too slow, and some were waiting for
additional improvement to be made before buying them.

Ownership and Operation of Packinghouses

Expansion of the sample data showed that 54 growers owned
or participated in owning 51 packinghouses in 1958 (Table 15).
Most of these growers operated medium or large farms. In
each size group, about one-half of the packinghouses in opera-
tion in 1958 had been built or otherwise acquired between 1954
and 1958.

TABLE 15.-ESTIMATED NUMBER OF GROWERS OWNING PACKINGHOUSES,
NUMBER OF PACKINGHOUSES OPERATED, AND NUMBER ACQUIRED ANNUALLY
FROM 1954 THROUGH 1958, BY SIZE OF FARM, HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, 1958*.

Item Size of Farm
Small I Medium ] Large I All farms
(number)
Growers owning packinghouses
Sole ownership 15 17 32
Joint ownership 7 15 22
Total 7 30 17 54

Number of packinghouses operated 7 24 20 51
Number of packinghouses built or
acquired in:
1954 5 2 7
1955 2 2 4
1956 5 5
1957 4 2 5 11
1958 -
Total 4 14 9 27

Computed from Appendix Table 5.

For all grower-operated packinghouses, the average reported
rate of packing was 353 hundredweights per hour (Table 16).
Rate of packing increased with size of farm. Over 90 percent
of the total volume packed was by plants owned by oper-
ators of medium and large farms. Thirty-five of the grower







Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


operated plants were equipped to handle bulk potatoes in 1958.
The proportion of total volume received in bulk was much higher
for plants in the medium size farm group than for those in the
small or large size farm groups. For all plants, 42 percent of
the volume packed was received in bulk.

TABLE 16.-SELECTED CHARACTERISTICS OF GROWERS' PACKING OPERATIONS
AND ESTIMATED TOTALS FOR HASTINGS AREA OF VOLUME RECEIVED IN BULK
AND TOTAL VOLUME PACKED, BY SIZE OF FARM, HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA,
1958.
I -
Item I Size of Farm
Small I Medium I Large I All farms
Number of grower owned
and operated packing-
houses* 7 24 20 51
Average rate of packing
(cwt. per hour)** 225 300 413 353
Hundredweights packed* 240,522 1,192,438 1,280,471 2,713,431
Number of packinghouses
equipped to handle
bulk potatoes 4 17 14 35
Hundredweights received
in bulk* 61,600 615,700 448,578 1,125,878
Proportion of hundredweights
packed received in bulk 25.6 51.6 35.0 41.5
Volume packed as a percent
of total volume packed
by all groups 8.9 43.9 47.2 100.0

Computed from Appendix Table 5.
** Average capacity is for plants included in the grower sample.

Packinghouse owners were asked to state their reasons for
entering the packing business. The reason most frequently given
was that the grower could pack his potatoes when he desired.
Some had entered the packing business because they felt they
could pack their potatoes at a lower cost per unit than was
being charged by other packers. Some were displeased with
practices of other packers such as rough handling and insuffi-
cient supervision of personnel on the grading line.

Production Financing
Financing is an important segment of the Hastings potato
industry. The specialized nature of production and large size







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


operations necessitate the use of large amounts of capital. Many
growers regularly depend on loans for a part of the capital re-
quirements
In each size group, the number of growers obtaining loans in-
creased during the five-year period studied (Table 17). How-
ever, this of itself does not indicate that the financial position
of growers in general was becoming more unfavorable. The in-
crease in number of borrowers was approximately offset by an
increase in total number of growers. With the exception of the
large farm group, the number of growers borrowing was a fairly
constant percentage of all growers throughout the five-year pe-
riod. The proportion of growers on large farms obtaining loans
almost doubled from 1953-54 to 1957-58.

TABLE 17.-ESTIMATED NUMBER AND PERCENTAGE OF GROWERS OBTAINING
LOANS FOR POTATO PRODUCTION, BY SIZE OF FARM, HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA,
1953-54 TO 1957-58.

Item and Size of Farm
Season Small I Medium [ Large | All farms
Growers obtaining loans:*
Number:
1953-54 121 39 8 168
1954-55 129 41 8 178
1955-56 136 43 10 189
1956-57 149 48 12 204
1957-58 150 45 17 212
Percent:
1953-54 82 76 36 76
1954-55 85 76 36 78
1955-56 82 70 43 76
1956-57 83 70 52 77
1957-58 82 74 68 79

Computed from Appendix Table 6.

The estimated amount of credit used for potato production
increased annually during the period studied (Table 18). The
greatest relative increase was in the large farm group; however,
amount loaned to this group was less than one-half of that to the
small or medium size farm groups in 1958. Annual loans to the
small farm group exceeded those to the medium farm group
throughout the study period.
Amount of credit used was influenced by new producers
coming into the industry between 1953-54 and 1957-58 and also







Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


TABLE 18.-ESTIMATED AMOUNT OF CREDIT USED FOR POTATO PRODUCTION,
BY SIZE OF FARM, HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, 1953-54 To 1957-58*.

Season Size of Farm
Small Medium I Large I All farms
(dollars)
1953-54 1,522,379 1,237,980 216,611 2,976,970
1954-55 1,588,083 1,402,871 230,683 3,221,637
1955-56 1,586,450 1,388,282 367,650 3,342,382
1956-57 1,990,595 1,915,685 548,721 4,455,001
1957-58 2,114,964 1,790,079 831,726 4,736,769

Computed from Appendix Table 7.

expansion of potato acreage on the part of some producers. The
average amount borrowed per acre of potatoes produced presents
a more accurate picture as far as dependance on credit is con-
cerned. This calculation was made for sample growers who used
credit (Table 19). For all borrowers, loans per acre reached a
peak of $253 in 1956-57, then dropped to $233 in 1957-58. The
smaller amount in 1957-58 probably reflected a tightening up
of credit sources following the unfavorable 1956-57 season when
many growers found it difficult or impossible to pay off outstand-
ing debts. The most noticeable change during the period was
the increase in the amount borrowed per acre by operators of
large farms. Growers in the medium farm group obtained larger
average loans per acre than those in the small and large farm
groups.

TABLE 19.-AVERAGE AMOUNT OF MONEY BORROWED PER ACRE OF POTATOES
PRODUCED, BY SIZE OF FARM, SAMPLE GROWERS, HASTINGS AREA,
FLORIDA, 1953-54 TO 1957-58*.

Season Size of Farm
Small I Medium I Large I All farms
(dollars)
1953-54 301 306 111 248
1954-55 276 318 106 242
1955-56 265 310 143 242
1956-57 269 305 171 253
1957-58 276 302 156 233

Calculated on the basis of total acres of potatoes produced by borrowers.

Growers in the Hastings area obtained loans from Production
Credit Associations (hereafter referred to as PCA's), banks, co-
operatives, individuals, or other lenders (which included several








Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


handlers in the area, a broker, and a fertilizer company). There
was a wide variation in the relative importance of these credit
sources for any given year and also substantial changes in the
importance of a given credit source over the five-year study pe-
riod (Table 20). For borrowers as a whole, cooperative and PCA
loans averaged about three-fourths of the total credit used dur-
ing the five-year period. Banks, individuals and other lenders
averaged between 7 and 9 percent each. The relative importance
of cooperatives as a source of credit declined rapidly during the

TABLE 20.-PERCENTAGE DISTRIBUTION OF TOTAL VOLUME OF CREDIT USED
IN POTATO PRODUCTION, BY SOURCE OF LOAN AND SIZE OF FARM, HASTINGS
AREA, FLORIDA, 1953-54 THROUGH 1957-58*.


Size of Farm
and Season

Small farms
1953-54
1954-55
1955-56
1956-57
1957-58


PCA


5-season average 32.6 4.0
Medium farms
1953-54 24.6 5.7
1954-55 35.6 5.2
1955-56 35.3 5.1
1956-57 35.1 7.3
1957-58 39.2 8.9

5-season average 34.5 6.6
Large farms
1953-54 52.5 19.4
1954-55 50.4 22.6
1955-56 35.1 14.2
1956-57 24.3 15.5
1957-58 29.3 28.6

5-season avergae 33.5 21.4
All farms
1953-54 26.2 5.9
1954-55 33.5 6.3
1955-56 34.7 6.4
1956-57 34.8 6.5
1957-58 36.0 9.6

5-season average 33.5 7.1

Computed from Appendix Table 8.


Source of Loan
| Bank ICooperativelIndividuall Other I All sources
(percent)


5.2 9.3 100

9.4 5.2 100
11.7 100
11.7 1.8 100
24.0 100
5.4 8.7 100

12.9 3.2 100


- 26.8


100
100
100
100
100

100






Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


period in contrast to an increase for each of the other credit
sources.
In terms of five-season averages, PCA's accounted for about
one-third of the credit used by growers in each size group. How-
ever, there was an upward trend in the proportion of credit sup-
plied by the PCA to operators of small and medium farms, which
was offset by a downward trend for operators of large farms.
Cooperatives furnished 48.9 percent of the credit used by grow-
ers in the small farm group compared with only 18.3 percent for
those in the large farm group. In each group, the proportion of
credit supplied by cooperatives decreased considerably during
the study period.
The relative importance of bank credit was much greater in
the large farm group than in either the small or medium farm
groups. Individuals as a source of credit were important to
growers only in the medium farm group. Other lenders were
relatively unimportant until the last three years of the period,
when they supplied a fairly large proportion of the credit used
by growers on large farms.
No effort was made to ascertain such elements of credit as
rate of interest, time period of loans, extent and kind of loan
security, or conditions governing repayment. However, on the
assumption that the credit source had some influence on certain
production and marketing decisions, borrowers were asked to
state any production or marketing conditions attached to their
loans. Almost all growers borrowing from the PCA stated they
were required to indicate the individual or agency that would
sell their potatoes when obtaining loans. They consistently noted
that the PCA did not specify a particular seller for their po-
tatoes.
Growers borrowing from banks indicated there were no pro-
duction or marketing conditions attached to their loans. Bor-
rowers using cooperative loans agreed to let the cooperative sell
their potatoes. In some cases, cooperatives also influenced the
decision of the date or rate of harvesting. Generally, growers
borrowing from individuals or other lenders agreed to let the
lender sell their potatoes. In one instance the lender specified
the harvesting date, and in another case the grower agreed to
split the profit with the lender.







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


GROWING POTATOES UNDER CONTRACT
A new factor entering the Hastings potato picture during
the period covered in the study was that of growers producing
potatoes under contract, mainly with processors who converted
the potatoes into potato chips. The advent of contracting was
the result of the large increase in the amount of the area's po-
tatoes sold to processors. Contracts have been used extensively
with growers in other areas in the production of certain vegetable
crops to be used mainly for processing, such as cucumbers, peas,
sweet corn, and tomatoes. This practice has been extended to
the production of potatoes only in recent years.
The price of early potatoes is very sensitive to supply and
is usually relatively high in seasons when supplies of early or
old potatoes are short. Relatively high prices pose more of a
problem to potato chippers than to buyers for the fresh market,
since the price of potato chips at retail does not tend to fluctuate
as much as the price paid for the raw product. Contracting with
growers for a part of their supply has been a method used by
processors to insure a minimum supply of potatoes and also to
hedge against wide variations in price.
Contract growing was defined as a definite agreement, either
written or oral, on the part of a grower to. produce and deliver
a specified volume of potatoes to a given buyer. No subject ap-
peared to be a greater concern to growers and other industry
participants than the pros and cons of contracting.

Extent of Contract Growing
Contract growing started in the Hastings area during the
1954-55 season, when only eight producers had contracts. The
number of producers with contracts started to increase rapidly
in 1956-57 and reached an estimated total of 65 in 1957-58 (Table
21). Almost two-thirds of the contracts were with operators
of small farms in 1957-58. The volume of potatoes on contract
increased from 54,864 hundredweights in 1954-55 to 384,370 in
1957-58. Contract production represented 1.6 percent of the
total output in the area in 1954-55 compared with 10.4 percent
in 1957-58.
Generally, contractors and growers were conservative in
fixing the volume of contracts. Apparently, contractors wished
to be assured of a specified volume in the event of lower than
normal yields, whereas many growers felt it to their advantage







Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


to contract only a part of their expected output. For contract
growers as a whole, the volume on contract was 26.7 percent of
total output in 1954-55 as compared to 32.5 percent in 1957-58t
(Table 22).
The higher proportion on contract in 1957-58 did not indi-
cate an effort by processors to obtain a larger share of the con-
tract growers' output but resulted primarily because of a lower
yield. If actual sales per acre for contract growers had equaled

TABLE 21.-ESTIMATED NUMBER OF GROWERS HOLDING PRODUCTION CON-
TRACTS AND CHANGE IN CONTRACT VOLUME, BY SIZE OF FARM, HASTINGS AREA,
FLORIDA, 1953-54 To 1957-58.


___Size of Farm
Small I Medium I La:


Number of growers
holding contracts*
1953-54
1954-55
1955-56
1956-57
1957-58
Total volume of potatoes
on contract (cwt.)
1954-55
1957-58
Volume of potatoes on
contract as a percent
of total Hastings
area production
1954-55
1957-58


rge I All farms


9,504 21,960 23,400 54,864
150,427 101,343 132,600 384,370


1.6
10.4


Computed from Appendix Table 9.

TABLE 22.-RELATION OF CONTRACT VOLUME TO TOTAL VOLUME SOLD BY
CONTRACT GROWERS INTERVIEWED, BY SIZE OF FARM, HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA,
1954-55 AND 1957-58.


Size of Farm
Small 1 Medium I Large L All farms


2,700
42,735


Volume on contract (cwt.)
9,000 15,000
41,534 85,000
Contract volume as
percent of total sales
34.6 23.1
25.7 32.6


26,700
169,269


26.7
32.5


Item


Season


1954-55
1957-58


1954-55
1957-58






Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


the five-season average sales per acre, the proportion of sales
represented by contract potatoes would have differed by less
than 1 percent for the two seasons compared (Table 23). How-
ever, substantial differences would have existed in the propor-
tions of total output accounted for by contract potatoes on
small and medium farms. The increase from 1954-55 to 1957-
58 in the small farm group was approximately offset by a de-
crease in the medium farm group.

TABLE 23.-RELATIONSHIP OF CONTRACT VOLUME TO EXPECTED TOTAL OUT-
PUT OF SAMPLE CONTRACT GROWERS, BY SIZE OF FARM, HASTINGS AREA,
FLORIDA, 1954-55 AND 1957-58.

Season Size of Farm
Small I Medium | Large | All farms
Contract volume as
percent of expected output*
1954-55 29.5 35.1 25.7 28.6
1957-58 38.9 22.8 26.6 27.7

Expected output on basis of five-season average sales per acre.

Contract Characteristics
Contract growers were asked to supply information con-
cerning the details of their 1957-58 contracts.
Quality and Size Specifications.-Almost two-thirds of the
contracts specified that the potatoes would be U. S. Number 1,
size A (Table 24). A few contracts specified that the quality
would be U. S. Number 1, but did not specify size. Only one
contract did not specify a grade or size.
Price Specifications.-Contract price agreements were made
either in terms of a sliding scale or flat rate per hundredweight.
Under a sliding scale arrangement, the lower and upper limits
of the range within which the price might fluctuate were speci-
fied. Market price on the selling date was the price received by
the growers provided it was within the range specified in the
contract. The flat rate referred to a fixed price per hundred-
weight irrespective of the market price on the date of sale.
The sliding scale price basis was used in 19 of the 24 contracts.
The most popular price scale was $2.50 to $3.50 per hundred-
weight. Flat rates ranged from $2.90 per hundredweight in
one contract to $4.50 in another, with three of the five flat rate
contracts specifying a price of $3.00 per hundredweight.







Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


TABLE 24.-SELECTED CHARACTERISTICS OF CONTRACTS FOR THE 1957-58
SEASON, 23 GROWERS, HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, 1958.

Item Specified Number of Contracts

Quality and size:
U. S. No. 1, size A 15
U. S. No. 1 5
Percentage U. S. No. 1 3
Unspecified 1
Total* 24
Price per hundredweight:
Sliding scale:
$3.00 $4.00 1
$2.50 $3.25 6
$2.50 $3.50 12
Flat rate:
$2.90 1
$3.00 3
$4.50 1
Total 24
Federal-state inspection 14
New bags 18
Bags to be furnished by grower 22
One grower had two contracts.

Other Characteristics.-Slightly more than one-half of the
contracts required federal-state inspection for conformance to
quality specifications. Three-fourths stipulated that potatoes
would be put in new bags, and 22 contained the provision that
bags were to be furnished by the grower. All contracts except
one were written agreements. Of the 23 contracting growers in-
terviewed, 19 stated they were responsible for making the initial
contact with the contracting agency. All contract growers indi-
cated they had plenty of time to study the agreement before
signing it. None of the agreements contained any credit exten-
sion features. The mode of transportation generally was not
specified. Growers appeared to have been well satisfied with the
features of contracts as they existed in the 1957-58 season.

Opinions About Contract Growing

Contracting was a controversial issue in the Hastings area
in 1958. Neutrality was conspicuous by its absence. Growers
were either for or against contracting in no uncertain terms.
Some opinions of contract growers will be considered first,







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


followed by discussion of the opinions of all growers inter-
viewed.
Opinions of Contract Growers.-Thirteen contract growers
were asked questions designed to find out how they felt about
their contracts.7 Each of the 13 thought the contract was to
his advantage (Table 25). All contract growers specified some
feature of the contract which they liked, whereas only three
enumerated items which they disliked. Most of the growers
felt there were no important changes needed in the contracts.
About one-half of the growers felt the existence of a contract
had encouraged the processor to buy potatoes from the grower
other than those covered in the contract.
TABLE 25.-OPINIONS RELATIVE TO VARIOUS ASPECTS OF THEIR 1957-58
CONTRACTS, 13 GROWERS, HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, 1958.
Questions and Response Number of Growers

Do you feel the over-all effect of the contract was:
To your advantage 13
To your disadvantage 0
Total 13
What features about the contract did you like?
Insures outlet at known price 5
Flat rate price 3
Save inspection fee 2
Agency lived up to contract 2
F.O.B. acceptance and no transit risk 1
Total 13
What features about the contract did you dislike:
None 10
Chance of losing if price goes high 2
Required U. S. No. 1 quality 1
Total 13
What are the most important things that might be done to
make the contract more desirable from your point of view?
Nothing 10
Higher minimum price 2
Flat price and percentage potatoes instead of U. S. No. 1 1
Total 13
Do you think the fact you contracted encouraged the
contractor to buy potatoes from you other than
those covered in the contract?
Yes 6
No 7
Total 13

STen of the 23 growers holding contracts during the 1957-58 season were
not asked to answer the questions discussed in this section.







Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


Based on the above responses, it seems reasonable to con-
clude that, in general, contract growers were well satisfied with
their contracts as recently as 1958. However, there are indi-
cations there were some problems with contracting in the 1959-60
season. These more recent developments are discussed in a
later section in which an evaluation of contracting is attempted.
Opinions of all Growers Interviewed.-Almost 54 percent of
the sample growers thought contract growing would increase
compared with about 21 percent that held the opinion it would
decrease (Table 26). Almost 23 percent indicated that they had
not formed a definite opinion about the question. The relatively
large number of undecided growers was probably related to
the fact that contract growing had started in the area only
recently. Considering only those growers who thought con-
tracting would increase or decrease, the result of the chi-square
test indicated opinions were independent of size group.8 When
the 50 growers who thought contract growing would increase
were asked to state the reason for their opinion, 24 stated con-
tracting would increase because it aided in obtaining produc-

TABLE 26.-RESPONSE TO THE QUESTION, "Do YOU THINK CONTRACT GROW-
ING WILL INCREASE OR DECREASE IN THIS AREA?" BY SIZE OF FARM, 93
POTATO GROWERS, HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, 1958.

Response Size of Farm
Small I Medium I Large I All farms
(number)
Increase 26 13 11 50
Decrease 15 4 1 20
Remain same* 1 1 2
Don't know* 11 7 3 21

Total 52 25 16 93

X2 = 8.92, not significant at the 90 percent level.
Not included in chi-square test.

SSee Appendix, page 83, for method of chi-square calculation. The
calculated chi-square values have been compared with the tabular values
and the nearest testing level at which they are either significant or not
significant has been indicated. For example, the chi-square value of 3.92
(Table 26) is not significant at the 90 percent level but is significant at the
75 percent level. On the other hand, the chi-square value of 1.27 (Table 28)
is not significant at the 50 percent level but is significant at lower levels.
Thus, one can conclude that the influence of size of farm is much greater in
the former than in the latter case. However, if one had specified a certain
level for testing, say 95 percent, the statement would have simply noted
that the chi-square value was not significant in either of the above cases.







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


tion credit.9 Another 23 growers thought contracting would
increase because it offered assurance to the grower of an outlet
for part of his crop. Of the 20 growers who thought contract-
ing would decrease, 60 percent indicated the reason for their
opinion was that contract prices were too low.
Approximately two-thirds of the sample growers believed
contract growing was a contributing cause for the low prices
received during the 1957-58 season (Table 27). In this case,
the chi-square value indicated that the hypothesis of inde-
pendence should be rejected, and the conclusion was that size
group did affect response. Growers in the small farm group
tended to have the opinion that contracting created a downward
pressure on prices; whereas these in the large farm group had
the opinion that contracting was not a cause of low prices.

TABLE 27.-RESPONSE TO THE QUESTION, "DO You THINK CONTRACT GROW-
ING PLAYED ANY PART IN CAUSING THE Low PRICES RECEIVED BY GROWERS
IN THE 1957-1958 SEASON?" BY SIZE OF FARM, 93 GROWERS, HASTINGS AREA,
FLORIDA, 1958.

Response Size of Farm
I Small I Medium I Large I All farms


Yes 38
No 13
Don't know* 1


(number)
16 6 60
7 10 30
2 3


Total 52 25 16 93

X2 = 7.64, significant at the 95 percent level.
Not included in the chi-square test.

What appeared to be a conflict in answers was encountered
at this point. From responses to the previous question, it was
found that 50 growers thought contracting would increase, but
replies to the next question indicated that 60 growers thought
contract growing had influenced prices in a downward direction.
One might raise the question as to why some growers apparent-
ly thought contracting would increase while at the same time
they believed it had been a contributing cause of low prices.

"Although none of the contracts provided for credit to be extended by
the processor, many growers were convinced that credit could be obtained
more easily from regular lending sources when the grower had part of his
potatoes on contract. To the lender, these contract potatoes represented
less risk, since for all practical purposes they could be considered as already
sold.







Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


This apparent inconsistency is not necessarily irreconcilable.
In the first place, many growers appeared to feel that contract-
ing served some useful purposes not directly associated with
the contract price level. The importance of these elements was
indicated in the reasons given by the 50 growers for their opin-
ion that contracting would increase because it aided in obtain-
ing production credit, while 23 other growers felt an increase
in contracting would occur because it offered assurance of a
market outlet for part of the potato crop. It is noteworthy
that none of the growers substantiated their opinion that con-
tracting would increase by reference to favorable contract prices
relative to expected open market prices. In the second place,
under the relatively high degree of competition existing in
the production and marketing of the crop, it was not necessarily
inconsistent for an individual grower to enter contract produc-
tion when he held the opinion that contracting in the aggregate
had resulted in lower prices. Under competition, the individual
would not expect his action alone to affect price, and hence he
might enter contract production when he felt contracting in
the aggregate would cause lower prices. In the third place,
there is no reason to conclude that growers who thought con-
tracting resulted in lower prices in the 1957-58 season would
necessarily hold the same opinion for other seasons.
About 22 percent of the sample growers stated their inten-
tion to contract during the 1958-59 season; 61 percent indicated
they would not contract (Table 28). The chi-square value sup-
ports the hypothesis that these intentions were independent of
size group.

TABLE 28.-RESPONSE TO THE QUESTION, "WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS REGARD-
ING CONTRACTING FOR THE 1958-59 SEASON?" BY SIZE OF FARM, 93 GROWERS,
HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, 1958.

Response Size of Farm
Small | Medium I Large I All farms
(number)
Will not contract 36 13 8 57
Will contract 11 4 5 20
May contract* 1 3 2 6
Don't know* 4 5 1 10

Total 52 25 16 93

X2 = 1.27, not significant at the 50 percent level.
Not included in the chi-square test.







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


Evaluation of Contracting in the Hastings Area
The rapid increase in contract activity in the Hastings area
started in the 1956-57 season, when an estimated 43 growers
held contracts compared to nine the previous season. The num-
ber of growers with contracts in the 1957-58 season was esti-
mated at 65 (Table 21). Contracts usually specified a stated
number of 100-pound bags of potatoes which represented only
about one-third of the total production of contract growers in
1958. The most common contract price in 1958 was a sliding-
scale price of $2.50 to $3.50 per hundredweight with the grower
receiving the market price if it fell within the range of the
lower and upper contract price.
Growers seemed to have been well pleased with their con-
tracts in 1958. Processors had increased their contracting acti-
vities, indicating they considered contracts as advantageous.
However, the contract price was reasonably favorable compared
to the low average market price for potatoes. Prices of Florida
spring crop potatoes averaged $1.84 per hundredweight in the
1956-57 season and $2.00 in 1957-58. After either of these sea-
sons, if the parties to a contract assumed that the spring crop
would be normal in terms of yield and quality, there seems to
be little reason why they would have expected the market price
to fall outside the $2.50 to $3.50 contract range. Contracts
amounted to processors telling growers they probably would
get the market price for their contract potatoes if a normal
season materialized. Growers were sure of a market for a
stated amount of their crops.
Although the particular contractual arrangements used were
mutually satisfactory under the conditions existing through the
1958 season, this does not necessarily mean that the specific terms
were such that they would result in a mutual advantage for both
parties over the entire range of production and marketing con-
ditions which might develop. Such a situation appeared to
have occurred in the 1959-60 season. Some growers failed to
deliver on their contracts because of a short crop and a very
favorable market price. With a short crop, it would be expected
that growers would regret having to deliver the majority of
their crop at the maximum contract price (perhaps $3.50) when
the market price was as much as $5.00 to $6.00 per hundred-
weight or more. A processor would be expected to resist a
breech of contract. This points up an important problem, that







Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


more flexibility appears desirable in price and quantity speci-
fications.
One might raise the question as to why an individual grower
would wish to contract unless he expects by so doing to get a
price somewhat higher than the market price. This problem
is no doubt related to the difficulties growers expect to encounter
if they have to find outlets for all their potatoes at harvest time.
Many growers stated they looked on contracting as a sort of
insurance in that they had found a "home" for part of their
potatoes before they were ever planted.
The type of contract discussed above probably gives both
the processor and grower a reasonably fair deal under more or
less normal supply conditions. The real weaknesses show up
under abnormal supply conditions. This occurs because con-
tracts usually specify a certain number of bags of potatoes.
An example may be used to clarify the point. Suppose a grower
expects to produce 20,000 bags of potatoes. He contracts to
deliver 10,000 bags, or one-half of his expected production, to
a processor at $2.50 to $3.50 per hundredweight on a sliding-
scale. If conditions turn out to be normal, it would require ap-
proximately 50 percent of the grower's crop to fulfill the con-
tract. If yield exceeds normal by one-half, which is not very
probable, it would require only one-third of the grower's pro-
duction for the contract. If heavier supplies resulted in a mar-
ket price below the minimum of $2.50 which the processor had
agreed to pay, the grower would sell two-thirds of his crop at a
price below the contract price. If, on the other hand, growing
conditions are unfavorable and the grower gets only one-half of
a normal yield, it would take the entire production to fulfill the
contract commitment. If these conditions are general for the
industry, price would rise to a high level. This appears to have
been the nature of events in the Hastings area in 1960. Under
the existing method of contracting, growers appear to carry
more than a reasonable share of risk in case of short crops.
Some changes in the method and terms of contracting might
result in more flexible contract provisions and tend to reduce the
risk associated with variations in annual production. The proces-
sor wants protection in years of low supply and high prices.
The grower wants protection in years of heavy supply and low
prices. Both objectives might be more closely approached if
contracts called for a "fixed percentage" of total production
rather than a fixed number of bags of potatoes.







Florida Agricultural E.,, p. ii,. t Stations


Proposed Fixed Percentage Contract
The term "fixed percentage" contract is used to refer to a
type of contract in which the processor would agree to take a
certain percentage of the output from a given number of acres.
The contract price could be either a fixed amount per bag, or
the familiar sliding-scale arrangement. The essentials of such
a contract are relatively simple. The amount of potatoes to be
delivered under such a contract would be based on a fixed per-
centage of a normal production rather than a fixed number of
bags of potatoes.
An example is used to compare estimated gross returns to a
grower under such a contract with returns if a grower had no
contract and also returns if the grower contracted his potatoes
in the usual way (Table 29). In this example it is assumed that
a grower normally grows 100 acres of potatoes and his normal
yield is 150 hundredweights per acre. Under the usual arrange-
ments it is assumed the grower contracts to deliver 7,500 bags
of potatoes (50 percent of normal production) at a price on a
sliding-scale of $2.50 to $3.50 per hundredweight. On a "fixed
percentage" contract, the grower would be expected to deliver
only 5,000 bags of potatoes if his yield was only 100 bags per
acre. The contractor would agree to take 10,000 bags if yield
was 200 bags per acre.

TABLE 29.-COMPARISON OF GROSS RETURNS TO A GROWER WITHOUT A
CONTRACT AND WITH USUAL AND "FIXED PERCENTAGE" CONTRACTS USING
HYPOTHETICAL DATA AND THREE LEVELS OF PRODUCTION.

Item Level of Production
Low I Average ] High
Acres of potatoes 100 100 100
Yield per acre (cwt.) 100 150 200
Total production (cwt.) 10,000 15,000 20,000
Percent of normal yield 67 100 133
Amount of potatoes to be
delivered to contractor (cwt.):
Usual contract 7,500 7,500 7,500
Fixed percentage contract 5,000 7,500 10,000
Price of potatoes per cwt.:
Open market price $5.00 $3.00 $2.00
Contract price $2.50-$3.50 $2.50-$3.50 $2.50-$3.50
Gross returns to grower:
No contract $50,000 $45,000 $40,000
Usual contract 38,750 45,000 43,750
Fixed percentage contract 42,500 45,000 45,000







Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


With no contract and under the assumed price and yield si-
tuations, gross returns would be $50,000 for a 10,000 bag crop,
$45,000 for a 15,000 bag crop and $40,000 for a 20,000 bag crop.
If a normal crop was produced, returns would be $45,000 with
either form of contract. With the usual type of contract, the
grower would receive $11,250 less for a short crop than he
would get if he did not have a contract; returns for a large crop
would be increased $3,750 over a no-contract situation. Thus,
a reduction in income of $11,250 when prices were high would
be offset by a gain of $3,750 when prices were low. Under the
"fixed percentage" contract, the reduction in income for a short
crop would be $7,500; the increase in income for a large crop,
$5,000. In this case, the $7,500 reduction in income would be
offset by a gain of $5,000. The grower's income would fluctuate
the least under a "fixed percentage" contract.
Advantages and Disadvantages of a "Fixed Percentage"
Contract.-One of the main advantages of a "fixed percentage"
contract is that it ties the amount to be delivered to the gen-
eral conditions prevailing during a particular season. With a
short crop and a high price, a grower would not be faced with
the possibility of having to deliver all or a large part of his
crop to fill a contract at a price considerably below the market
price. This type of contract would also tend to stabilize a
grower's gross returns to some extent and thus enable him to
plan with more certainty.
The processor gets protection during a short crop and high
prices. Rather than having to procure all his supply at the
high market price, he is able to purchase part of the potatoes
he needs at the contract price. It is believed there would be
fewer problems in enforcing contracts if growers were not re-
quired to deliver more than a normal share of their crops to
fill their contracts.
One disadvantage of a "fixed percentage" contract would be
the necessity to determine how much a grower's production
fluctuated above or below average. Production practices and
conditions vary considerably over the area. Variation in pro-
duction for the area might be much different from that for an
individual grower. The "fixed percentage" contracts might
apply only when there was a considerable fluctuation in the pro-
duction of the area, as it is total production that causes price
to vary widely from one season to another. To provide a basis
for dealing with variations in production for an individual grow-







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


er different from the area, the contract might specify that
certain adjustments would be made if the yield obtained by the
individual differed by more than 25 percent from his normal
expected yield. It is assumed the burden of proof that the
specified difference had been exceeded would rest with the
grower.
Another difficulty in trying to use the "fixed percentage"
contract is related to the variation of quality between years.
Historically most contracts in the area have called for U. S.
1, Size A, potatoes. Such contract provisions may work a hard-
ship on growers in years when the quality of the crop is relati-
vely low. One way to add some flexibility to the contract would
be insertion of provisions allowing the grower to substitute low-
er grades at discounted prices.

DISTRIBUTION OF SALES

The increase in the number of handlers of Hastings potatoes
in recent years, together with the growing importance of the
processing market relative to the fresh market, has resulted
in important changes in the distribution of the area's crop. In
considering the desirability of a federal marketing order for
potatoes, one of the areas where information appeared to be
lacking was that relating to distribution of the crop by type
of handler, type of buyer, and ultimate utilization of potatoes.
A number of conflicting answers and opinions were forthcom-
ing to such questions as (a) how many growers sold their own
potatoes, (b) how many handlers other than growers operated
in the area, (c) what proportion of total volume went to dif-
ferent types of buyers, and (d) what proportion of total volume
went to the fresh market versus the processed market. Prior to
this study, little information was available regarding the extent
of changes in distribution in the area.

Number of Growers Patronizing Specified Handlers
Most growers used only one type of handler (Table 30). The
number selling all their own potatoes and the number having
all sales made by other agents increased during the period, in
contrast to a decrease in the number having all their sales made
by cooperatives. However, the greatest relative change occurred
in the number of growers utilizing various combinations of







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


er different from the area, the contract might specify that
certain adjustments would be made if the yield obtained by the
individual differed by more than 25 percent from his normal
expected yield. It is assumed the burden of proof that the
specified difference had been exceeded would rest with the
grower.
Another difficulty in trying to use the "fixed percentage"
contract is related to the variation of quality between years.
Historically most contracts in the area have called for U. S.
1, Size A, potatoes. Such contract provisions may work a hard-
ship on growers in years when the quality of the crop is relati-
vely low. One way to add some flexibility to the contract would
be insertion of provisions allowing the grower to substitute low-
er grades at discounted prices.

DISTRIBUTION OF SALES

The increase in the number of handlers of Hastings potatoes
in recent years, together with the growing importance of the
processing market relative to the fresh market, has resulted
in important changes in the distribution of the area's crop. In
considering the desirability of a federal marketing order for
potatoes, one of the areas where information appeared to be
lacking was that relating to distribution of the crop by type
of handler, type of buyer, and ultimate utilization of potatoes.
A number of conflicting answers and opinions were forthcom-
ing to such questions as (a) how many growers sold their own
potatoes, (b) how many handlers other than growers operated
in the area, (c) what proportion of total volume went to dif-
ferent types of buyers, and (d) what proportion of total volume
went to the fresh market versus the processed market. Prior to
this study, little information was available regarding the extent
of changes in distribution in the area.

Number of Growers Patronizing Specified Handlers
Most growers used only one type of handler (Table 30). The
number selling all their own potatoes and the number having
all sales made by other agents increased during the period, in
contrast to a decrease in the number having all their sales made
by cooperatives. However, the greatest relative change occurred
in the number of growers utilizing various combinations of







Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


handlers. A total of 43 growers used two types of handlers to
dispose of their potatoes in 1958 compared with only 18 in 1954.

TABLE 30.-ESTIMATED NUMBER OF GROWERS UTILIZING SINGLE SPECIFIED
TYPES OF HANDLERS AND NUMBER OF GROWERS UTILIZING SPECIFIED COM-
BINATIONS OF HANDLERS, HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, 1954-58*.

Item Year
1954 I 1955 1956 1957 1958
All sales made by:
Grower-handler 22 25 27 27 27
Cooperative 106 96 92 92 96
Other agents** 78 75 98 107 100
Total 206 196 217 226 223
All sales made by a combination of:
Grower-handler and cooperative 5 13 16 15 13
Grower-handler and other agents 5 5 10 7 9
Cooperative and other agents 8 15 8 17 21

Total 18 33 34 39 43

Computed from Apppendix Table 10.
** Corporations, brokers, private individuals, etc.

For a given type of handler, the total number of growers for
which all sales were made, plus the number for which some por-
tion of the crop was sold, yields the total number of growers serv-
iced (Table 31). There was an upward trend in the number
serviced by each type of handler during the five-year period.
Part of the increases were due to new growers starting pro-
duction, while part were due to an increasing number utilizing
more than one type of handler. An exception to the upward
trend was on the large size farms. In this group, an index of
the number of growers selling their own potatoes declined from
108 in 1953-54 to 92 in 1957-58. The relative increase in the
number of growers serviced by cooperatives was less than for
either of the other two types of handlers.
Reasons given by growers for selling their own potatoes
varied among size groups. Producers on small farms indicated
they did their own selling to avoid waiting for payment or else
because they distrusted other handlers. On medium farms,
some growers were selling in order to save marketing charges
while others were selling because their regular sales agents
could not dispose of all their potatoes. Growers in the large







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


farm group generally mentioned their long selling experience and
market contacts as the reason for handling their own sales.

TABLE 31.-ESTIMATED NUMBER OF POTATO GROWERS SERVICED BY EACH
TYPE OF HANDLER IN 1957-58 AND INDEXES OF THE NUMBER SERVICED BY TYPE
OF HANDLER FROM 1953-54 TO 1957-58, BY SIZE OF FARM, HASTINGS AREA,
FLORIDA.

Item and Year Size of Farm
Small I Medium I Large I All farms
Total number of growers in 1957-58:*
Selling own potatoes 15 22 12 49
Sales made by cooperative 95 27 8 130
Sales made by other agents 88 27 16 131
Index of number of growers selling
own potatoes:**
1953-54 52 60 108 71
1954-55 91 89 108 95
1955-56 143 101 108 117
1956-57 117 119 85 108
1957-58 97 131 92 108
Index of number of growers for whom
cooperatives sold:**
1953-54 102 81 86 96
1954-55 103 99 86 101
1955-56 91 110 86 95
1956-57 98 110 103 101
1957-58 106 99 138 106
Index of number of growers for whom
other agents sold:**
1953-54 76 92 81 80
1954-55 86 80 81 84
1955-56 103 101 103 102
1956-57 118 113 118 117
1957-58 118 113 118 117

Computed from Appendix Table 10.
** Average of 5-year period 1953-54 to 1957-58 = 100.

Volume of Sales by Type of Handler

Although the number of growers involved in selling potatoes
increased during the five-year period, grower sales as a propor-
tion of total sales remained relatively stable (Table 32). On the
other hand, there was a decrease in the proportion of total sales
accounted for by cooperatives and a corresponding increase reg-
istered by other agents.
The contribution to the total sales volume of the various
types of handlers differed greatly among size groups (Table 33).








Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


TABLE 32.-ESTIMATED TOTAL VOLUME OF SALES AND PERCENTAGE DISTRI-
BUTION, BY TYPE OF HANDLER, HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, 1954-58*.


Type of
Handler 1954


Grower-handler
Cooperative
Other agents
STotal


Grower-handler
Cooperative
Other agents
Total


918,282
1,200,188
1,022,409
3,140,879


29.2
38.2
32.6
100.0


Year
[ 1955 I 1956 1957 I

Volume of sales hundredweightss)
1,084,883 1,162,735 1,072,961
1,290,915 1,296,989 1,262,308
1,088,888 1,276,574 1,628,246
3,464,686 3,736,298 3,963,515
Percent of total
31.3 31.1 27.1
37.3 34.7 31.8
31.4 34.2 41.1
100.0 100.0 100.0


Computed from Appendix Table 11.

TABLE 33.-ESTIMATED TOTAL POTATO SALES VOLUME BY TYPE OF HANDLER
AND PERCENTAGE DISTRIBUTION BY SIZE OF FARM, HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA,
1954 TO 1958*.


Type of Handler Total sales _Size of Farm
and Year volume Small I Medium Large All farms
(cwt.) (percent) (percent) (percent) (percent)


Grower-handler
1954
1955
1956
1957
1958
5-year average
Cooperative
1954
1955
1956
1957
1958
5-year average
Other agents
1954
1955
1956
1957
1958
5-year average


918,282
1,084,883
1,162,735
1,072,961
1,077,319
1,063,236

1,200,188
1,290,915
1,296,989
1,262,308
1,214,501
1,252,980

1,022,409
1,088,888
1,276,574
1,628,246
1,421,835
1,287,590


35.0 100
35.4 100
35.4 100
37.0 100
36.7 100
36.0 100


* Computed from Appendix Table 11.


1958


1,077,319
1,214,501
1,421,835
3,713,655


29.0
32.7
38.3
100.0







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


On the average, the large farm group accounted for almost two-
thirds of the total grower sales volume. However, there was a
definite downward trend in the proportion of grower sales origin-
ating in the large farm group during the period. Small and
medium farms showed an upward trend in their relative contri-
bution to total grower-handler sales.
Small farms accounted for the greatest proportion of co-
operative sales, averaging about 54 percent over the five-year
period. Large farms accounted for only about 12 percent of
cooperative sales. The relative contributions of the various
groups to total cooperative sales remained fairly stable during
the period.
Approximately one-third of the total volume of other agents
originated in each of the three farm groups, with the relative
contribution of the different groups remaining fairly stable
throughout the period.

Volume of Sales by Type of Buyer
Due to limited resources it was not considered feasible to
obtain data on volume of sales by type of buyer for the entire
five-year period. Furthermore, growers experienced difficulty
in some cases when attempting to estimate the proportion of
their sales going to different buyers. Hence, data were ob-
tained only for 1957 and 1958. Buyers were classified into five
types: truckers, retailers, wholesalers, processors, and others.
Truckers were defined as motor vehicle operators with the vested
authority to bargain for potatoes and make direct cash settle-
ment with the seller upon removal of the potatoes. Few grow-
ers appeared to know the ultimate destination of potatoes sold
to truckers. Retailers were defined as buyers engaged directly
in retailing of potatoes to consumers in fresh form. Whole-
salers were buyers that purchased potatoes for resale to other
than ultimate consumers. Processors were buyers that pur-
chased potatoes for the purpose of subjecting them to further
processing before selling them to retailers, wholesalers, or con-
sumers. Other buyers included all those which could not be
classified under one of the foregoing types.
The relative importance of various types of buyers differed
substantially with respect to particular types of handlers and
also between types of handlers (Table 34). Processors con-
stituted the most important outlet for grower-handler sales,







Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


accounting for about 55 percent in 1958. This was about 10
percent higher than in the previous year. The proportion of
grower-handler sales going to processors was greater than that
for cooperatives or other handlers. Trucker buyers were rela-
tively unimportant in terms of the volume of potatoes they
purchased. They accounted for less than 10 percent of grower
sales. They made no purchases from cooperatives or from other
handlers included in the study.

TABLE 34.-AMOUNT AND PERCENT OF SALES TO SPECIFIED BUYERS, BY TYPE
OF HANDLER, HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, 1957 AND 1958.


Type of Handler
and
Type of Buyer


Amount of Sales (cwt) Percent of Total
1957 I 1958 1957 I 1958


Grower-handler:
Trucker
Retailer
Wholesaler
Processor
Other

Total
Cooperative:*
Trucker
Retailer
Wholesaler
Processor
Other

Total
Other agents:**
Trucker
Retailer
Wholesaler
Processor
Other

Total
All handlers:
Trucker
Retailer
Wholesaler
Processor
Other

Total


93,330
231,994
161,616
487,258
98,761

1,072,959


200,519
337,019
402,413
227,141

1,167,092


292,333
245,439
216,539
223,489


62,752
119,527
205,723
596,068
93,247

1,077,317


83,585
241,060
345,720
356,560

1,026,925


109,226
126,920
153,801
193,527


977,800 583,474

93,330 62,752
724,846 312,338
744,074 573,703
1,106,210 1,095,589
549,391 643,334

3,217,851 2,687,716


8.7 5.8
21.6 11.1
15.1 19.1
45.4 55.3
9.2 8.7

100.0 100.0


17.2
28.9
34.5
19.4

100.0


29.9
25.1
22.1
22.9

100.0

2.9
22.5
23.1
34.4
17.1

100.0


8.1
23.5
33.7
34.7

100.0


18.7
21.7
26.4
33.2

100.0

2.3
11.6
21.4
40.8
23.9

100.0


* Based on total sales taken from cooperative records for 1957 and 1958.
** Based on total sales taken from records of other agents included in the seller sample.






Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


Processor buyers were the most important outlet for co-
operative sales in 1957, although they took second place to other
buyers in 1958. Retailers were the least important outlet for
cooperatives in both years.
Sales of other agents were more evenly distributed among
the various buyers than were those of growers or cooperatives.
Retailers were the largest volume buyers from other agents in
1957, whereas other buyers were most important in 1958. Con-
sidering handlers as a whole and volumes of both 1957 and 1958,
it appears that processors were by far the largest single outlet
for Hastings potatoes. Retailers, wholesalers, and other buyers
had about equal positions, while truckers took less than 3 percent
of total sales.


Legend Grower-
Handlers


Percent
100 -I


M Cooperatives


7 Other agents


1957 1958 1957 1958 1957 1958 .1957 1958 1957 1958
Trucker Retailer Wholesaler Processor Other
Type Buyer and Year
Figure 4.-Proportion of purchases of specified buyers from grower-
handlers, cooperatives, and other agents, Hastings area, Flor-
ida, 1957 and 1958.
Source: Table 34.







Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


Buyer-handler relationships can be further clarified by con-
sidering the distribution of total purchases among different types
of sellers (Figure 4). Trucker buyers obtained their entire sup-
ply direct from growers in 1957 and 1958. All other types of
buyers obtained a part of their supply from each of the three
types of handlers. Retailers acquired about 25 percent of their
supply from cooperatives, with the balance about equally di-
vided between grower-handlers and other handlers. Coopera-
tives, on the other hand, furnished the largest proportion of
the purchases of wholesalers and other buyers. Grower-han-
dlers were the most important source of supply for processors,
followed by cooperatives. The relative contribution of grower-
handlers to the purchases of retailers, wholesalers, and proces-
sors was greater in 1958 than in 1957, while the contribution
of other handlers showed a corresponding decline from 1957 to
1958.
The relative importance of various types of buyers for each
size of farm could be ascertained only for grower-handlers
(Table 35). On small farms they utilized only three types of
outlets, with about two-thirds of their volume going to proces-
sor buyers. Grower-handlers on medium farms also relied
heavily on processor buyers but were able to get a share of the
chain store market. Truckers and wholesale buyers obtained
only a small proportion of the volume sold by these sellers. Al-
though processor buyers acquired the largest share of the volume
sold by the large farm-handler group, they were not nearly

TABLE 35.-PERCENT OF SALES OF GROWER-HANDLERS TO SPECIFIED BUYERS,
BY SIZE OF FARM, HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, 1957 AND 1958*.

Size of Farm
Type of Buyer Small Medium Large
1957 I 1958 I 1957 I 1958 1 1957 1 1958
(percent)
Trucker 4.6 3.1 11.9 8.2
Chain store 21.2 12.3 25.0 12.3
Wholesaler 8.5 2.7 2.3 2.4 21.9 30.6
Processor 62.9 69.7 56.2 70.7 37.9 44.9
Other 28.6 27.6 15.7 11.5 3.3 4.0

Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Computed from Appendix Table 13.







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


as important here as they were in the small and medium farm
groups. Sales of the large farm group were more evenly distri-
buted among all buyers than those of the other two groups.

Sales by Type of Market
Potatoes may be purchased for consumption either in the
fresh form or some processed form such as flakes, chips, or
various frozen products. Thus, potato growers commonly think
of two markets: the fresh market and the processed market.
Of the three types of handlers, cooperatives had the largest
share of their volume absorbed by the fresh market in 1957
and 1958 (Table 36). For each type of handler, the proportion
of total sales going to the fresh market was less in 1958 than
in 1957.

TABLE 36.-ESTIMATED TOTAL POTATO SALES AND PERCENT OF TOTAL SALES
TO THE FRESH AND PROCESSED MARKET, BY TYPE OF HANDLER, HASTINGS
AREA, FLORIDA, 1957 AND 1958.

Type of Handler
Item Grower- Other All
Chandler Cooperatives agents handlers
Estimated total sales
hundredweightss)
1957 1,072,959 1,167,092 977,800 3,217,851
1958 1,077,317 1,026,925 583,474 2,687,716
Percent of total sales:
To fresh market
1957 42.1 50.8 45.5 46.3
1958 31.3 47.0 34.6 38.0
To processed market
1957 57.9 49.2 54.5 53.7
1958 68.7 53.0 65.4 62.0


The proportion of grower-handler sales going to the fresh
market dropped by about 10 percentage points for each farm
group in 1958 compared with 1957 (Table 37). Only 2.7 percent of
grower-handler sales from small farms entered the fresh mar-
ket in 1958 compared with 11.1 percent in 1957. For all farm
groups, 42.1 percent of total sales were made to the fresh market
in 1957 and only 31.3 percent in 1958.







Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


TABLE 37.-ESTIMATED TOTAL POTATO SALES FOR GROWER-HANDLERS AND
PERCENT OF TOTAL SALES TO FRESH AND PROCESSED MARKET, BY SIZE OF FARM,
HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, 1957 AND 1958.

Item ISize of Farm
Small | Medium | Large | All farms
Estimated total sales
hundredweightss)
1957 97,325 308,919 666,717 1,072,961
1958 103,917 336,237 637,165 1,077,319
Percent of total sales:
To fresh market
1957 11.1 25.4 54.3 42.1
1958 2.7 15.3 44.5 31.3
To processed market
1957 88.9 74.6 45.7 57.9
1958 97.3 84.7 55.5 68.7


Grade and Size Distribution by Type of Market
and Type of Buyer
Potatoes produced in the Hastings area are classified by pack-
ers as U. S. No. 1, size A; U. S. No. 1, size B; Percentage U. S.
No. 1; Utilities; and Creamers. Requirements for U. S. No. 1,
size A and B are those specified in United States Standards for
potatoes. The Percentage U. S. No. 1 pack is commonly known
as a "chipper pack" in the area; however, this does not mean
that all of this grade of potatoes are sold to chippers. The
Percentage pack is so called because it contains potatoes which
do not meet the specified requirements for U. S. No. 1 grade.
The percent of the potatoes which would meet the U. S. No. 1
grade requirement varies among sellers. In some cases, the
sales invoice specifies the percentage of U. S. No. 1 potatoes in
the pack-"80 percent," "85 percent," etc. In other cases the
sales invoice carries only the notation, "percentage potatoes."
The Utility grade classification as used in the Hastings area
fits into the unclassified category listed in the U. S. Standards
for potatoes. The range in quality of Utilities among packers
appeared to be rather wide, containing an estimated average of
about 30 percent U. S. No. 1 potatoes3. The Creamer grade
classification is also unclassified under the U. S. standards for
potatoes. Creamers are exceptionally small potatoes. They are

3 From a statement by B. R. Yarborough, former General Manager, Hast-
ings Potato Growers Association, Hastings, Florida.







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


usually canned whole or used in certain prepared foods such as
stews and soups. Generally, they are sacked and shipped to a
canner who weighs them on arrival and deducts the amount of
shrinkage4.
Data in this section include only sales of the seven selling
agencies surveyed, since grade and size classifications were not
obtained for sales made by growers. The total volume of pota-
toes sold by the seven selling agencies was considerably lower
in 1958 than in 1957 (Table 38). Most of the decline was in
the fresh market. Sales of U. S. No. 1, size A potatoes to the
fresh market in 1958 was only about half that in 1957. On the
other hand, the volume of Percentage U. S. No. 1 potatoes in-
creased about threefold in 1958. No creamers were sold to the
fresh market either year.

TABLE 38.-AMOUNT AND PERCENT OF SALES TO FRESH AND PROCESSED
MARKET, BY GRADE AND SIZE, HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, 1957 AND 1958*.

Amount of Sales hundredweightss) Percent of Total
Grade and size i for All Markets
Fresh Processed I All Fresh Processed
market market markets market market

1957
U. S. No. 1
Size A 875,894 654,193 1,530,087 57 43
Size B 50,246 53,799 104,045 48 52
Percentage 51,333 156,030 207,363 25 75
Utility 59,506 211,355 270,861 22 78
Creamers 32,536 32,536 100

Total or average 1,036,979 1,107,913 2,144,892 48 52
1958
U. S. No. 1
Size A 468,718 574,411 1,043,129 45 55
Size B 42,250 54,715 96,965 44 56
Percentage 157,324 168,091 325,415 48 52
Utility 16,633 61,227 77,860 21 79
Creamers 67,030 67,030 100

Total or average 684,925 925,474 1,610,399 43 57

Based on data from seven selling agencies.

Because of the lower total volume of sales in 1958 as com-
pared to 1957, it is more meaningful to consider the relative
volume of each size and grade of potatoes sold to the fresh and
SIbid.







Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


processed markets in the two seasons. The only two outstand-
ing changes in relative distribution were the drop in U. S. No. 1,
size A, and the rise in Percentage U. S. No. 1 potatoes sold to
the fresh market.
There was a wide variation in the proportion of different
grades and sizes accounted for by various types of buyers (Table
39). With the exception of the Percentage grade in 1958, sales
of U. S. No. 1, size A potatoes were more evenly distributed
among the different buyers than were the other grades and
sizes. Over four-fifths of the creamers were taken by proces-
sors.

TABLE 39.-PERCENTAGE DISTRIBUTION OF VARIOUS GRADE AND SIZES OF
POTATOES, BY TYPE OF BUYER, HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, 1957 AND 1958*.


Grade, Size
and Year


Type of Buyer
I Pro- Wholesale Local buy-
Retailer I cessor receivereee ing broker Other


All
Buyers


U. S. No. 1:
Size A:
1957
1958
Size B:
1957
1958
Percentage U. S.
No. 1:
1957
1958
Utility:
1957
1958
Creamers:
1957
1958
All grades and
sizes:
1957
1958


(percent)

29 27 26 15 3 100
16 31 22 26 5 100
9 43 37 10 ** 100
9 27 30 29 5 100


5 31 25 39 ** 100
3 24 26 24 23 100

8 28 34 29 ** 100
6 26 19 47 2 100


- 81 8 11
- 81 9 10


-- 100
-- 100


23 29 27 19 2 100
12 31 23 26 8 100


*Computed from Appendix Table 14.
** Less than 0.5 percent.


U. S. No. 1, size A potatoes comprised 90
purchases made by retailers (Table 40). The
ance of different grades and sizes did not vary


percent of the
relative import-
greatly between


processors, wholesale receivers, and local buying brokers. Retail-
ers and other buyers did not purchase any creamer potatoes.






54 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

TABLE 40.-PERCENT OF TOTAL PURCHASES OF VARIOUS TYPE BUYERS IN
EACH GRADE AND SIZE OF POTATOES, HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, AVERAGE FOR
1957 AND 1958*.

Grade and Type of Buyer All
size Retailer I Pro- | Wholesalel Local buy- Other Buyers
Scessor receiver ing broker
(percent)**
U. S. No. 1:
Size A 90 65 66 61 54 69
Size B 3 6 7 5 3 5
Percentage 3 13 15 19 41 14
Utility 4 9 11 14 2 9
Creamers 7 1 1 3

Total 100 100 100 100 100 100

Computed from Appendix Table 14, based on data from seven selling agencies.
** Based on combined 1957 and 1958 purchases.

OPINIONS AND ATTITUDES OF GROWERS AND
SHIPPERS RELATIVE TO MARKET
ORGANIZATION AND PRACTICES

Opinions and attitudes of individuals participating in a given
industry tend to influence its direction and extent of changes.
Information regarding opinions is needed to properly ascertain
the basis of current conditions and evaluate future alternative
courses of action. The need for such information becomes more
acute where group action is considered as an alternative ap-
proach to major industry problems. Such was the case in the
Hastings area when this study was initiated.

Problems Confronting the Potato Industry
Growers were asked three questions in an attempt to find out
what they considered to be the problems confronting the Hast-
ings' potato industry. These were: (a) What do you think is
the most critical problem facing the potato industry in this area?
(b) What is the second most critical problem? and (c) What are
other problems you consider important?
About 40 percent of the growers said the most critical prob-
lem was that of too many potatoes (Table 41). Less than 10
percent were agreed on any one other problem as the most
critical. Operators of small and medium farms appeared to be
in closer agreement than those of large farms as to what con-






54 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

TABLE 40.-PERCENT OF TOTAL PURCHASES OF VARIOUS TYPE BUYERS IN
EACH GRADE AND SIZE OF POTATOES, HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, AVERAGE FOR
1957 AND 1958*.

Grade and Type of Buyer All
size Retailer I Pro- | Wholesalel Local buy- Other Buyers
Scessor receiver ing broker
(percent)**
U. S. No. 1:
Size A 90 65 66 61 54 69
Size B 3 6 7 5 3 5
Percentage 3 13 15 19 41 14
Utility 4 9 11 14 2 9
Creamers 7 1 1 3

Total 100 100 100 100 100 100

Computed from Appendix Table 14, based on data from seven selling agencies.
** Based on combined 1957 and 1958 purchases.

OPINIONS AND ATTITUDES OF GROWERS AND
SHIPPERS RELATIVE TO MARKET
ORGANIZATION AND PRACTICES

Opinions and attitudes of individuals participating in a given
industry tend to influence its direction and extent of changes.
Information regarding opinions is needed to properly ascertain
the basis of current conditions and evaluate future alternative
courses of action. The need for such information becomes more
acute where group action is considered as an alternative ap-
proach to major industry problems. Such was the case in the
Hastings area when this study was initiated.

Problems Confronting the Potato Industry
Growers were asked three questions in an attempt to find out
what they considered to be the problems confronting the Hast-
ings' potato industry. These were: (a) What do you think is
the most critical problem facing the potato industry in this area?
(b) What is the second most critical problem? and (c) What are
other problems you consider important?
About 40 percent of the growers said the most critical prob-
lem was that of too many potatoes (Table 41). Less than 10
percent were agreed on any one other problem as the most
critical. Operators of small and medium farms appeared to be
in closer agreement than those of large farms as to what con-







Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida 55

stituted the most critical problem. No more than two operators
of large farms agreed on any one problem, as most critical.
Of the 93 growers, 69 rendered opinions as to what they
considered the second most critical problem (Table 41). There
was less agreement on the second most critical problem as com-
pared to the most critical problem. The four problems men-
tioned most frequently accounted for 61 percent of the growers
specifying a second problem. The responses indicated that

TABLE 41.-PROBLEMS FACING THE HASTINGS POTATO INDUSTRY AS SEEN
BY GROWERS, BY SIZE OF FARM, HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, 1958.


Question and Response


I
SSize of Farm
Small I Medium I Large I All farms


What is the most critical problem facing
the potato industry in this area?
Too many potatoes
Too many handlers
Poor quality
Lack of competition in buying
Price too low
Competition from old potatoes
Contract growing
Poor market organization
Other
Total
What is the second most critical
problem ?
Too many handlers
Poor quality
Poor market organization
Too many potatoes
Contracting
Chippers growing own potatoes
Competition from old potatoes
Other
Total*
What are other important problems?
Poor quality
Too many handlers
Loss in fresh market trade
Contracting
Too many potatoes
Speculative production
Poor market organization
Other


(number)


21 14 2
3 4 2
4 2 2
5 1 1
4 2
2 2 1
3 2 -
3 2
7 4
52 25 16


6
6
5
5
4
5
3
6
40

4
5
2
3
3
3
2


Total** 22 13 8 43

Only 69 of the 93 growers responded to this question.
** Thirty-five of the 93 growers responded to this question. Some respondents listed
more than one of the problems specified.







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


growers who agreed as to the most critical problem tended to
have a variety of opinions as to what constituted the second
most critical problem.
Of the 69 growers that cited a first and second most critical
problem, 35 stated additional problems (Table 41). Generally,
those listed were problems that other growers had already stated
in answer to the first two questions. Loss in fresh market trade
and speculative production were the only new problems men-
tioned by more than one grower.
A count of the number of times a problem was mentioned
indicated to some extent its relative importance. Of the five
problems mentioned most frequently, 50 growers listed too many
potatoes, 28 too many handlers, 28 poor quality, 18 poor mar-
ket organization, and 16 contracting.

Opinions About Production and Quality

The opinion that excessive production was a major problem
was substantiated by growers' responses to a question concern-
ing the quantity of potatoes being grown. About 81 percent of
the growers felt production should be decreased. The remainder
had not formed an opinion or else thought production should re-
main at the current level (Table 42). The chi-square value
indicates that response to this question was not related to size
of farm.

TABLE 42.-ATTITUDE OF GROWERS REGARDING THE AMOUNT OF POTATOES
BEING GROWN IN THE HASTINGS AREA, BY SIZE OF FARM, 93 GROWERS,
HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, 1958.

Question and Response Size of Farm
Small | Medium I Large I All farms
(number)
How do you feel about the amount of
potatoes being grown in this area?
Should be decreased 44 20 11 75
Should remain same or don't know 8 5 5 18
Total 52 25 16 93

X2 = 2.00, not significant at 75 percent level.

Growers were far from general agreement concerning the
trend in quality of field-run potatoes during the 10 years pre-
ceding 1958 (Table 43). Forty-four growers thought quality
was the same or much better, while 42 growers thought quality







Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


had not improved or was worse. The chi-square value indi-
cated that response was not affected by size of farm. Most
growers who thought quality had improved attributed the
change to such factors as better insect and disease control, bet-
ter growing methods, and better handling methods. Growers
who thought quality had not improved cited such causes as too
much fertilizer, bad seed, more disease, and too much irrigation.

TABLE.-43.-OPINION OF GROWERS REGARDING CHANGE IN QUALITY OF
POTATOES PRODUCED IN THE HASTINGS AREA DURING THE LAST 10 YEARS,
BY SIZE OF FARM, 93 GROWERS, HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, 1958*.

Response Size of Farm
I Small | Medium I Large I All farms
(number)
Much better 4 3 4 11
Some better 22 7 4 33
No better 8 9 5 22
Worse 13 5 2 20
Don't know** 5 1 1 7

Total 52 25 16 93

X2 = 1.25, not significant at the 50 percent level.
Responses number 1 and 2 combined for chi-square test. Responses number 3 and 4
also combined for chi-square test.
** Not included in chi-square test.

Growers were also asked to give their opinion relative to
the trend in quality of pack put up in the area during the 10
years preceding 1958. The distribution of responses was sim-
ilar to that regarding the trend in quality of field-run potatoes.
Forty-seven growers thought quality of pack had improved,
while 34 felt that quality had not improved (Table 44). The
chi-square value leads to the conclusion that response was inde-
pendent of size group.
Growers who thought pack quality had improved generally
felt that major factors responsible were increasing competition
among handlers in disposing of potatoes and better packing equip-
ment and methods. Among growers who thought pack quality
had not improved, the cause most often mentioned was that pack-
ers were turning out more chipper packs. They believed this re-
sulted in a generally lower quality pack going out of the area.
Poorer quality of field-run potatoes and washing potatoes were
also cited by a few growers as causes of lower pack quality.







Florida Agricultural E.i,. ii, Iu, i Stations


TABLE 44.-OPINION OF GROWERS REGARDING CHANGE IN QUALITY OF
POTATOES PACKED IN THE HASTINGS AREA DURING THE LAST 10 YEARS,
BY SIZE OF FARM, 93 GROWERS, HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, 1958*.

Response Size of Farm
__ Small _Medium i Large All farms
(number)
Much better 3 5 2 10
Some better 22 7 8 37
No better 6 6 1 13
Worse 14 6 1 21
Don't know** 7 1 4 12
Total 52 25 16 93

X2 = 3.81, not significant at the 90 percent level.
*Responses number 1 and 2 combined for chi-square test. Also responses number 3 and
4 combined for chi-square test.
** Not included in chi-square test.

Opinions About Marketing and Distribution

Several questions were designed to ascertain the thinking
of growers relative to various aspects of selling and distribution.
The assumption was that responses to these questions would
afford useful information in pointing up areas of agreement
or disagreement which would have to be contended with in
proposing changes in marketing methods and practices.
Effect of Increasing Number of Handlers.-About 81 percent
of the growers felt prices had been lowered as a result of the
increased number of handlers (Table 45). The practice of
price cutting by handlers was believed to be largely responsible
for market price declines. Some operators of small farms
thought the increase in number of handlers had resulted in some
flooding of the market and consequent drops in price. Most
growers felt a smaller number of handlers in the area would be
desirable.
Feasibility of a Central Sales Agency.-Growers were asked
their opinions as to the chance that a central sales agency could
be set up and operated successfully in the Hastings area and
whether or not they would support such an agency if one was
set up. These questions were designed to obtain an indication
of the attitude of growers relative to the feasibility of a market-
ing plan that would require the cooperation of most, if not all
of the area producers. Response to the first question indicated
a low level of confidence in the probability of successfully oper-







Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


TABLE 45.-OPINIONS OF GROWERS REGARDING THE NUMBER OF HANDLERS
IN AREA, BY SIZE OF FARM, 93 GROWERS, HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, 1958.

Question and Response Size of Farm
________________ Small I Medium I Large I All farms
(number)
What do you think has been the effect on
the market of an increase in the number
of growers selling their own potatoes?
Lowered price due to price cutting 40 21 14 75
Price broke due to flooding market 6 6
Had no effect on market 3 4 1 8
Other 2 1 3
Don't know 3 1 4
Total* 54 25 17 96
Would a smaller number of sellers in
the Hastings area be:
Highly desirable 36 16 7 59
Desirable 11 3 7 21
Not desirable 2 2 4
No opinion 3 4 2 9
Total 52 25 16 93

Some growers cited more than one effect.

ating a central sales agency (Table 46). Almost three-fifths of
the growers thought that a poor chance existed, while two-fifths
cited changes ranging from excellent to fair. Of the 52 growers
who thought a poor chance existed, 50 said growers and other
industry participants would not cooperate in such a program.
Those who thought the chances of successful operation of a
central sales agency ranged from excellent to fair generally
based their opinion on the belief that industry conditions had
deteriorated to the point that the need for some organized pro-
gram was widely recognized. Answers to the second question
indicated 69 percent of the sample growers would support a
central sales agency if one were set up; only 5 percent said
they would not support such an agency, and 26 percent were
undecided.
Marketing Agreement.-Growers gave a variety of answers
when asked to state the particular problems they felt a market-
ing agreement could help solve (Table 47). About one-third
felt an agreement could help improve quality of products going
on the market by eliminating sale of culls or other low quality
potatoes. Almost an equal proportion thought a marketing
agreement would aid in getting a more standardized product.







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


TABLE 46.-OPINION OF GROWERS OF THE CHANCE OF SETTING UP AND
SUCCESSFULLY OPERATING OF CENTRAL SALES AGENCY IN THE HASTINGS AREA,
BY SIZE OF FARM, 93 GROWERS, HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, 1958.

Response i Size of Farm
| Small Medium I Large I All farms
(number)
Excellent chance 2 3 5
Good chance 11 3 3 17
Fair chance 7 6 13
Poor chance 30 13 9 52
Don't know 4 1 1 6
Total 52 25 16 93



TABLE 47.-GROWERS' ATTITUDES AS TO PROBLEMS A MARKETING AGREEMENT
COULD HELP SOLVE, BY SIZE OF FARM, 93 GROWERS, HASTINGS AREA,
FLORIDA, 1958.

Response Size of Farm
Small I Medium I Large I All farms
(number)
Poor quality 16 8 8 32
Non-standardized product 13 7 6 26
Unstable prices 5 3 7 15
Market gluts 7 5 1 13
Disorganized selling 6 1 1 8
Wouldn't help solve any problem 4 5 1 10
Don't know 11 2 1 14
Total* 62 31 25 118

Some growers cited more than one problem.

TABLE 48.-OPINION OF GROWERS RELATIVE TO THE DISADVANTAGE OF A
MARKETING AGREEMENT, BY SIZE OF FARM, 93 GROWERS, HASTINGS AREA,
FLORIDA, 1958.

Opinion | Size of Farm
SSmall | Medium | Large I All farms
(number)
No disadvantages 30 11 7 48
Some disadvantage 22 14 9 45
Total 52 25 16 93


X2 = 1.79, not significant at the 75 percent level.







Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida 61

Some growers felt that price fluctuations, market gluts, and dis-
organized selling could be reduced through use of a marketing
agreement. About 11 percent of the growers felt that a market-
ing agreement would not be useful in solving any problems.
Fifteen percent had not reached a decision on the question.
Over one-half of the growers saw no disadvantages resulting
from the adoption of a marketing agreement. About an equal
number thought there would be some disadvantages (Table 48).
The chi-square value indicated that opinion was not affected by
size of farm operated.
As seen by growers, the greatest disadvantage of a market-
ing agreement was the uncertainty of getting committee mem-
bers who would do a good job in its implementation (Table 49).
Some simply doubted that committee members could be chosen
who would be capable and willing to handle fairly the adminis-
tration of an agreement. No more than six growers were agreed
on any one other disadvantage.

TABLE 49.-OPINION OF GROWERS AS TO THE DISADVANTAGES OF A MARKET-
ING AGREEMENT, BY SIZE OF FARM, 93 GROWERS, HASTINGS AREA,
FLORIDA, 1958.

Response Size of Farm
I Small I Medium I Large I All farms
(number)
Committee members might not do a
good job 7 5 5 17
Hurt individual grower who had
poor quality 6 6
Impose on independence of growers 4 1 1 6
Help our competitors 3 2 5
Too complicated 4 4
Market season is too short 1 1 2
No good if it covers only Florida 2 2
Other 2 2 2 6
No disadvantages 80 11 7 48
Total* 52 26 18 96

Some growers cited more than one disadvantage.

Quality Regulation.-One aspect of potato quality which con-
cerned growers was that of maturity. This is a problem because
of the rapid deterioration of potatoes harvested before they
reach a mature stage of growth. Immature potatoes have a
tendency to turn dark and become soft or spongy in a relatively
short time. An argument frequently heard was that retailers
were losing confidence in the Hastings crop because of their







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


experiences with immature potatoes. The problem of imma-
turity did not seem to be as important for potatoes sold to proces-
sors, since these potatoes are normally converted to chips im-
mediately upon receipt.
Historically, incentives to sell potatoes before they reached
full maturity can be found in the usual behavior of prices. Al-
though new red potatoes are available during the winter and
early spring months from south Florida, the Hastings area has
some of the earliest white potatoes grown in the United States.
It has been characteristic for price to be relatively high at the
beginning of the Hastings marketing season and then to decline
as the season progressed. Later in the season, as maturity and
quality improve, prices usually rise substantially from the low
levels reached. Although larger yields might be obtained if
potatoes were allowed to mature, many growers have felt the
increased yield might be more than offset by a decline in unit
price.
What did growers believe to be the effects of harvesting im-
mature potatoes, and what did they think could or should be
done about regulating maturity? About three-fourths felt im-
mature potatoes had adversely affected the fresh market (Table
50). However, many of the same growers thought immature
were more desirable than mature potatoes for chipping. Sev-
eral growers argued that immature potatoes were desirable for
fresh market, since they allegedly had fewer defects. About

TABLE 50.-OPINION OF GROWERS AS TO EFFECT ON THE MARKET OF DIGGING
POTATOES BEFORE THEY ARE FULLY MATURE, BY SIZE OF FARM, 93 GROWERS,
HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, 1958.

Response Size of Farm
SSmall Medium I Large | All farms
(number)
Damage to fresh market because
immature potatoes won't hold up 42 19 9 70
Good for chip market because immature
potatoes make better chips 15 7 7 29
Good for market because immature
potatoes have fewer defects 3 3
Helps prevent flooding market
later in season 1 1
Has no effect on market 9 5 1 15
Don't know 1 1
Total* 67 31 21 119


* Some growers cited more than one effect.







Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


16 percent of the growers said immature potatoes had not af-
fected the market.
Grower opinion was about equally divided on the question of
whether there was a need to regulate maturity (Table 51). The
chi-square value indicated that response was affected by size of
farm. A much higher proportion of small farm operators favored
maturity regulation than did operators of medium and large
farms.

TABLE 51.-ATTITUDE OF GROWERS AS TO THE DESIRABILITY OF HAVING
SOME STANDARD REGULATING THE MATURITY OF POTATOES SOLD, BY SIZE OF
FARM, 93 GROWERS, HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, 1958.

Response ISize of Farm
Small I Medium Large | All farms
(number)
Desirable 29 9 5 43
Not desirable 20 14 11 45
Don't know* 3 2 5
Total 52 25 16 93

X2 = 4.93, significant at the 90 percent level.
*Not included in chi-square test.

Growers favoring maturity regulation were almost unani-
mous in stating that damage to the fresh market from immature
potatoes was their reason for favoring. Of the 45 growers op-
posed to a maturity regulation, 16 gave as their objection the
lack of a good measure of maturity10. Most of these growers
felt that degree of skinning was not a good indication of maturi-
ty. For example, it was pointed out that fully mature potatoes
would skin if harvested the day following a heavy rain. Twelve
growers objected to a maturity regulation on the grounds the
marketing season was too short for such to be practical. Those
growers felt it was generally necessary to sell some immature
potatoes to reduce amount of supplies later in the season. Eight
of the opposing growers believed the best solution was to let
immature potatoes move freely on the market if buyers were
willing to purchase them at acceptable prices.

1o There is only one reference to maturity in the current United States
Standards for potatoes. This occurs in the specifications for the U. S.
Fancy grade, where it is required that potatoes be "fairly well matured."
Section 51.1548 of said Standards defines "fairly well matured" to mean
that not more than 10 percent, by weight, of the individual potatoes in the
lot have more than one-fourth of the skin missing or feathered.







64 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

Fresh Market Sales.-Until recent years, growers in the Hast-
ings area were primarily concerned with the fresh market outlet
for their crop. The relative importance of the processing seg-
ment has increased rapidly. In 1958, over one-half of the po-
tatoes produced in the area were utilized by processors. An
impression gained from visits in the area was that a sizable
number of growers lamented the declining relative importance
of the fresh market.
Sixty-six percent of those interviewed stated the proportion
of the crop going to the fresh market should be increased (Table
52). Many of these felt that fresh market buyers, especially
those retailers who purchased in small volume, had been neg-
lected in preference to processor buyers. Only seven growers
said the proportion of the crop going to the fresh market should
be decreased. Twenty-five growers were about equally divided
between those who thought the proportion going to the fresh
market should remain about the same and those who had not
come to a decision on the question.

TABLE 52.-OPINION OF GROWERS ON THE PROPORTION OF THE HASTINGS
POTATO CROP GOING TO THE FRESH MARKET, BY SIZE OF FARM, 93 GROWERS,
HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, 1958.

Response Size of Farm
Small I Medium I Large I All farms
(number)
Should be increased 28 19 14 61
Should be decreased 4 2 1 7
Should remain same 12 1 13
Don't know 8 3 1 12
Total 52 25 16 93


The 74 growers who thought the proportion of the crop going
to the fresh market should remain about the same or increase
were asked what action they believed necessary to expand fresh
market sales relative to sales for processing (Table 53). Most
frequently mentioned as means of expanding sales were quality
improvement and advertising. Some growers felt that better
sales organization and greater output of potatoes in consumer
packages would increase sales to the fresh market. Sixteen
growers did not know of any actions that might increase fresh
market sales.







Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


TABLE 53.-SUGGESTIONS OF GROWERS AS TO WAYS OF INCREASING FRESH
MARKET SALES, BY SIZE OF FARM, 74 GROWERS, HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA,
1958*.

Response Size of Farm
Small | Medium I Large All farms
(number)
Improve quality 15 13 5 33
Advertise 11 7 8 26
Better sales organization 2 4 2 8
Put up more consumer packs 5 1 6
Other 2 1 1 4
Don't know 6 7 3 16
Total** 41 32 20 93

Actions necessary to increase fresh market sales were recorded only for those growers
who specified that fresh market sales should be increased or remain about the same.
** Some growers named more than one necessary action.

Other Opinions
Several questions were directed to growers on a variety of
other problems. Fifty of the 93 sample growers felt that avail-
able market news was adequate for information purposes. Elev-
en of 20 growers who thought market news was inadequate
said reported prices did not reflect those at which most sales
were made for the majority of the volume sold. They felt that
actual prices received tended to be somewhat lower than re-
ported prices. Two growers felt market news reports were
inadequate because they did not cover enough handlers. Two
growers argued the reports were not very useful because market
prices changed too frequently, resulting in reported prices' be-
ing at variance with current market prices. Twenty-three
growers rendered no opinion about market news.
On the assumption that financing agencies will become more
important in the future through supplying a larger proportion
of the capital required by growers, it seems reasonable to ex-
pect that these agencies will take a more active role in making
production and marketing decisions. What did growers think
about this possible development? Fifty-nine growers thought
the tendency for financing agencies to become more dominant
in decision making would be a disadvantage to growers. Gen-
erally, they felt the grower was in a better position and more
capable of making these decisions than the financing agency.
Only 11 growers thought such a development would be advan-






Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


tageous. Twenty-three growers were unable to render an opin-
ion.
About 90 percent of the sample growers felt there was a need
for regulation of the grade of potatoes going out of the area.
Most of these thought strict regulation should be applied to all
grades of potatoes.

IMPROVING MARKET ORGANIZATION AND
PRACTICES
The main problems facing the potato industry, as seen by
growers, were: (a) too many potatoes, (b) too many handlers,
(c) poor quality, (d) poor market organization, and (e) con-
tracting. With the intense competition existing on the selling
side of the market, it will be difficult for growers to solve their
problems through individual action, as they cannot match the
bargaining power of large volume buyers. There is no incen-
tive for the individual grower to reduce output or hold low
quality potatoes off of the market since his action alone will
not alter prices. He has no assurance that other growers will
reduce output, and they are likely to be inclined to ship low
quality potatoes as long as the price per unit exceeds the costs
of harvesting and marketing.
Orderly marketing is not likely to be achieved through indi-
vidual action. Competition for the sale of a perishable product
is intense, especially in a short marketing season. In seasons
of heavy supplies, some handlers are likely to cut prices more
than the demand-supply situation justifies. Other handlers
may be forced to meet the competition in order to move their
potatoes. Since buyers of Hastings potatoes are undoubtedly
in a much stronger bargaining position than sellers, it appears
that more concerted group action will be necessary to solve
or mitigate the problems facing the industry.
Other groups of agricultural producers have used various
types of programs to attack similar problems. Three of the
most popular approaches have been federal or state marketing
agreements and orders, central sales agencies, and grower bar-
gaining associations. Each of these approaches is appraised in
terms of: (a) what they might be expected to accomplish, (b)
requirements on the part of growers and sellers for successful
operation, and (c) characteristics of the Hastings area which
might affect success or failure.







Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


Federal or State Marketing Agreement and Order
The authority for federal marketing agreements and orders
is contained in the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of
1937. The act gives the Secretary of Agriculture the authority
to enter into voluntary marketing agreements and to issue mar-
keting orders1.
New state legislation would be necessary before there could
be a state marketing order. Marketing agreements and orders
have been used rather extensively by agricultural producers.
At the beginning of 1961, there were 41 fruit and vegetable and
80 milk federal orders in effect (2). Producers in many of the
late-crop potato areas have made use of marketing agreements
and orders. Four federal orders on potatoes became effective
just prior to World War II but were not operated until after
the war. Six additional orders became effective and operative
between 1948 and 1950 (5). Seven marketing agreements and
order proposals were rejected by potato producers in 1950, alone.
Florida producers of white potatoes considered a marketing
agreement and order in November 1959. The proposal covered
all white potatoes grown east and south of the Suwannee River.
The proposed agreement and order was promoted largely by
producer and handler representatives from the Hastings area.
Representatives of the United States Department of Agri-
culture held a public hearing at Hastings, Florida, November 3-6,
1959, on proposed Marketing Agreement Number 137 and Order
Number 60 (10). Following the hearing, a referendum was con-
ducted among producers. The agreement failed by a very small
margin to get enough votes, so an order could not be issued by
the Secretary of Agriculture. Rejection by the growers at
that time does not necessarily mean a similar proposal will not
be considered again in the future.
Possible Accomplishments of a Marketing Agreement and
Order Program.-A marketing order could allow regulation of
marketing in a number of ways including: (a) quality reg-
ulation, (b) quantity regulation, (c) diversion of surpluses, and
(d) pack regulation.
Quality Regulation.-Quality regulation is frequently used
to prevent inferior grades, sizes or qualities from being shipped
to market. Such a regulation would be expected to improve

See Appendix for details on the nature of marketing agreement and
orders.






Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


buyer confidence in Florida potatoes. As Black has pointed out,
poor quality cannot be made better by a marketing order, but
its shipment to market can be restricted or prohibited (3). It
is assumed that if low quality potatoes were restricted from the
market, consumers would buy a larger amount of better grade
potatoes at a given price or the same amount at a higher price.
In practice, it may not always be a simple matter to remove
the low quality potatoes from the market. In fact, some writers
have maintained that this constituted the dominant operational
problem of the potato marketing orders in the late potato pro-
ducing areas (5) because of geographical differences in com-
position of the crop by size and quality. Low quality potatoes
may tend to be concentrated in a particular section of the pro-
duction area. A blanket restriction against shipment of low
quality potatoes may mean that growers holding the majority
of these potatoes will suffer undue hardships. Such cases are
usually dealt with by heavy emphasis on suspensions or ex-
emptions, which tends to keep down what might otherwise be
fatal opposition to the orders. Suspensions and exemptions, if
used too liberally, tend to defeat the purpose of regulating
quality, and a large share of the low quality potatoes may still
find their way to market. Thus, program effectiveness may be
compromised with program acceptability.
Provisions for quality regulation were included in the pro-
posed agreement and order which was rejected by Florida white
potato growers in early 1960.
Quantity Regulation.-Provisions for regulating the quantity
of a product which may be shipped to market during a specified
period may be included in a marketing order. This type of
regulation usually involves allocating the total quantity to be
marketed among all handlers. For producers of non-highly
perishable commodities, this type of regulation may be useful
in spreading out the marketing period to avoid market gluts
and resulting low prices. However, for potatoes in the Hastings
area, which are highly perishable, it appears that at times this
type of regulation might cause serious loss from spoilage. Such
losses might be inequitably distributed among growers. Perhaps
this accounts for its absence in the proposed marketing agree-
ment and order which Florida producers rejected.
Diversion of Surpluses.-Marketing orders may provide for
the determination of the existence and extent of surpluses. These
surpluses may be disposed of by diverting them into secondary






Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


market outlets. Each handler is required to participate on a
percentage basis. This type of regulation was also omitted from
the proposed agreement and order for Florida potatoes.
An economically feasible disposal program for Florida white
potatoes might be extremely difficult to work because of the
perishability of the product and limited length of the harvest-
ing season. However, the fact that Hastings area potatoes have
two major uses of about equal importance (fresh market and
sale to processors) strengthens considerably the possibility that
a marketing order could be operated successfully for Florida
white potatoes. Products having alternative uses, such as Flor-
ida oranges, or fluid milk in areas having dairy manufacturing
plants, can be handled much more effectively under marketing
order programs than other products similar in perishability but
with only one principal use.
Pack Regulation.-Marketing orders may provide for fixing
the size, capacity, weight, dimensions, and pack of the container.
Black states that these are the most popular of all regulations
(3). They permit more standardization of the product reaching
the market and thus bring about a greater degree of buyer con-
fidence. Pack regulation, combined with compulsory inspection
imposed by the marketing order, means that buyers can be rela-
tively sure of the quality, size, and weight of package of pota-
toes they purchase. Such a regulation should benefit handlers,
since it would remove some of confusion arising from the wide
variety of packs and sale of uninspected potatoes. Removal of
any factors conducive to unnecessary price cutting among sellers
would seem to be highly desirable. Pack regulation was in-
cluded in the proposed agreement and order for Florida white
potatoes.
In addition to the above types of direct regulation, federal
orders also permit commodity groups to establish research and
development projects designed to assist, improve, or promote
the marketing, distribution, and consumption of the product.
Funds collected under such provisions may be used to cover ex-
penses. Thus, funds for research on marketing problems might
be obtained from industry participants. The proposed agree-
ment and order covering Florida white potatoes included author-
ity to collect funds to finance market research and development
projects.
The usefulness of marketing agreements and orders in eco-
nomic terms is difficult to evaluate. Black states there is no






Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


doubt that they have contributed in a modest and limited way
to industry stability and farm income (2). He further indi-
cates that this conclusion was based primarily on the number
of orders that have withstood the test of time rather than on
empirical research.
The contribution of a federal marketing agreement and order
towards improving the area's market situation would likely be in-
direct. It could result in sufficient funds and the type of planning
and coordination necessary to develop more adequate market in-
formation. Quality and pack regulations should lead to a more
standardized product attractively packed which should increase
buyer confidence in Hastings potatoes. This would be advan-
tageous to both buyers and sellers and should lead to a substan-
tial increase in sales to the fresh market.
Additional intangible benefits might accrue to producers
through participation in group discussions and decisions. This
would probably result in an increased understanding of the na-
ture and extent of pertinent problems, and also keep generating
new ideas. Through such a process the industry might find
ways to discipline itself and learn to work together in solving
its problems.
Requirements on the part of Growers and Sellers for Sucess-
ful Operation.-For a marketing order to be issued, it is neces-
sary that either two-thirds of the producers vote in favor of the
proposed order or that two-thirds of the total production of the
commodity be accounted for by producers voting favorably.
It would be difficult to translate benefits from a marketing
order into tangible economic gains readily understood by pro-
ducers, and such benefits would not likely accrue rapidly. Ob-
servations during the study indicate that concern was strongly
oriented in terms of short-run considerations although the major
requirement for the successful operation of an order of both
growers and sellers would be their willingness to recognize and
act in accordance with the long-run interest of the industry.
Unless the long-run view was taken, there could be little hope
for a successful operation.
Another requirement of the part of buyers and sellers would
involve the surrender of a certain amount of their traditional
freedom of operation. Some buyers and sellers would be forced
to comply with regulations against their will and possibly to
their individual disadvantage. Promotion of the interest of
the group as a whole does not necessarily indicate that the inter-







Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


est of each individual would be served. A majority of producers
and handlers would need to conclude that their interests could
best be served through the medium of a marketing order before
one could operate with much success. They would need to have
confidence in their ability to select administrative committee
members and management capable of implementing the order
in an efficient and equitable manner.
Characteristics of the Hastings Area Which Might Affect
Success or Failure.-One of the important characteristics of the
area is the high degree of independence among producers. This
is true especially of the large independent producers who do their
own packing and selling. For many years, a large number
of small producers have belonged to two local cooperative as-
sociations. Membership in cooperatives has tended to put small
growers on a more equal basis with larger independent growers
in producing and marketing potatoes. Hastings growers gen-
erally have been in potato production for a number of years.
They have witnessed good and bad seasons, but over the years
potato production has been a profitable business. This is be-
lieved to be largely responsible for their hesitancy to engage in
any additional group action or regulation except as a last resort.
Following conditions that existed in 1958, about three-
fourths of the growers felt that a marketing order would help
solve some of the area problems; about 90 percent felt that the
grade of potatoes shipped from the area should be regulated.
In 1959, following two extremely adverse seasons, almost the
required support for issuing a marketing order was mustered.
However, one year later, in the fall of 1960, growers indicated
that they had little interest in any type of group activity.12 The
change in attitude was probably due to exceptionally high prices
for potatoes in 1960.
In the future, growers may decide that a marketing order
,would be desirable since it could be used in years of heavy yield
and low prices and left inactive in other years. There would be
Administrative and operational problems in operating a market-
ing order on an intermittent basis. The administrative com-
/ mittee would have to use resources to keep abreast of changes

1 In the fall of 1960, a questionnaire on various proposals for group
S action and certain legislative proposals was mailed by the county agricul-
S tural agents to all potato growers in the Hastings area. Only 15 percent
of the growers returned the questionnaires. Generally, a bare majority of
those returning the questionnaires were in favor of any of the proposals
mentioned.






Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


in the industry even in years when the order was not operative
and income was temporarily halted. Salaried management and
technical personnel might not be available on a temporary basis.
Certain overhead expenses would exist during a given season
whether the order was in operation or not. Continuation of re-
search and development projects designed to improve marketing
would be difficult in years when funds were not forthcoming be-
cause the order was not in operation.
There are certain characteristics of the Hastings area that
would tend to make the administration of a marketing agree-
ment and order difficult. Although geographically the area is
small, production conditions normally vary over the area during
a given season. The Federal Point section borders on the St.
Johns River. Plantings here and in the Bunnell area are made
earlier than in certain other parts of the area. Potatoes from
these sections are also normally the first marketed, reaching
the market when prices are usually relatively high. Quality
of potatoes may also vary considerably between different sec-
tions in a given season.
Another characteristic of the area which would likely be a
handicap is the shortness of the marketing season. Many grow-
ers felt administration of an order would not be flexible enough
to be very effective during a short marketing season. Growers
thought it would take too long to get regulations changed. The
need for a change could arise suddenly; yet it may require a
week to complete the change and make it effective. In the case
of the Florida tomato order, however, such regulation changes
were often made effective in 48 hours or less.
Determination of the type and extent of regulation needed
would pose a difficult problem for the administrative committee.
The supply situation for new potatoes is affected by competing
areas in which harvesting normally begins while the Hastings
crop is moving to market. Overlapping marketing seasons and
other factors could result in rapidly changing and a highly un-
certain supply situation almost impossible of solution by the
administrative committee.
It appears that a marketing agreement and order might be
utilized successfully in the Hastings area, but the probability
of one being accepted under prevailing conditions seem rather
remote.







Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


An Area-Wide Cooperative Association With One or More
Central Sales Agencies
One of the factors contributing to the unorganized marketing
situation in the area is the large number of handlers. Many
of these handlers are individual growers who usually have pack-
ingsheds of their own; two are cooperatives, and many others
are private or corporate handling firms. The problems of too
many handlers would not be solved even if a marketing order
was issued. Handlers would still compete strongly with each
other in negotiating with buyers and thus might create depres-
sing effects on prices. One approach to the problem of handler
competition would be to organize an area-wide cooperative as-
sociation which would handle or contract with one or more sales
agencies to handle all potatoes produced in the area.
The type of proposal suggested above is a variation of the
more general central sales agency idea. The difference is not
one of principle but in operational organization. The individual
grower would be under contract with the area-wide cooperative
to handle his potatoes. Instead of all sales being made by one
central sales agency, the area-wide cooperative could contract
with one or more sales agencies to sell the potatoes of its mem-
bers. Producers of other commodities have made use of such
organizations.13
An area-wide cooperative with one or more central sales
agencies was considered by Hastings area growers in 1960 and
probably will be given more attention in the future. The organi-
zation was commonly known as the Hastings Area Produce Ex-
change and hereafter is referred to as the Exchange. All or a
large share of the growers in the area could join together in
such an Exchange, which could operate a central sales agency
or contract with one or a small number of sales agencies to
handle the potatoes. Such an organization would not require
additional federal or state legislation.
Possible Accomplishments.-Growers, through the Exchange,
could carry out most of the types of action possible under a
federal marketing agreement and order. To the extent deemed
necessary, quality shipped as well as pack specifications could
be regulated. Inspection could be imposed as a condition of sale,
"Florida Citrus Exchange is an example of this type of organization.
Florida celery producers have an agency of this type called the Florida
Fresh Produce Exchange. Strawberry growers in Louisiana and Florida
also have similar organizations.






Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


leading to a more standardized product and practices which
should tend to improve buyer confidence in Hastings potatoes.
Producers would tend to reap whatever intangible benefits there
might be from participating in group action much the same as
under a federal order. Funds could be collected for market re-
search and development projects. In addition, certain other
goals might be obtained which would not be possible under the
provisions of a federal marketing order. In order to keep in
line the minority of growers who would not go along with such
a plan, however, either a state or federal marketing order would
probably have to be voted in by growers to maximize the effec-
tiveness of their area-wide cooperative.
The Exchange seems to be the best way for the industry
to have equal bargaining power with large buyers. In recent
years, the number of handlers has increased while buyers have
become fewer, larger, and better organized. Thus buyers ap-
pear to be in a much better bargaining position than handlers.
This highly important element in the marketing picture could
be clliage(d through the use and support of a properly func-
tioning area-wide cooperative Exchange. It is reasonable to
expect that buyers would find it necessary to compete more ac-
tively among themselves for the available supply, which would
result in an improved marketing situation. An area-wide co-
operative has the distinct advantage over a marketing order of
being able to dovetail supplies with the various demands of the
market. This can be done in a way that will give buyers exactly
what they want in terms of quantity, quality, container size,
type of pack, and schedule of delivery.
Growers and handlers, through the Exchange, could follow
those advertising and merchandising programs they desired to
utilize. There would be no legal limitations as to the amount
of funds which could be withheld and used by the Exchange
for these purposes. However, the amount to be used would be
subject to a vote of the membership. The Exchange, if success-
ful in marketing potatoes, might expand its operations to bar-
gain for its members in contracting with chip manufacturers
and with farm supply sources.
Requirements on the Part of Growers for Successful Oper-
ation.-In order for the Exchange to sell effectively its mem-
bers' potatoes through one or more sales agencies, it would be
necessary for a large proportion of the growers to belong to
and support the organization. They would have to be willing






Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida 75

to enter into a marketing contract that would permit the Ex-
change to sell their potatoes or contract sales through designated
sales agencies. Growers would have to assume the ultimate
responsibility for the success or failure of the Exchange. Unless
they participated in the Exchange to the fullest of their ability,
it could never reach its potential as a service agency for them.
Growers would also need to recognize, as in any other type of
group action, the responsibility of the minority to submit to the
desires of the majority.
Characteristics of the Hastings Area Which Might Affect
Success or Failure.-A factor which would seem to have a favor-
able influence on the success of the Exchange is the widely
recognized need to reduce the number of handlers in the area.
This was emphasized by frequent remarks of growers relative
to price cutting practices among handlers in trying to move
their potatoes.
About 70 percent of the growers interviewed indicated they
would be willing to support a central sales agency. However,
many of these same growers felt there was a poor chance of
establishing such an agency due to the unwillingness of growers
to cooperate with each other. These opinions were predicated
on the idea of a single sales agency handling all sales for the
entire area. Modification of the "single sales agency" aspect
to provide for the Exchange to contract with several sales agen-
cies or handlers would seem to be a step in the right direction.
Thus, growers would have some choice of handlers.
The possibility of large volume producers' contracting with
the Exchange to handle their own sales would increase the prob-
ability of obtaining their cooperation. Since such producers
have been producing and selling their own potatoes for years,
they have developed good market contacts and reliable outlets
for their product. Some of them would be extremely reluctant
to transfer the selling function to a central authority.
In many cases, arrangements for production financing are
made with the understanding that the lender will handle the
grower's potatoes. Such lenders might be reluctant to allow
their growers to contract with the Exchange to handle their
potatoes.
Grower Bargaining Association
There has been a great amount of interest in grower bargain-
ing cooperatives in recent years. Producers of milk, sugar beets,






Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


eggs, fruits, and vegetables have used bargaining associations.
Such organizations are producer cooperatives set up to represent
farmers in negotiations on prices, contract specifications, or
other terms of sale. There were over 300 of these associations
in the United States in February 1961. The number of bargain-
ing associations by commodity groups was estimated at 200
dairy, 50 sugar beet, 30 egg, and nearly 50 fruit and vegetable
associations (8).
In recent years, the most dramatic growth in bargaining co-
operatives has been in the processed fruit and vegetable indus-
tries (8). Only two associations were started prior to World
War II. At the end of 1957, 35 fruit and vegetable bargaining
cooperatives were operating in the United States. Another 15
were organized between 1958 and 1960. These cooperatives gen-
erally do not handle the physical processing and movement of
the commodity. They merely bargain in behalf of producers
in an effort to get the most favorable prices and other terms of
sale.
The Farmer Cooperative Service of the United States De-
partment of Agriculture has knowledge of only one potato bar-
gaining association.14 This organization is only two years old
and is located in Idaho. However, McMillan stated that Irish
potato growers in Maine and sweet potato growers in Virginia,
Maryland, and New Jersey are considering bargaining associa-
tions.
Bargaining associations may actually serve as the selling
agent for their members. In such cases, there is usually a
three-way contract specifying the requirements on the part of
the grower, the association, and the processor (6). Other bar-
gaining associations limit their activities to negotiating with
processors subject to the terms of agreement reached between
the association and processors.
Possible Accomplishments of a Grower Bargaining Associa-
tion.-Over one-half of the Hastings potato crop goes to proces-
sors, primarily potato chip manufacturers. Processors acquired
about 14 percent of their total purchases of Hastings potatoes on
a contract basis during the 1957-58 season. Contract terms
in 1958 were fairly uniform between growers and various pro-
cessing firms with the exception of price specifications. Gen-
erally, growers who contracted had a little less than one-third of
W. M. McMillan, Acting Chief, Fruit and Vegetable Branch, Farmer
Cooperative Service (Letter, March 13, 1961.)







Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


their total output on contract. Some growers felt that a bar-
gaining association could serve a useful purpose in dealing with
processors.
Assuming that most growers in the area would support a
bargaining association, several things might be accomplished.
Through negotiating as a group, the bargaining power of pro-
ducers would be strengthened. As a result, growers might be
able to move the same total volume to processors at slightly
higher prices than could be obtained under present conditions.
Increasing directly the price per unit of product sold to
processors would perhaps be of less importance than some other
influences which might be created through group bargaining.
Through group action, growers might be able to obtain adop-
tion of more uniform contract terms. Negotiation on such items
as grades and grading, time of harvest and delivery, and method
of payment could be initiated. By bargaining as a group, grow-
ers could negotiate desired changes in the type of contract being
used. They could thus join with processors in working out a
contract which would be to the mutual advantage of both parties
and tend to introduce more stability into the marketing situation
in the area. A better understanding between growers and pro-
cessors would be expected to develop as they learned more of
each other's problems.
Through a bargaining association, certain costs of procure-
ment could probably be reduced. Processors should find it more
convenient and economical to do their bargaining with a single
agency rather than with a number of individual growers. Indi-
vidual contacts involved in contract sign up with growers could
be eliminated. Growers' understanding of the factors influenc-
ing the marketing of their product would be expected to improve
as they participated in group discussions and in the decision-
making processes of marketing.
Requirements on the Part of Growers for Successful Oper-
ation.-The main source of strength in a bargaining association
is the combined volume of the member-growers (7). Member-
ship representing volume sufficiently large that processors can-
not ignore it must be signed up by the bargaining group. The
greater the proportion of the total volume controlled, the greater
would be the bargaining power of the association.
Growers would need to do a good job of collecting, analyzing,
and preparing data and information to be used in negotiating
with processors. This would be necessary to establish and






Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


maintain the respect and cooperation of processors in their
dealing with the association. Although the marketing season
is relatively short, a small, highly efficient staff would need to be
employed on a year-round basis to keep a finger on the economic
pulse of the industry and be adequately prepared to negotiate
with processors at the appropriate time.
Growers would need to recognize the importance of being
concerned with the long-range welfare of the industry as a whole.
There might exist, in the short run, the temptation to take ad-
vantage of increased bargaining power to extract prices for
potatoes higher than justified by supply and demand conditions.
Such action would be a stimulus for increased production which
might not be in the longer-run interests of growers. Growers
would also have to be willing to live up to their commitments at
any particular time. Only as a result of such support would the
association be able to speak clearly and authoritatively for its
members.
Characteristics of the Hastings Area Which Might Affect
Success or Failure.-One of the most important factors which
might contribute to the successful operation of a bargaining
association is the desire of growers to keep control of the in-
dustry in their own hands. It is doubtful whether the large
independent growers would be willing to go along with any pro-
posal which required surrender of an appreciable amount of
their independence. It is conceivable that both large and small
growers would benefit from the improved bargaining position
they might acquire. This means of attacking the problem would
likely forestall state or federal regulation for the area.
There are several reasons why the successful operation of a
bargaining association might be difficult or impossible. The
fresh and processed market are about equally important in
terms of total volume of sales from the area. Many growers
and handlers channel a part of their potatoes through each mar-
ket outlet rather than selling their entire volume through either
one outlet. The problem is further complicated by the fact that
the bulk of the processors' demand is for the same grade and
size potatoes which are in strongest demand by fresh market
buyers. The fresh market is getting adequate supplies of pota-
toes. If processors should refuse to negotiate with a grower
bargaining association, there seems little reason to believe that
supplies would not be available to them in the Hastings area.
The fresh market could not absorb the present production at







Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


prices acceptable to growers. In view of the above, it probably
would be difficult for a bargaining association to obtain sub-
stantial economic concessions from processors.
There exists the possibility of bargaining with fresh market
as well as processor buyers. This, however, would involve many
small buyers as well as a few large chain buyers, and successful
bargaining might be difficult.
Assuming that a grower bargaining association could nego-
tiate successfully with processors, there would be nothing to
prevent them from growing their own potatoes. However, it
is believed that contract conditions could be stabilized to the
advantage of growers without encouraging processors to ex-
pand their own production activity in the area.

SUMMARY

The Hastings potato area is composed of three counties in
northeast Florida-Flagler, Putnam, and St. Johns. About 90
percent of the spring potato crop in the state is produced in
this area.
One of the major purposes of this study was to describe
important changes in the Hastings potato industry during the
five-year period 1953-54 to 1957-58. These related particularly
to changes in market organization, grower and shipper practices,
and the proportion of the crop going to processors. Attention
was given to obtaining opinions of growers and shippers relative
to the present marketing situation and also to evaluating the
possibilities and probable effects of some alternative group ac-
tion on the part of the industry.
For the purpose of obtaining information from growers, the
farms were divided into three size groups-small, medium and
large (less than 100 acres of potatoes, 150 to 249 acres, and 250
acres or more)-on the basis of the acres of potatoes grown in
the 1957-58 season. There were 183 farm operators in the
small farm group, 61 in the medium, and 25 in the large farm
group. A disproportionate probability sample of growers was
selected for interview. Records were obtained from 93 growers.
A non-probability sample of handlers was interviewed, including
those listed most frequently as selling potatoes of growers from
which records were obtained.
Potato production is highly specialized in the Hastings area.
Cabbage is the only other important cash crop. The area experi-







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


enced unusually good potato seasons especially in 1953-54 and
1954-55. The number of growers in the area increased 22 per-
cent from 1954 to 1958. Acres of potatoes harvested increased
36 percent. Increase in sales during this period was about 19
percent, as yield per acre declined during the 1956-57 and 1957-
58 seasons due to unfavorable production conditions.
The trend towards mechanical harvesting was quite pro-
nounced during the period studied. About one-third of the
growers owned mechanical harvesters in 1958. The increase in
mechanical harvesters was associated with an increase in the
number of grower-owned-and-operated packinghouses, which al-
most doubled between 1954 and 1958. Growers on medium and
large farms accounted for most of the increase in new packing-
houses. Thirty-four of the 51 grower packinghouses were
equipped to handle potatoes hauled in bulk.
The outstanding credit development during the period was
the increase in the proportion of operators of large farm obtain-
ing loans: 36 percent in 1954-55, compared to 68 percent in
1957-58. The amount loaned per acre of potatoes produced
varied from $233 to $253 during the period. Loans from pro-
duction credit associations accounted for about one-third of the
credit extended growers on each size of farm. Cooperatives
were the most important source of credit for operators of me-
dium and small farms. Bank credit was important only to oper-
ators of large farms.
The advent of contract growing of potatoes by processors
was an important development during the period of the study.
An estimated eight growers had contracts in 1954-55 compared
to 65 in 1957-58. On the average, contract volume made up
about one-third of the total production of contract growers but
only about 10.4 percent of the total production in the area in
1957-58. Contracts usually specified U. S. 1 potatoes. The
price was on a sliding-scale basis, the amount to be the market
price if the market price was within the minimum and maximum
price range at the time of sale.
Over one-half of the sample growers thought contracting
would increase. Those contracting in 1958 were well pleased
with the provisions of their contracts. Since growers usually
contract only a part of their production and the contracts are
for a stated number of bags of potatoes, this results in a vary-
ing proportion of crops being delivered as yield per acre fluc-
tuates. This is a serious problem for the grower in a year when






Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


production is low. He has to sell more than a normal part of
his crop at the maximum contract price when the market price
might be considerably higher. Some adjustment in contract
provisions are needed to make it possible for the amount deliv-
ered to fluctuate with fluctuations in production.
Handlers were divided into three groups-growers, cooper-
atives, and other agents. The proportion of total area sales
handled by cooperatives declined during the period studied, re-
mained fairly constant for grower-handler, and increased for
other agents. The contribution to total sales by size of farm
varied greatly by type of handler. Operators of large farms ac-
counted for about two-thirds of all grower-handler sales, but
over one-half of sales by cooperatives were for potatoes grown
on small farms. Sales of other agents were about equally divided
between each size of farm group.
Buyers were classified into five types: truckers, retailers,
wholesalers, processors, and others. Distribution of sales by
type of buyers was obtained for 1957 and 1958. Processors were
by far the most important single type of buyer, accounting for
41 percent of total sales in 1958. However, some of the sales
to other buyers also entered the processed market. It was
estimated that 54 percent of the total volume sold was utilized
by processors in 1957 and 62 in 1958.
Growers were asked to give their opinions as to what con-
stituted the main problems facing the potato industry in the
Hastings area. The five mentioned most frequently were (a)
too many potatoes, (b) too many handlers, (c) poor quality,
(d) poor market organization, and (e) contracting. About 81
percent of the growers felt that production should be decreased.
About an equal proportion felt that the increase in the number
of growers selling their own potatoes had resulted in depressing
market prices due to the practice of price cutting. About 80
percent of the growers felt that a smaller number of handlers
would be desirable.
When asked to appraise some group action that might be
tried in the area, about two-thirds of the growers said they
would support a central sales agency if one were set up. How-
ever, about one-half of the growers thought there was a poor
chance of such an agency's operating successfully. Approxi-
mately one-third of the growers thought a federal-state market-
ing agreement would be useful in improving quality and stand-
ardizing the potatoes going to market. They felt that the






82 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

greatest disadvantage in a marketing agreement would be the
problem of getting an administrative committee that would do
a good job in recommending regulations.
About 75 percent of the growers felt that the sale of im-
mature potatoes had adversely affected the fresh market. Oper-
ators of small farms tended to favor a maturity regulation,
while those of medium and large farms were generally opposed.
Two-thirds of the growers felt that the proportion of the crop
going to the fresh market should be increased. Improvement
in quality and the use of advertising were mentioned most often
as means through which fresh market sales might be increased.
The combined influence of factors reported in this study-a
larger number of growers, more production, increased demand
for potatoes for processing, use of production contracts, chang-
ing relationship between buyers and handlers, shifts to mechanic-
al harvesting, and increased grower activity in packing-has
confronted the industry with some difficult marketing problems.
It appears that some organized group action might be helpful
in attempts to improve the situation. An area-wide cooperative
with one or more central sales agencies could be used to solve
certain problems if it was adequately supported by growers.
However, there is a strong tendency towards independence on
the part of most growers. It appears that the trust and deter-
mination necessary to insure the success of such a venture is
lacking at the present time.
Prices for potatoes in the Hastings area are related to the
supply situation for new potatoes from other areas and also
the amount of stored potatoes in late producing states. Group
action which tended to increase net returns to the industry
would be an open invitation to increase supplies. There would
be no improvement in relative prices if supplies were not held
in line with market demand. Group action would be expected
to result in larger net returns for Hastings potatoes by provid-
ing more orderly marketing, a higher quality product with
better appearance and acceptability, and other improvements,
rather than by restricting supply to bring about a price out of
line with the market situation in other areas.







Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


APPENDIX

Calculation of Chi-Square
The chi-square test was used to obtain a basis for rejecting
the hypothesis that response was independent of size group.
For example, a portion of the data from Table 26, with ap-
propriate calculations, may be used for illustration.
OBSERVED AND EXPECTED RESPONSE TO THE QUESTION, "Do You THINK
CONTRACT GROWING WILL INCREASE OR DECREASE IN THIS AREA?"

Size Group

Response Small Medium | Large All sizes
Ob- Ex Ob- Ex- Ob-- Ex- Ob- I Ex-
served pected served pected served pected served pected
(number of growers)
Increase 26 29.29 13 12.14 11 8.57 50 50.00
Decrease 15 11.71 4 4.86 1 3.43 20 20.00

Total 41 41.00 17 17.00 12 12.00 70 70.00


The expected values in the above tables were calculated from
the border totals of the observed values as follows:
(41)(50)/70 = 29.29; (41)(20)/70 = 11.71; (17)(50)/70 = 12.14;
(17)(20)/70 = 4.86; (12)(50)/70 = 8.57; (12)(20)/70 = 3.43

Next, the difference between the observed and the expected
was derived as follows:
26 29.29 = -3.29; 13 12.14 = .86; 11 8.57 = 2.43

Then:
(-3.29): + (-3.29)' + (.86)2 + (.86)2 + (2.43)2 + (2.43)'
X2:d = -= 3.92
29.29 11.71 12.14 4.86 8.57 3.43

The resulting value of X2 is not large enough to be significant at
the 90 percent level; hence, we cannot reject the hypothesis that
response is independent of size group. Had the X2 value been
as large or larger than the tabular value of X2 with 2 degrees of
freedom for the 90 percent level or the 95 percent level, the hypo-
thesis of independence would have been rejected and the con-
clusion drawn that response was dependent upon size group.






Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


Federal Marketing Agreements and Orders
Marketing agreements and orders are means through which
certain marketing problems may be approached on a group basis
by producers and handlers of a specified commodity within a
particular geographical area.
The Secretary of Agriculture may enter into marketing agree-
ments with processors, producers, associations of producers, and
others engaged in handling any agricultural commodity in inter-
state or foreign commerce (1). Marketing agreements are
voluntary in nature and binding only on those individuals or
agencies that actually sign the agreements.
Marketing orders differ from marketing agreements in that
they provide for compulsory compliance by all dealers and han-
dlers within a given geographical area. Only specified com-
modities (which include potatoes) may be covered by a mar-
keting order, whereas any commodity may be covered by a
marketing agreement. A marketing order may be issued with-
out a marketing agreement if (a) the Secretary of Agriculture
determines that failure of handlers to sign the marketing agree-
ment tends to prevent carrying out the declared policy of the
Marketing Agreement Act, or (b) that the only practical means
of advancing the interest of the producers is through issuance
of an order. In the latter case, the order cannot be issued unless
either two-thirds of the producers vote in favor of the order or
two-thirds of the total volume of the commodity produced in
the specified area is grown by those producers voting in favor
of the order (1).
Usually, marketing orders are expected to evolve out of mar-
keting agreements. With the exception as noted above, market-
ing orders cannot become effective until the handlers of not less
than 50 percent of the commodity covered by the order have
voluntarily signed a marketing agreement which regulates the
handling of the commodity in the same manner as the order.
After the handlers of 50 percent or more of the product covered
by the proposed order have signed the marketing agreement,
the Secretary of Agriculture may issue an order provided that
(a) at least two-thirds of the producers vote in favor of the
order, or (b) two-thirds of the total volume of the commodity
produced in the specified area is grown by those producers voting
in favor of the order (1). Once issued, the order is binding on








Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


all handlers regardless of whether they signed the marketing
agreement.




Appendix Tables




TABLE 1.-SPECIFIED CHARACTERISTICS OF COMMERCIAL POTATO OPERATIONS,
BY SIZE OF FARM, 93 GROWERS, HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, 1958.

Item Size of Farm* All
SSmall I Medium I Large farms


Number of growers in sample
Average age of growers (years)
Average years experience in growing
potatoes in the Hastings Area
Cash crops other than potatoes
in the 1957-58 season:
Cabbage:
Number of growers producing
Total acres planted
Average acres per farm
Total acres followed by potatoes
Other:
Number of growers producing
Total acres planted
Total acres followed by potatoes
Number of sample growers who were
producing potatoes in:
1957-58
1956-57
1955-56
1954-55
1953-54

Acres planted in potatoes in 1957-58: Small,
acres; Large, 250 acres or more.


16 20 20 18


11
1,122
102
52


52
2,344
45
120


less than 100 acres; Medium, 100 to 249








86 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


TABLE 2.-ACRES OF POTATOES PLANTED AND HARVESTED BY TYPE OF POTATO
AND BY SIZE OF FARM, 93 GROWERS, HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA,
1953-54 TO 1957-58.

Type of Potatoes
Season White potatoes ) Red Potatoes | All potatoes
Plant- Har- Plant- Har- Plant- Har-
ed vested ed vested ed vested
Small Farm
1953-54 1,681 1,677 73 73 1,754 1,750
1954-55 1,800 1,800 97 97 1,897 1,897
1955-56 2,045 2,045 99 99 2,144 2,144
1956-57 2,318 2,299 186 186 2,504 2,485
1957-58 2,420 2,265 204 200 2,624 2,465
5-season average 2,053 2,017 132 131 2,185 2,148
Medium Farm
1953-54 2,229 2,229 15 15 2,244 2,244
1954-55 2,425 2,425 45 45 2,470 2,470
1955-56 2,425 2,425 50 50 2,475 2,475
1956-57 3,239 3,209 109 105 3,348 3,314
1957-58 3,076 2,854 167 167 3,243 3,021
5-season average 2,679 2,628 77 76 2,756 2,705
Large Farm
1953-54 3,964 3,964 140 140 4,104 4,104
1954-55 4,434 4,434 140 140 4,574 4,574
1955-56 4,603 4,603 190 190 4,793 4,793
1956-57 5,508 5,468 278 278 5,786 5,746
1957-58 5,536 5,064 401 351 5,937 5,415
5-season average 4,809 4,707 230 220 5,039 4,926
All Farms
1953-54 7,874 7,870 228 228 8,102 8,098
1954-55 8,659 8,659 282 282 8,941 8,941
1955-56 9,073 9,073 339 339 9,412 9,412
1956-57 11,065 10,976 573 569 11,638 11,545
1957-58 11,032 10,183 772 718 11,804 10,901
5-season average 9,541 9,352 439 427 9,979 9,779








Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida 87






TABLE 3.-VOLUME OF POTATOES SOLD AND AVERAGE SALES PER ACRE
HARVESTED, BY TYPE OF POTATOES AND BY SIZE OF FARM, 93 GROWERS,
HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, 1953-54 TO 1957-58.
Type of Potatoes
White potatoes IRed potatoes I All potatoes
Season Average Average T Average
Total per Total per Total per
sales acre sales acre sales acre
(Hundredweights)
Small Farm
1953-54 281,777 168 11,932 163 293,709 168
1954-55 302,845 168 16,427 169 319,272 168
1955-56 353,879 173 16,235 164 370,114 173
1956-57 334,510 146 27,692 149 362,202 146
1957-58 322,048 142 29,273 146 351,321 143
5-season average 319,012 158 20,312 155 339,324 158
Medium Farm
1953-54 396,025 178 3,000 200 399,025 178
1954-55 450,555 186 9,000 200 459,555 186
1955-56 437,130 180 9,800 196 446,930 181
1956-57 508,760 159 17,430 166 526,190 159
1957-58 445,143 156 27,059 162 472,202 156
5-season average 447,523 170 13,257 174 460,780 170
Large Farm
1953-54 700,240 177 26,300 188 726,540 177
1954-55 754,753 170 27,000 193 781,753 171
1955-56 824,280 179 36,610 193 860,890 180
1956-57 846,788 155 53,635 193 900,423 157
1957-58 787,724 156 61,527 175 849,251 157
5-season average 782,757 166 41,014 187 823,771 167
All Farms
1953-54 1,378,042 175 41,232 181 1,419,274 175
1954-55 1,508,153 174 52,427 186 1,560,580 175
1955-56 1,615,289 178 62,645 185 1,677,934 178
1956-57 1,690,058 154 98,757 174 1,788,815 155
1957-58 1,554,915 153 117,859 164 1,672,774 153
5-season average 1,549,291 166 74,584 175 1,623,875 166








Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


TABLE 4.-NUMBER OF SAMPLE GROWERS OWNING MECHANICAL HARVESTERS,
NUMBER OF HARVESTERS OWNED, YEAR OF PURCHASE, ACRES HARVESTED FOR
OWNERS AND FOR OTHERS, AND AVERAGE CUSTOM RATE CHARGED, BY SIZE OF
FARM, HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, 1957-58.


Item


Size of Farm
Small I Medium I


Large


All
Farms


Number of growers owning
mechanical harvesters
Number of mechanical harvesters
owned:
1-row machines
2-row machines
Total
Year purchased:
1958
1957
1956
1955
1954
Unknown
Total
Number of acres harvested with
mechanical harvesters in 1957-58
season:
Owners' crops
Custom basis for others
Total
Average custom rate charged
in cents per graded cwt.


14 11


8 33


13 4 6 23
3 15 11 29
16 19 17 52


16 19 17 52


766 1,346 2,072
205 288 100
971 1,634 2,172


4,184
593
4,777


36.2 42.5 37.5 38.1


36.2 42.5


37.5 38.1







Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


TABLE 5.-NUMBER OF SAMPLE GROWERS OWNING PACKINGHOUSES AND
SELECTED CHARACTERISTICS OF PACKING OPERATIONS, BY SIZE OF FARM,
HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, 1958.


Item


Size of Farm
Small [ Medium


e
Large


All
Farms


Number of growers owning
packinghouses:
Sole ownership
Joint ownership
Total
Number of houses operated
Year house was built or
acquired:
1957
1956
1955
1954
1953
1952
1951
1950
1947
1944
1938
1936
Total
Number of houses equipped to
handle bulk potatoes
Number of hundredweights
received in bulk in 1957-58
season
Number of hundredweights
packed in 1957-58
Average plant capacity
(cwt. per hour)


9 17


17,500 252,336 287,550 557,386

68,330 488,704 820,815 1,377,849


300 413 353









TABLE 6.-NUMBER OF SAMPLE GROWERS OBTAINING LOANS FOR POTATO PRODUCTION, BY SOURCE OF LOAN AND BY SIZE OF
FARM, HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, 1953-54 TO 1957-58.


Size of Farm
and Season

PCA Bank

Small farms:
1953-54 10 2
1954-55 11 3
1955-56 13 3
1956-57 17 1
1957-58 17 -
Medium farms:
1953-54 6 1
1954-55 8 1
1955-56 8 1
1956-57 9 1
1957-58 9 1
Large farms:
1953-54 2 2
1954-55 2 2
1955-56 2 2
1956-57 2 2
1957-58 3 3
All farms:
1953-54 18 5
1954-55 21 6
1955-56 23 6
1956-57 28 4
1957-58 29 4


Source of Loan



Cooper- Indi-
ative vidual Other


Bank
and
PCA


Bank
and
ind.


Combination of All
Bank Coop. Coop. Sources
and and and
other ind. other






TABLE 7.-VOLUME OF CREDIT USED BY SAMPLE GROWERS, BY SOURCE OF LOAN AND BY SIZE OF FARM, HASTINGS AREA,
FLORIDA, 1953-54 TO 1957-58.


Size of Farm
and Season
Small farms:
1953-54
1954-55
1955-56
1956-57
1957-58
Total
Medium farms:
1953-54
1954-55
1955-56
1956-57
1957-58
Total
Large farms:
1953-54
1954-55
1955-56
1956-57
1957-58
Total
All farms:
1953-54
1954-55
1955-56
1956-57
1957-58
Total


Source of Loan All
PCA I Bank I Cooperative I Individual Other Sources


$ 103,082
131,797
153,636
210,941
215,491
814,947

124,755
204,525
200,725
275,552
288,088
1,093,645

73,019
74,632
82,734
85,477
156,393
472,255

300,856
410,954
437,095
571,970
659,972
2,380,847


$ 17,758 $ 267,997
22,693 248,369
25,433 208,705
17,762 230,278
15,887 269,141
99,533 1,224,490


29,130
29,774
29,130
57,563
65,005
210,602

26,994
33,544
33,611
54,464
152,282


300,895

73,882
86,011
88,174
129,789
233,174
611,030


279,105
273,440
261,705
263,436
277,331
1,355,017


$ 10,991
11,839
16,446
50,796
40,016
130,088

47,579
67,208
66,999
188,566
39,698
410,050


38,840
39,698
39,776
62,406
76,173


256,893

585,942
561,507
510,186
556,120
622,645
2,836,400


58,570
79,047
83,445
239,362
79,714
540,138


$ 32,666
36,462
46,476
55,733
60,307
231,644

26,800

10,409

63,517
100,726



79,552
149,397
148,310
377,259

59,466
36,462
136,437
205,130
272,134
709,629


$ 432,494
451,160
450,696
565,510
600,842
2,500,702

507,369
574,947
568,968
785,117
733,639
3,170,040

138,853
147,874
235,673
351,744
533,158
1,407,302

1,078,716
1,173,981
1,255,337
1,702,371
1,867,639
7,078,044


---


---


---


----








Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


TABLE 8.-ESTIMATED VOLUME OF CREDIT USED IN POTATO PRODUCTION,
BY SOURCE OF LOAN AND BY SIZE OF FARM, HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA, 1953-54
TO 1957-58*.

Size of Farm Source of Loan
and Season Cooper- Indi- All
PCA Bank Iative vidual Other Sources
(1,000 dollars)


Small farms:
1953-54
1954-55
1955-56
1956-57
1957-58
Total
Medium farms:
1953-54
1954-55
1955-56
1956-57
1957-58
Total
Large farms:
1953-54
1954-55
1955-56
1956-57
1957-58
Total


363 63 943
464 80 874
541 90 735
743 63 811
759 56 947
2,870 352 4,310


304
499
490
672
703
2,668


71 681 116
73 667 164
71 639 163
140 643 460
159 677 97
514 3,307 1,000


114 42 61
116 52 62
129 52 62
133 85 97
244 238 119
736 469 401


All farms:
1953-54 781
1954-55 1,079
1955-56 1,160
1956-57 1,548
1957-58 1,706
Total 6,274

Computed from Appendix TM


- 124
- 233
- 231
-- 588


176 1,685 155
205 1,603 206
213 1,436 221
288 1,551 639
453 1,743 238
1,335 8,018 1,459


180
128
313
429
598
1,648


1,523
1,588
1,588
1,992
2,115
8,806

1,237
1,403
1,388
1,915
1,791
7,734


217
230
367
548
832
2,194

2,977
3,221
3,343
4,455
4,738
18,734







Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


TABLE 9.-NUMBER OF CONTRACTS HELD BY SAMPLE GROWERS FROM 1953-54
TO 1957-58 AND SELECTED SPECIFICATIONS OF CONTRACTS FOR THE 1957-58
SEASON, BY SIZE OF FARM, HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA.


Item


Growers holding contracts:
1953-54
'1954-55
1955-56
1956-57
1957-58
Specifications of 1957-58
contracts:
Quality of potatoes:
U. S. No. 1, size A
U. S. No. 1
Percentage U. S. No. 1
Unspecified
Total*
Price per hundredweight:
U. S. No. 1, size A:
$2.50-$3.25
$2.50-$3.50
U. S. No. 1:
$2.50-$3.25
$2.50-$3.50
$3.00 flat rate
Percentage U. S. No. 1:
$2.00-$3.00
$3.00 flat rate
$4.50 flat rate
Unspecified quality:
$2.90 flat rate
Total
Federal-State inspection
New bags
Bags furnished by grower

One grower had two contracts.


Size of Farm
Small I Medium ] Large

(number)


1



1
12


5 24


1 4
- 11

2 2
1 1
1 2

- 1
- 1
- 1

- 1
5 24
2 14
2 18
4 22


All
Farms


~







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


TABLE 10.-DISTRIBUTION OF SAMPLE GROWERS BY TYPE OF HANDLER AND
SIZE OF FARM, HASTINGS, AREA, FLORIDA, 1953-54 TO 1957-58.


Type of Handler and Season Size of Farm
SSmall I Medium


All
Large Farms


Grower-handlers:
1953-54 1 4 5 10
1954-55 2 4 5 11
1955-56 3 4 4 11
1956-57 3 4 4 11
1957-58 3 4 4 11
Cooperative:
1953-54 24 8 1 33
1954-55 21 8 1 30
1955-56 20 8 1 29
1956-57 22 6 28
1957-58 23 6 29


Other agents:
1953-54
1954-55
1955-56
1956-57
1957-58
Combination:
Grower-handler and cooperative
1953-54
1954-55
1955-56
1956-57
1957-58
Grower-handler and other agents:
1953-54
1954-55
1955-56
1956-57
1957-58


1-
1-
1 1


Cooperative and other agents:
1953-54 1 1 1 3
1954-55 3 1 1 5
1955-56 1 1 1 3
1956-57 2 2 3 7
1957-58 4 1 3 8


:







Potatoes in the Hastings Area of Florida


TABLE 11.-DISTRIBUTION OF TOTAL SALES VOLUME, BY TYPE OF HANDLER
AND BY SIZE OF FARM, ALL SAMPLE GROWERS, HASTINGS AREA, FLORIDA,
1953-54 To 1957-58.


Year and Type
of Handler

1953-54
Grower-handler
Cooperative
Other agents
Total
1954-55
Grower-handler
Cooperative
Other agents
Total
1955-56
Grower-handler
Cooperative
Other agents
Total
1956-57
Grower-handler
Cooperative
Other agents
Total
1957-58
Grower-handler
Cooperative
Other agents
Total
All years
Grower-handler
Cooperative
Other agents
Total


Size of Farm
Small | Medium
hundredweightss)


12,450
190,468
90,791
293,709

25,219
193,946
100,107
319,272

22,192
198,870
149,052


370,114

27,649
197,145
137,408
362,202

29,522
187,266
134,533
851,321

117,032
967,695
611,891
1,696,618


99,550
158,230
141,245
399,025

123,932
191,738
143,885
459,555

143,346
180,689
122,895
446,930

126,606
177,486
222,098
526,190

137,802
159,874
174,526
472,202

631,236
868,017
804,649
2,303,902


Large


404,843 516,843
92,090 440,788
229,607 461,643
726,540 1,419,274


444,691
89,990
247,072
781,753

471,061
100,055
289,774


860,890 1,677,934


427,383
86,725
386,315
900,423

408,439
105,918
334,894
849,251

2,156,417
474,778
1,487,662
4,118,857


All
Farms


593,842
475,674
491,064
1,560,580

636,599
479,614
561,721


581,638
461,356
745,821
1,788,815

575,763
453,058
643,953
1,672,774

2,904,685
2,310,490
2,904,202
8,119,377


~


--




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