New crop storage problems on horizon

Once harvested, crops not immediately consumed or processed are stored — sometimes for months. The warming climate is making that job harder and costlier.

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March 26, 2021 - 1:10 PM

MECOSTA, Mich. (AP) — For generations, Brian Sackett’s family has farmed potatoes that are made into chips found on grocery shelves in much of the eastern U.S.

About 25% of the nation’s potato chips get their start in Michigan, where reliably cool air during September harvest and late spring has been ideal for crop storage. That’s a big reason why the state produces more chipping potatoes than any other.

But with temperatures edging higher, Sackett had to buy several small refrigeration units for his sprawling warehouses. Last year, he paid $125,000 for a bigger one. It’s expensive to operate, but beats having his potatoes rot.

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