Number 716, 2003
by Suzan Herzeg, Bryan Rund and Jim Lee
||General Information |
1. The Issue
Idaho companies, and the state, use a trademark to protect the intellectual property rights of potatoes that can be rightfully called "Idaho". This is different from Europe where geographic indications are used either with respect to place or process.
A Presbyterian missionary named Henry H. Spalding established a mission near Lapwai in 1836, where he printed the Northwest's first book, established Idaho's first school, developed Idaho's first irrigation system, and grew the state's first potatoes. He thought that by teaching the local Nez Perce tribe to farm, they would settle down. He gave up on the idea after the Natives massacred the residents of a nearby mission. Potato cultivation temporarily stopped.
In 1860, Mormons established farms north of Franklin, Idaho, and began cultivating potatoes. The first crop yielded 33 bushels; 16 years later, Idaho farmers exported over 2.5 million pounds of potatoes out of state.
Luther Burbank (New England) created a line of hybrid potatoes in 1872 that
had a greater yield and size than other varieties, and took some of the tubers
(Burbank potatoes) to California with him. Lon Sweet (Denver, CO) then selected
a mutation of the Burbank potato that was resistant to several common potato
This mutant variety became known as the Russet Burbank, and would be the dominant Idaho potato variety. Idaho made this variety famous. Idaho became the 43rd state in the US on July 3, 1890. The University of Idaho established an agricultural research station in Aberdeen in 1911, with the primary purpose of improving potato cultivation. This remains its primary purpose today.
The Idaho Potato Commission began in 1937, and is funded by a tax on Idaho-grown
potatoes, which is ten cents per each 100 pounds of potatoes. This money funds
the IPC's activities, which include advertising, promotion and research to expand
the Idaho potato market. According to the Idaho Potato Commission, Idaho is
uniquely suited to producing consistently good potatoes. These ideal conditions
include volcanic soil; clean air; warm, sunny days and cool nights; and water
that comes from the snow that melts off of the nearby mountains. The potatoes
consistently have a delicate flavor, high solids (21%) and high nutritional
content. The high solids content is important, since it means that more solids
are left for consumption after the water has been cooked off in frying or baking.
Idaho potato farmers have generations of experience. The state has "pioneered research to improve and storage practices, and remains a world research leader. Idaho has the world's most advanced storage research center, and claims more environmentally controlled commercial storage facilities than any other growing region". The state of Idaho grows more potatoes than any other US state, accounting for 30% of US production, or 13.8 billion pounds of potatoes. Potatoes make a large contribution to Idaho's gross state product, equal to 15%, or $2.5 billion; they account for 6.8% of southwest Idaho's economy, 27.4% of south central Idaho's economy, and 32.8% of eastern Idaho's economy.
The average US person eats 142.7 pounds of potatoes each year. Idaho potatoes have the greatest name recognition and production preference among consumers, 82%. Idaho potatoes include the Russet Burbank, Norkotah and Ranger Russet varieties of potatoes; the name "Idaho potato" can only refer to a potato grown in the state.
3. Related Cases
4. Author and Date: Suzan Herzeg, Bryan Rund and Jim Lee
5. Discourse and Status: Agreement and InProgress
6. Forum and Scope: USA and Multilateral
7. Decision Breadth: NAFTA and EU (18)
8. Legal Standing: Treaty
9. Geographic Locations
a. Geographic Domain: North America
b. Geographic Site: Eastern North America
c. Geographic Impact: USA
10. Sub-National Factors: Yes
11. Type of Habitat: Temperate
12. Type of Measure: Culture
13. Direct v. Indirect Impacts: Indirect
14. Relation of Trade Measure to Environmental Impact
a. Directly Related to Product: Yes, Food
b. Indirectly Related to Product: No
c. Not Related to Product: No
d. Related to Process: Yes, Culture
15. Trade Product Identification: Mezcal
16. Economic Data
17. Impact of Trade Restriction: Ban
18. Industry Sector: Food (and Drink)
19. Exporters and Importers: US and many
20. Environmental Problem Type: Culture
21. Name, Type, and Diversity of Species
22. Resource Impact and Effect: High and Regulation
23. Urgency and Lifetime: High and 100s of years
24. Substitutes: Like Products
25. Culture: Yes
26. Trans-Boundary Issues: No
27. Rights: Yes
28. Relevant Literature