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US: Deal to ship Northwest-grown potatoes to China

Federal agriculture officials announced Tuesday they have reached an agreement to export U.S. potatoes to China for processing. The deal, which includes crops grown in Idaho, Washington and Oregon, is expected to add about $20 million worth of exports a year.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture along with the U.S. Trade Representative announced the deal Tuesday for potatoes, which has a significant regional impact because Idaho and Washington lead the nation in potato production.

“This is a big win for Washington and Idaho potato growers and job creation throughout our state,” U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell said in a statement.

Cantwell said she and Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, have been working on a bipartisan effort to open China as an export market for potatoes for processing, also known as chipping potatoes.

Washington state ranks second in the nation behind Idaho in potato production, but Washington ranks first in yield per acre.

In 2017, the Evergreen State’s potato harvest was valued at $772 million. The state already exports about $84 million worth of potatoes a year. The deal with China is expected to increase that figure.

“If access to China’s fresh potato market is granted to the United States, it is estimated that China could become a top five market for U.S. potato exports,” the lawmakers wrote.

Read the full report by Thomas Clouse in the Spokesman-Review here

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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