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US: State potato growers enjoy an advantage

As far as agriculture goes, Grant County potato growers are in a pretty sweet spot. The job for the future is finding ways to stay in the sweet spot, said Chris Voigt, executive director of the Washington Potato Commission. Most Washington potatoes, Grant County’s included, are grown for the process market. “Ninety percent of what we grow is an ingredient,” processed into French fries, hash browns and similar products, he said. But on a per-capita basis, U.S. residents are eating fewer potatoes overall, Voigt said, and that trend dates back about 15 years. Research shows potato consumption is down “because people just aren’t cooking.” It turns out children are the crucial factor in potato consumption. “People eat potatoes when there are kids.” Potato production hasn’t changed much in that span because the country’s population is still increasing due to immigration. Potato acreage in Grant County in any given year is about 170,000 to 175,000 acres. More

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