"My friends have referred me to jobs—usually as a dishwasher or busser at a restaurant, where I could at least get my foot in the door — and I have even had interviews, but it never works out. I speak Spanish and not much English, so the language barrier is part of it. But, it’s even harder without a driver’s license. Even though I know that I can get a ride and I tell employers that, they end up hiring someone else. A few times, I’ve even shown up for work at a new job and had them tell me they found someone else. It’s very discouraging."
This year's harvest proves an Idaho industry is no small potatoes.
A surplus of Idaho spuds have had an effect on neighboring Washington State, the No. 2 grower of potatoes in the country. The Bellingham Herald reports prices have been depressed, though farmers are still digging up their crops.
Dale Lathim, executive director for the Potato Growers of Washington and the United Fresh Potato Growers of Washington and Oregon, told the Herald the Evergreen State's fresh potatoes are down because of Idaho's success this year.
"They dominate the fresh industry," he said.
A significant increase in potato acreage, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, mostly came from Idaho.
From the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service:
Potato growers in Idaho have planted an estimated 345,000 acres in 2012, an 8 percent increase from the 320,000 acres planted in 2011, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service. This is the highest level since 2007. Harvested acres, at 344,000, are also up 8 percent from a year ago.