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Bob Larson Potatoes and Water Study Pt 2
by Bob Larson, click here for bio

Program: Washington State Farm Bureau Report
Date: July 03, 2017

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I’m Bob Larson. It’s no secret, water grows crops. But, researchers at WSU have discovered potato acreage in the Odessa aquifer region of Eastern Washington fell by over 25% due to water quality and quantity issues … and it could get worse.

Washington Potato Commission’s Matt Harris says farmers in the Odessa sub-area are dependent on deep-well irrigation …

MATT HARRIS-6 = 26 … “And there is a plan to move forward through partnership with Ecology, through the Bureau of Reclamation, through local entities, family farms, to then take those deep-well irrigation, straws let’s say, out of the system and replace that with surface water provided by the Bureau of Reclamation. But, the problem that we have is that there needs to be funding put into the development of this infrastructure project.”

Harris says uncertainties in Olympia worry stakeholders …

MATT HARRIS-7 = 26 … “There has been funding by the State of Washington and some federal, local funding, and also private funding by those family farms to make this all happen. But, we’re starting to see some processes, I think, when you look at where we’re at with our capital budget.

It’s really interesting. Are we going to see a budget and would we see dollars that the State of Washington can make in an investment to make sure rural Washington State, specifically for farming in the Odessa, stays whole.”

Harris calls Washington the most productive potato growing region in the U.S. and wants lawmakers to continue investment in the Odessa Sub-area, but says federal dollars would also be welcome.

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