A $2 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture should go a long way to helping Pacific Northwest potato growers reduce their use of insecticides.

“Currently, potato farmers are between a rock and a hard place,” says Bill Snyder, an entomologist at Washington State University's Pullman campus.“They are going to have to learn to produce a blemish-free crop while at the same time using very few pesticides.”

On the one hand, Snyder says, even slight insect or disease damage to potatoes can lead to a processor to reject an entire crop.

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