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Idaho Potato Commission sees strong spud demand for quality crop

This is a crop that will sell itself. It’s a refrain that Frank Muir has heard more than once since he became president and CEO of the Idaho Potato Commission in 2003. But Muir had a message for those in attendance at the Commission’s 2019 Harvest Meeting, hosted Nov. 13 at the Shoshone-Bannock Hotel and Event Center.

“Thirteen billion pounds of potatoes does not sell itself; you’ve got to market it,” Muir said. “You have the perfect opportunity to keep the demand going and keep prices strong. This product doesn’t just magically sell itself.”

One of the messages to come out of the Harvest Meeting was that while Idaho’s total production and yield is down for 2019, the quality of the crop is excellent and Idaho has enough potatoes to meet demand.

“The last message we want to send is that Idaho doesn’t have any potatoes to provide all of your retail needs,” Muir said. “We will have sufficient potatoes to meet their needs.”

According to a recent crop production report released by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, Idaho’s yield is 435 hundredweight per acre, down 15 cwt from 2018.

In the same report, NASS estimated that total production for 2019 would be 13.4 billion hundredweight, down about 5.5 percent from the 2018 production total of 14.2 billion hundredweight.

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