Potato industry leaders say a recent $25 million special purchase of fresh and processed spuds by USDA should help move a large 2012 crop while providing the federal agency a good buy on a nutritious commodity.
The order, described by USDA as a "bonus buy" beyond its usual commodity purchases, was requested in a Sept. 28 letter by the National Potato Council. It represents the equivalent of about 300 million pounds of fresh potatoes, which will be sent to federal nutrition programs and food banks.
According to a Dec. 11 USDA report, Idaho's potato crop, at 143 million cwt, is up 11 percent from last season, and national fall potato production, at 422 million cwt, is up 8 percent. The percentage of potatoes at 10 ounces or more, at 32.9 percent, is up from 25.6 percent last season.
SOURCE: John O'Connell, Capital Press