MSU Helps Make Michigan a Top Potato Chip Producer

Published online: May 21, 2020 Articles
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Source: WLNS

Michigan is the top-producing state in the U.S. for potatoes grown for the potato chip industry.

More than 70 percent of the state’s annual 1.7 billion pounds of potatoes go toward chip production. Twenty-five percent of potato chip bags in the U.S. are filled with Michigan-grown potatoes.

Chris Long, Michigan State University Extension potato specialist, leads the Potato Outreach Program, which supports potato growers by conducting on-farm research and demonstration trials on all aspects of potato production.

“Without the research and outreach coming out of MSU, the state’s potato industry could be 20 years behind from where it is now,” says Kelly Turner, Michigan Potato Industry Commission executive director.

“The MPIC is a tremendous funder of my research, but they also set priorities and the bull’s eye for what we are trying to accomplish,” says Long.

“The research really is what has moved Michigan forward and put us on the map in the potato industry nationwide,” Turner says. “MSU is nationally recognized for the work that they do. When talking to some of our largest growers, they have placed their success squarely on the shoulders of the research that’s been done at MSU.”

Detroit-based Better Made Snack Foods has built its success by embracing its Michigan roots and sourcing the bulk of its potatoes from Michigan.

The company uses 60 million pounds of potatoes each year and has worked closely with the MSU breeding program.