BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Federal officials are taking public comments on possible methods to deal with a microscopic pest that has infested potato fields in southeastern Idaho.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will accept comments through May 28 on the supplemental environmental assessment that looks at ways to combat the pale cyst nematode. Officials say the new document covers all of Bingham and Bonneville counties and replaces a 2007 document covering about 10,000 regulated acres.

The federal agency's preferred alternative in the document remains eradicating the worms that feed at the roots of potato plants and can reduce crop production by 80 percent. Discovery of the pale cyst nematode in Idaho in 2006 was the first detection of the pest in the United States, and authorities have been battling it ever since.

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