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Spuds to the North, Part 2

By: Jake Putnam
Published in Video on  June 01, 2020
Coeur d'Alene—Outside of Coeur d'Alene, the Idaho Farm Bureau takes to the road, this is the great Idaho potato lift, part 2.
The COVID 19 epidemic has turned a good potato year into a rough one. When the nation's restaurants and cafeterias closed down so did the spud market. Now there is a glut of potatoes on the market in Southern Idaho.
"These potatoes are being purchased from the South Idaho growers by county Farm Bureaus up here. We're trucking them up and taking them to the Food Banks. The Food Banks are loving it, the families up here love them. It's a good thing and a win, win for everyone," said Bob Smathers of the Idaho Farm Bureau.
In Saint Maries it's a 500-pound delivery, Everyone pitches in to help out. Even Idaho Farm Bureau CEO Rick Keller, who packed numerous 50-pound bags of potatoes. This is his last week of work, the CEO is retiring after 41 years at the Farm Bureau.
"Farm Bureau is a great organization. There's nothing but service from the Bureau and provides help to others. This is a great opportunity to distribute to those that have and give it to those that don't. At the same time, help those that may have potatoes but the income isn't there for them. We can help move and distribute the potatoes. We sure appreciate all the donations from the farmers and ranchers and what a great blessing this is," said Keller.
Susie Patterson, CSR of the Saint Maries office says they're glad to help out.
"We're helping everyone all around. We're helping the farmers get rid of their potatoes who didn't have a source to ship to. And then we are helping feed people in need and if people don't have money they can go to the Senior Center and get low-cost meals and sometimes free meals," said Susie Patterson of the Saint Maries Farm Bureau Office.
For volunteers, helping in times of need is a labor of love.
"We realize this is just a drop in the bucket, but it does help the potato growers and certainly the food banks which love the potatoes we are bringing up," added Smathers.

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