School of Economic Sciences

Agribusiness Management

The Economic Impact of Potatoes in Washington State

Authors: David Holland and Nick Beleiciks

EB1953e - Available for download in its entirety in pdf format.

The Washington State potato industry is the second largest producer (behind Idaho) of potatoes in the United States (Washington Agricultural Statistics Service 2003). In the 2003 production and 2003-2004 marketing years (the focus of this study), the value of Washington (including Morrow and Umatilla Counties in Oregon) potato production at the farm gate was $577 million (USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, Washington and Oregon 2003). Yet, as economically important as this figure is, it fails to capture the true economic significance of the potato industry. Unlike any other agricultural commodity produced in Washington, potato production sets off a chain of economic activities that dwarf the original on farm production value.

Potatoes grown in Washington are packed raw for use in restaurants, commercial kitchens, and direct consumption in households; however, raw potato production also spawns other industries such as the processing of potatoes for French fries, other frozen potato products, and potato chips. The frozen potato products industry in Washington, is clearly dependent on raw potato production from within the state, and in terms of sales is more than twice as large. In addition, the production of dehydrated potato products, such as potato flakes and de-hydrofrozen potato cubes, uses process-grade potatoes from the fresh-pack industry as well as raw potatoes purchased directly from growers.

This research was supported by grant number 13C30254383 from the Washington State Potato Commission


Replaces EB1925 and XB1039.

Cover from EB 1953E

potato plants in field

potatoes picked from plants

Heading using the h3 tag

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