Boise--Idaho's potato crop is down 12 percent compared to last year according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. According to a USDA report released Monday, the 2008 harvest is the smallest crop in more than 19 years.
The Department of Agriculture says farmers planted 305,000 acres of potatoes this year, adding up to 11.5 billion pounds, compared with 13 billion pounds in 2007. Final numbers on this year's output won't be available until 2009.
According to state statistics, many Idaho farmers switched to wheat because of a favorable market and low input costs.
One bright spot in the report was the pound per acre statistic. The USDAS says Idaho farmers produced 378,000 pounds of potatoes per acre this year, that's up over last years total.
Jerry Wright, president and CEO of United Potato Growers of Idaho told the Idaho State Journal that the number is higher than anyone anticipated because of excellent growing conditions and the best potato farmers in the world.
Despite the downward trend in numbers there’s still plenty of potatoes to keep up with demand while market prices remain steady.