US: Columbia Basin potato farmers happy with harvest

In this Sept. 2014 file photo, potatoes ride a conveyor belt into a cold storage facility outside of Hermiston.As fall potato harvest wraps up around the Columbia Basin, farmers are expecting above-average yield and quality thanks to an exceptional growing season. Bill Brewer, CEO of the Oregon Potato Commission, said early spring conditions helped to jump-start the crop’s growth, while summer cooled off enough to avoid stifling the plants. Most farms finished harvesting ahead of schedule, Brewer said, with only minimal delays from October’s record rainfall. “The weather was actually very cooperative,” Brewer said. “It ended up working out well.” According to the National Weather Service in Pendleton, 1.9 inches of rain fell last month at the Hermiston Municipal Airport, making it the wettest October on record. Downtown Pendleton also received 2.32 inches of rain, making it the third-wettest October there since 1900. More