US: Potato outlook somewhat brighter in 2017

Packing potatoesFor growers looking for a bright spot in 2017, potatoes might be that crop — if potatoes are already part of the rotation. Though Idaho and Washington are still the leading potato growing states, Idaho’s share has been slowly diminishing over time. Back in 1990, when Idaho growers planted 405,000 acres of potatoes, the Gem State represented 32 to 33 percent of the nation’s entire potato acres, said Ryan Larsen, an Extension farm management specialist at Utah State University. But in 2015, when growers planted 323,000 acres of potatoes, that accounted for just 27 to 28 percent of the total acres. Washington’s share has stayed fairly steady with growers planting 133,000 acres in 1990 versus 170,000 acres in 2015. North Dakota, the third largest potato growing state, has also seen production drop from 150,000 acres in 1990 to 82,000 acres in 2015. More