US: Study found 25 percent decline in potato acreage in significant growing region due to water problems

Image result for Washington State University logoA Washington State University study has found a 25 percent decline in potato acreage in a significant portion of land atop the Odessa Aquifer between 2005 and 2015, due primarily to a drop in both water quality and water quantity. This is important to Adams, Grant, Lincoln and Franklin counties because the alternatives to potato production – mainly dry-farm wheat – don’t provide anywhere the economic boost, or the jobs, that potatoes do, according to Matt Harris, director of government affairs for the Washington Potato Commission. “The decline is very alarming in itself,” Harris said. Despite the decline in acreage, the study says potato production in the region was still worth $116 million in 2015 and accounted for roughly 3,000 processing jobs – jobs that likely won’t exist if farmers have to replace potato growing with less water-intensive crops. More