For many industries, 2019 was a challenging year with more setbacks than victories. One of the few exceptions was the Washington potato industry. Chris Voigt, Executive Director of the Washington Potato Commission said after a late winter snow forced many growers to plant later than normal, 2019 turned out to be a perfect year for Washington potato growers.
“The crop was able to catch up and so by the time we harvested in the fall, we were back to normal yields. So we were concerned about maybe loosing 20% of our crop yield to actually back to normal, so that was a good year.”
Voigt noted an early snow that rolled through the area in late September and early October did not have a big impact on Washington growers. However, the same could not be said for growers in Idaho, North Dakota, Manitoba, and Alberta, where early freezes led to crop loss.
With 2020 here, what does Voigt want to see moving forward? Trade is on the forefront of his mind, and he says after years of defensively reacting to what’s coming out of Olympia or Washington D.C., he’s hopeful for some stability in the coming year.
“I think we’re just anxious to get back to normal. You know normal trade relationships with our primary customers, is going to be critical. And I think we’re moving towards that direction. So, I just think we’re going to be happy with normal, and I think that’s where we’re headed.”
Voigt said trade with China could be a big opportunity for the industry, not only in fresh potatoes, but processed products as well.
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