Potato Acres Low and California Wildfires Threaten Crops
**As schools reopen, in many cases virtually, agricultural instructors must figure out how to provide the hands-on learning their classes require.
At colleges that can combine distance and in-person learning, physical lab sessions have altered schedules or shop spaces to assure social distancing.
High school agricultural instructors say they’ve distributed lesson kits, supplies and other materials to allow students to do projects at home.
**It’s the lowest number of potato acres recorded by USDA in at least 100 years with both processing and fresh markets down.
Washington State University’s potato specialist, Carrie Wohleb, tells growingproduce.com, there are fewer planted acres of potatoes throughout the Pacific Northwest due to contract reductions in processed potato.
Other issues like the trade wars have been going on even longer than the pandemic-linked shut down.
**Grower-shippers in the Salinas, California area are monitoring air quality and field conditions as two nearby wildfires sparked by lightning drop ash onto crops.
The River Fire, which started August 16th, had already burned more than 33,000 acres and, as of August 20th, was only 7% contained.
And, as of last Thursday, the Carmel Fire had torched more than 4,200 acres and was not contained, with fire suppression forces stretched thin due to the number of fires statewide.
At least 3,000 structures were threatened and 7,000 people had been evacuated.