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Federal Efforts to Eradicate Idaho Potato Pest Succeeding

File photo by Getty Images
File photo by Getty Images

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Federal officials say progress is being made eradicating a microscopic pest that has been threatening Idaho’s $900 million potato industry the last decade.

The United States Department of Agriculture says viable potato cyst nematodes can no longer be detected in three additional fields. The agency in a report released Friday says that 20 of the 27 infected fields have now reached that step in a lengthy process to return to production. About 9,300 acres (3,700 hectares) are being regulated due to the pest in southeastern Idaho.

Canada, Mexico, and Korea initially banned Idaho potatoes when the pests were discovered in 2006, and Japan banned all U.S. potatoes. Japan still bans Idaho potatoes. Nematodes can reduce crop production by 80 percent. Idaho produces about 30 percent of the nation’s potato crop.

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