Fresh potato exports were up in 2017 ( File photo )

Global sales of U.S. potatoes hit a record high in 2017.

U.S. potato and potato product exports grew 4.58% in volume and 4.63% in value in 2017 compared to 2016, according to Potatoes USA.

Fresh potato exports were up 6% in 2017 while frozen and chip exports up 1%, according to a news release.

On a fresh weight equivalent basis, Potatoes USA said frozen potatoes account for 53% of total potato exports, with dehydrated exports at 24% and fresh accounting for 15%.  Calculated on the fresh weight equivalent measure, about 20% of U.S. potato output is exported, according to the potato promotion group.

Exports of all U.S. potatoes and potato products reached a record $1.76 billion for the July 2016-June 2017 marketing year.

Growth in world trade in potatoes and potato products averages 8% annually, according to Potatoes USA, and there is room to grow exports. Challenges include the strong U.S. dollar, increasing competition from the European Union and the lack of new trade deals for U.S. products, according to the release. However, the dollar has weakened over the past six months and there are efforts to increase U.S. fresh potato access to a number of markets, according to the release.