2006 Harvest Is Strong

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EAGLE, ID, October 2006 - Idaho Potato growers will harvest approximately 328,000 acres of Idaho Potatoes this year, yielding nearly 12 billion pounds.

The overall appearance of the crop appears to be uniformly smooth and consistent. The extremely warm weather in early August did not have an adverse impact on the crop, in fact it may have accelerated the harvest. The Idaho Potato industry's mastery of the state's exceptional irrigation system ensures that despite high temperatures, even drought, irrigation is the primary water source and thus the crop is managed quite effectively. (Weather and other physical elements are major contributors to the "yield.")

Finally, the total number of acres planted this year was the same as the total acreage planted in 2004 (328,000 acres). This was the second full year that the state's new potato co-op, United Fresh Potato Growers of Idaho, was able to institute its recommendation that acreage be reduced so as to better align supply with demand. According to Frank Muir, President/CEO of the Idaho Potato Commission, this acreage planted adjustment has worked very well and the industry expects to sell everything it grows this season, thus helping keep prices up and revenue on track for an increase. The harvest season is generally a four-week period falling sometime between the months of September and October.

Just in time to welcome the freshest potatoes in the world to supermarkets across the country, the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) is set to debut two new national television commercials featuring spokesperson and national fitness icon, Denise Austin, this month (see separate press release). Along with the nutritional messaging in the commercial, Austin directs consumers to look for the "Grown in Idaho" seal when they are shopping for potatoes.

The Idaho Potato industry contributes approximately $2 billion to the state's economy each year and accounts for roughly one third of the U.S. crop. Idaho's rich volcanic soil, extraordinary climate and superb irrigation system are directly responsible for the unmatched quality and taste of Idaho Potatoes. Idaho Potatoes have a high solids content, which translates into potatoes that are fluffier mashed, crispier fried and lighter baked.

Roughly 60% of the total Idaho crop comes from the eastern region of Idaho, one of the richest potato producing regions in the world. Once harvested, the Idaho Potato crop is typically utilized as follows: 62% is used to make processed potatoes, such as frozen and dehydrated; 29% are shipped fresh; 9% are for certified seed and the remaining crop is used on the farm or is unusable.

Consumers across the country love Idaho Potatoes! The state of New York boasts the highest usage - followed by Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and Texas.

Although Idaho is famous worldwide for its premium potatoes, some consumers don't realize that only potatoes grown in the Gem State can wear the "Grown in Idaho" Seal. Both words Idaho® Potatoes and the "Grown in Idaho®" seal are federally registered Certification Marks that certify to consumers that they are purchasing genuine Idaho Potatoes that have been grown in the state of Idaho.