The value of Washington?' 2006 agricultural production reached a record $6.87 billion, 6 percent above the preceding year's revised figure of $6.46 billion, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

 Potatoes, with a farmgate value of $562 million, surpassed the previous record of $554 million set in 1995. Potatoes ranked in the top three crops, preceded by apples and wheat.

"What drives the value of the potato crop even higher is the amount of value added processing that occurs in the state," says Washington State Potato Commission Executive Director Chris Voigt. "With 87 percent of the potato crop processed into value-added products, the economic contribution of growing and packing or processing the crop generates about $3.5 billion for the Washington State economy."

Record high values of production for major commodities were set for apples, pears, potatoes, all hay, onions, and nursery and greenhouse products.

"The food and agriculture industry continues to be a critical sector of Washington's economy," says Valoria Loveland, director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture. "On the whole, our 34,000 farmers and ranchers did well in 2006."