Published online: Oct 22, 2010 Potato Storage, Potato Harvesting, Seed Potatoes
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New figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show the value of Idaho's potato crop reached a record $855 million last year. That's an increase of nearly $22 million from 2008, according to the report the USDA released Thursday.

Idaho Potato Commission President Frank Muir told the Idaho State Journal in Pocatello that the record value shows that 2009 had a positive ending for growers, despite challenges caused by price slumps and high yields.

Idaho growers harvested 319,000 acres of potatoes last year and saw record yields of 411 hundredweight (the equivalent of 41,100 pounds) per acre. Many growers panicked when they saw those numbers and started shipping spuds too quickly, resulting in prices that were lower than the cost of production for most farmers.

At the time, the Idaho Potato Commission urged growers to be patient and refrain from shipping their crops too fast. The advice paid off when prices rebounded over the past few months.