Published online: Aug 28, 2012 Potato Storage, Potato Harvesting, Insecticide, Fungicide, Seed Potatoes
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The South Korean government shut off all shipments of fresh potatoes from Oregon, Washington and Idaho beginning Aug. 17 because of concerns over the presence of zebra chip in Pacific Northwest potatoes.

The disease, which was found for the first time in the Northwest last year, has been found in one field in Oregon and four fields in Idaho this summer.

The announcement, which came to the attention of the Oregon Department of Agriculture Aug. 10, threatens to undermine a significant market for Northwest potato growers.

Oregon growers shipped just under 12,000 tons to Korea last year and more than 17,000 tons in 2010.

The majority are used to make potato chips.

"We have producers in the Klamath Basin who produce based on contracts and who may not have a home for their potatoes," said Jim Cramer, administrator of the department's commodity inspection division.

Cramer said the department will work with federal officials and officials from Idaho and Washington to try and get the export ban lifted.

SOURCE: Mitch Lies, Capital Press