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Big potato crop could hurt farmers

It’s one of the busiest times of the year for the Gem state.

Potato harvest is in full swing and it’s looking like a good one.

In fact, it might be a little too good.

Too many potatoes can actually drive prices down for growers, earning them less money for all the hard work they do.

Despite the long hours and less than graceful conditions, Leslie Risenmay said she looks forward to harvest all year long.

“This is my favorite thing to do,” said Leslie.

Leslie’s husband Greg grew up around spuds and his family carefully plans how much they plant each year.

As Local News 8 reported back in July, Idaho potato growers planted 345,000 acres in 2012. That’s an 8 percent increase from the year before.

Seeing the writing on the wall, the Risenmays cut back on their crop for the benefit of the farm.

“We’re kind of down on acres. We’re kind of bucking the trend I guess,” said Greg.

That may be a good thing because it’s looking like a stellar year for spuds.

Some farmers in eastern Idaho are forced to sell off their crop, because they just don’t have room to store the excess supply.

“One farmer called me up saying, ‘Hey, do you have any extra storage?”. I don’t know if that’s one of those growers that maybe planted more acres than he anticipated,” said Greg.

Whatever the case, if crops yield too many potatoes it could be a setback for farmers.

“A big crop can be more challenging than a small crop, if you can believe it,” said Greg.

With fall harvest not wrapped up yet, it may be too early to tell if and how this will affect the market and these young farmers.

“Too many years that we struggle can mean that our future isn’t very bright. We have high hopes and we’re optimistic that the market will be strong,” said Greg.

The Risenmays expect to get about 100,000 bags from their 250 acres of potatoes.

According to Ag Weekly, Idaho’s 2011 crop totaled 129 million hundred weight.

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