In 2000, Texas potato farmers began finding signs of a disease attacking their crops. By 2007, Texas farmers were losing up to half of their crops unmarketable potatoes, resulting in a decrease of more than 25% of acreage planted the following year.
Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa was quick to respond and secured $1.6 million to research the cause and develop management strategies. With more research work needed to further study disease management and potato selection, Senator Hinojosa again led the charge to get additional $1.6. million during the 81st Legislative Session.
The yearly direct value of the Texas potato crop to the state economy is about $75 million with an indirect value of about $300 million. More than 2,500 jobs from field to table are impacted statewide (AgriLife Research, Texas A&M System, February, 2009).