SOUTH East Potato Growers Association chairman Andrew Widdison, Kalangadoo, says local growers have been shocked by McCain's decision to close its Penola potato processing plant, and are desperately seeking more information about the future of their contracts once the plant closes in December.
Andrew - who sold 95 per cent of his potatoes to McCain Foods - has a contract for the upcoming season, but is unsure where his future lies after that runs out in June.
"There's a contract in place right now, but that contract will be null and void at the end of this coming season, and we're not sure if there's another one coming," he said.
"We don't grow potatoes without a contract. If we know now that this is our last season we'll be doing things differently.
"The sooner we know something more, the better."
Andrew said the prospect of transporting the potato harvest to Ballarat, Vic, was of real concern.
"The freight is a big issue - it's probably the fastest-rising cost for growers," he said. "At the moment we're trying to work out who is expected to foot the bill for moving the spuds all that way.
"If nothing is being processed at Safries from January, there's a huge amount of potatoes to be shifted from day one."
* Full report in Stock Journal, October 17 issue, 2013.