On The Farm: Potato Production - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

On The Farm: Potato Production

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From wheat to barley, to corn, North Dakota is covered in crops that help feed the nation, but there's one specialty crop in the state that's more popular than people may realize. 

It may be a surprise to hear that in 2012, North Dakota ranked 4th in the country in potato production. The state produced two and a half billion pounds that year.

"This area here is well known for having irrigation and the sandy soils that we need to create the product processors want.  It's very good product we have, it's been very good years the last three years," says Karlsruhe farmer Robert Kasowski.

Kasowski has been farming spuds for three years. He and a team of about six work 1,500 acres of potatoes. Like many farmers, he was feeling the time crunch from Mother Nature, but luckily potatoes are a hardy plant.

"The Spring conditions were actually ideal for us.  They weren't too bad as far as the rain went.  Yes it took longer for the frost heaves to get out of the ground.  We went around a few spots, but we were kind of getting pushed to the tail end of our planting season, where we want to get it in anyway," says Kasowski.

Kasowki's spud farm is about a week ahead of where they were at this time last year, and he's the first to attribute that to his hard working team.

"You have to be very good at what you do, you have to have a good team behind you. It's not a one-man show, there's multiple people behind one person that make this work. It's a specialty crop and you have to know you're doing in order to grow it.  It's not just some Joe Shmow that can start it," says Kasowski.

After a successful three years, Kasowski has considered expanding his acreage, but despite the good years, it's the daily challenges that keep him happy.

"One day you could be planting stuff, you could be tilling stuff, you could be working on stuff, you could be a firefighter putting out fires.  The versatility is the main thing which makes it interesting for a lot of people," he says.

North Dakota and Minnesota combined produce about six percent of the U.S. potato crop.
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