Mandarin German Spanish
Skip to Primary Navigation Skip to Primary Content Skip to Footer Navigation
You can follow the footsteps of Lewis and Clark or visit the battlegrounds of the Nez Pierce Indians while taking one of Eastern Idaho's incredible scenic drives. Learn More

Idaho's Famous Potatoes

Posted On
Sep 20, 2017
Local News
Things to Do


Potatoes are commonly associated with Idaho, and though it is the state's leading crop, Idaho has much more to offer than endless fields of potatoes.

But while we are talking about potatoes, Idaho makes a lot of money on spuds. Potato Grower Magazine created the following list to illustrate just how lucrative the potato business is for the state of Idaho:

According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, for the year of 2016, there were 324,000 acres of harvested potatoes, which equates to approximately $926,478,000 in sales.

If we break that down by farm, it is even more impressive. The average farm incurs about $267,655 in production costs per year, and earns net profits of about $59,534 annually.

Collecting Potatoes

So, where do the almost 13 billion pounds of potatoes go? The potato experts from the National Potato Council (yes, this is a real thing) break down the utilization of potatoes:

  1. 35% are made into frozen fries and shipped to restaurants across the US. Odds are the fries you're eating at lunch were planted, grown and harvested in Idaho.
  2. 28% are fresh potatoes eaten locally and nationally in homes, restaurants and other food distributions, often fully loaded with butter, bacon, cheese, and sour cream alongside your steak.
  3. 15% are cut and baked into potato chips at various production plants across the US. These tasty treats make appearances at BBQ’s, parties or just on the couch watching TV (giving a whole new meaning to ‘couch potato’).
  4. 9% are dehydrated
  5. 6% are cut up and planted. If you didn’t know, cut up potatoes can be planted, and grown into a whole new crop of potatoes.
  6. 4% are used for other frozen products such as vegetable bags, hash browns and other frozen meals.
  7. 2% are used for potato starch and flour, which is used for other cooked and baked foods.
  8. 1% are used in canned goods such as soups.

Idaho produces nearly 13 billion pounds of potatoes per year. But who is the next highest producer? The following are the top 10 producing states (in billion pounds):

Idaho 12.7
Washington 9.8
Wisconsin 2.5
Colorado 2.3
Oregon 2.3
North Dakota 1.9
Minnesota 1.7
California 1.5
Michigan 1.5
Maine 1.4


Idaho Potato Farm

In 1957, Idaho passed Maine to become the nation's leading potato grower, and farmers in the state have not looked back. Since that time, Idaho has increased production and yields, and streamlined the distribution to large consumers across the US.

Idaho’s Famous Potatoes

So, the next time you hear about Idaho potatoes, remember that Idaho is more than just spuds, but they sure do make farmers in the state a lot of money!