MOSES LAKE - The state’s potato industry has lost $995,000,000 due to the pandemic, but the seemingly stratospheric figure is the better scenario, according Chris Voigt of the Washington Potato Commission.

In mid-April of this year, industry experts predicted that 1 billion pounds of unsold and/or wasted potatoes. But, as the phased reopening of each county’s economy in the state progressed and businesses reopened, processors bought back the 600,000,000 they gave back to farmers when they were initially forced to shut down.

In fact, as of this week, the last of the 600 million potatoes allotted to processing were used up.

In addition, another 200 million pounds were also diverted to dehydrated potato products.

As a result, only 200 million pounds of potatoes were donated, used as feed or went to waste.

Voigt says the biggest losses stemmed from farmers having to wait for new potato contracts as processors kept their old contracts and processed older potatoes due to excessive yield storage.