On May 11, Idaho’s entire congressional delegation — Sens. Jim Risch and Mike Crapo and Congressmen Mike Simpson and Russ Fulcher — sent a letter along with 31 other U.S. House and Senate members to the U.S. Department of Agriculture urging them to push Japanese officials to buy fresh potatoes, as Mia Maldonado reports for the Idaho Capital Sun.
Japan is a top export market for frozen U.S. potatoes, but a ban prevents U.S. potato growers from selling fresh potatoes to Japan despite decades of negotiations. In the letter to the USDA, lawmakers said Japan has no valid justification for the Japanese market to remain closed to fresh potatoes.
Sam Eaton, the vice president of legal affairs at the Idaho Potato Commission, told the Idaho Capital Sun that the fresh potato trade ban is a “politically sensitive issue.” Eaton said according to the Japanese government it is protecting its local farmers and ensuring that fresh potatoes coming from the U.S. are free of any pests or diseases.
Source: Idaho Capital Sun. Read the full story here
Photo: A farmer sorts potatoes during the harvest season in Declo, Idaho. Credit Kirsten Strough / USDA via Idaho Capital Sun