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Business and Economy

Some Aroostook County Potato Farmers Expecting Lower Yields

plowing_field.jpg
Nick Woodward
/
Maine Public
A Maine potato farmer in May 2020.

Some potato farmers in Aroostook County could see lower yields this year because of extreme drought in the region.

Don Flannery, executive director of the Maine Potato Board, says while some of the potato crop in Aroostook County is irrigated, more is not. He says it’s a little early to say how much yields will be down overall.

“Have talked with growers that potentially are looking at maybe a 30 percent loss in yield, but that’s not all of them. Talked with growers that are, you know, average, maybe a little bit above average on yield,” he says.

Flannery says the drought does not hurt the quality of the potatoes. In fact, quality tends to be very good in dry years.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared Aroostook County a Drought Disaster Area. That makes farm operators in Aroostook, and its four contiguous counties, eligible for low-interest emergency loans and other programs.