Jul 1, 2020
US potato acres down 4.9%, according to USDA-NASS tallies

Data collected by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA-NASS) and released June 30 has total planted potato acreage in 2020 at 921,000, a decrease 4.9% from last year.

Estimates released by North American Potato Market News (NAPMN) on June 3 had acreage even lower at 908,000, which is 6.2% off from the 968,300 acres planted in 2019.

COVID-19-related restrictions on restaurants and closures of schools and other foodservice sectors in March, right as many growers were planting or about to plant their seed, led to uncertainty in the processing market.

That is evident in Washington, where growers rely heavily on processing contracts. Washington growers planted 165,000 acres last year, but planted only 145,000 acres in 2020, according to USDA-NASS estimates. NAPMN had Washington acres slightly higher at 147,000.

Acreage estimates in Idaho — the nation’s top producer of potatoes — also are down, although not as much as Washington, which ranks second in U.S. production. The USDA-NASS has Idaho acres at 300,000 versus 310,000 a year ago. NAPMN has Idaho acres at 295,000 for this year. United Potato Growers of Idaho has total acreage in the state at 295,790, CEO Rick Shawver reported to Spudman.

Acreage in North Dakota also is down, according to both reports. The USDA-NASS has North Dakota acres at 65,000, which is an all-time low for the state, while NAPMN has them at 69,000. State growers planted 73,000 in 2019.

According to USDA-NASS data, acreage in Colorado is up 5.2% in 2020 to 54,000 acres.

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