potatoesRevised May 2024


Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) are the fourth most important food crop in the world and the leading vegetable crop in the United States. Together, Idaho and Washington produce more than half of the annual supply, which totaled 424 million cwt in 2019, up slightly from the previous year, and was valued at $3.94 billion. U.S. packers shipped 1.605 million cwt of table potatoes during the week ending Jan. 20, 2024. That is up from 1.402 million cwt shipped a year earlier. Michigan packers shipped 73,040 cwt of potatoes during the week ending Jan. 20, 2024. That is up from 55,840 cwt shipped during the same week in 2023. Michigan shipments were 80.0% russets, 13.8% yellow potatoes, and 6.2% round white potatoes.

About 63 percent of potato sales are to processors for French fries, chips, dehydrated potatoes and other potato products. The remainder goes to the fresh market, is fed to farm animals or re-used as seed tubers for growing the next season’s crop. (NASS 2024).


Potatoes were first cultivated around 200 B.C. by the Inca Indians in Peru. At that time, potatoes served a wide variety of uses, such as healing broken bones and measuring time. Nearly 4,000 varieties can be found in the Andes.

The Spanish brought potatoes to Europe in the 16th century. European consumers were reluctant to adopt the potato. However, due to the sheer practicality of the potato—adaptability, generally plentiful crops and relatively long shelf life, combined with the nutritional value—it was soon widely accepted and consumed.

Potatoes were introduced to North America in 1691, and they are thought to have been first planted in New Hampshire in 1719. The first French fries were served some 80 years later at the White House during the presidency of Thomas Jefferson.


Potatoes remain the top vegetable crop in the United States. They are grown commercially in 30 states, but Idaho grows more potatoes than any other state, followed by Washington. North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Colorado are also leading producers of potatoes.

Anticipating potato plantation area to grow by 2% YOY given the high open market and contract price environment, the report anticipates a 7% drop in price in 2023-24 marketing year. Processors who have been hit by low supply over the past two seasons are more willing to offer higher contract price. However, accounting for other factors and trends, they anticipate a more modest 2% year-on-year increase to around 915,000 acres. The report anticipates good prices for the remainder of the 2022/23 marketing year, particularly as the year comes to an end before the new crop harvest begins (Market Report, 2024). Over 960 acres were harvested in 2023.

China is now the world's top potato producer, followed by India, Russia, and Ukraine. The United States is the fifth largest producer of potatoes in the world  (NPC).


A specific breakdown of U.S. potato use in 2017 is as follows:

  • 170 million cwt were used in frozen potato products, including frozen fries, tater tots, spiral fries, home fries, wedges and frozen whole potatoes ( down slightly from 2016).
  • 114 million cwt were used for fresh potatoes, which includes baked, boiled or mashed.
  • 58.8 million cwt were used in chips, including shoestrings ( 3% decrease from 2016).
  • 45.8 million cwt were dehydrated, including products for potato chips, mashed potatoes, potato pancake mix and some canned stews (down 5 percent from 2016).
  • 24.7 million cwt went to seed (decrease from 2016).
  • 1.86 million cwt were canned, which would be used for small whole potatoes, corned beef hash, various stews, soups, chowders and commercial potato salad (decreased by 4% from 2016).
  • 1.82 million cwt went to livestock feed (increased 68% from 2016)  (NASS 2018).

In 2016, 89 plants processed potatoes into potato chips, a decline from the previous year. The total volume also decreased from 60.3 million cwt to 58.8 million cwt. The largest number of processing plants are located in the eastern United States, and they prepare the most potato chips  (NASS 2018).

The Economic Research Service 2017 forecast estimated that per person consumption of potatoes during 2015 would total 115.4 pounds, a slight increase from 2014. Per person consumption can be broken down into 49.7 pounds of frozen potatoes, 34.1 pounds of fresh potatoes, 19.8 pounds of potato chips, 11.5 pounds of dehydrated potatoes and less than .5 pounds of canned potatoes.


Between January 2023 and January 2024 the exports of United States ' Potatoes have increased by $1.58M (7.2%) from $22M to $23.6M, while imports decreased by $-8.11M (-18%) from $45.1M to $37M. (North American Potato Market News, 2024).

U.S. potato exports reached record value and volume in the 12-month period from July 2022– June 2023. Export values increased 19.05% to $2.2 billion, and export volume increased 3.85% to 3.3 million metric tons (fresh weight equivalent). (Rabobank, 2024).




Market Report Generator, Iowa State University Extension.

Michigan Potatoes Market Report, 2024.

Rabobank Report, 2024.

U.S. per Capita Food Availability, Economic Research Service (ERS), USDA, 2018.

Potato Statistical Yearbook, National Potato Council, 2018.