JUST HOW HAS THE UNIVERSITY OF MAINE'S 'AROOSTOOK FARM' BEEN PUTTING OUT POTATO INDUSTRY FIRES FOR OVER 100 YEARS? It's the nature of farming that production challenges will regularly pop up. Growing potatoes involves at least its fair share of over-the-horizon looming threats. Setting aside weather extremes (too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry), the culprit might be inadvertent soil abuse, an insect, a disease or a combination of the above.
In a monumental move, visionaries in Maine in 1914 established a potato research farm in nearby Presque Isle and appropriately named it "Aroostook Farm." It's duty was to study and safeguard the potato business, of which Maine – after the railroads had finally reached Aroostook County in the 1890s – had quickly become industry leader.
The new January issue 'Potato Grower' out of Idaho Falls, Idaho, has a good article which depicts the history of valuable research work at Aroostook Farm.
It's our observation that Potato industry magazines tend to be technology-hampered and most publishers have a modest online presence. This article is offered in a 'flip-magazine' format. The real benefit here is if you have never read an ag rag Potato magazine (there are several more including 'Spudman' and 'Valley Potato Grower') here's your chance to 'thumb through' all 80 pages cover-to-cover and get an unfiltered glimpse into all things potato. Caleb, Megan & Jim
"And in the northeast corner of the United States, a farm was purchased by a collective of potato growers – with funds authorized by the state legislature for the University of Maine to use for the purpose – to conduct research on soil, climate and cropping practices. Over the last century plus, much has been accomplished on that plot of land that has brought the entire North American potato industry into the future, while remaining steadfastly focused on the growers, processors and wholesalers of Maine."