Jun 9, 2016Green Bank Observatory helps promote potato growing
The West Virginia Department of Agriculture is encouraging farmers to grow potatoe as cash crops with the help of the Green Bank Observatory in Green Bank.
Area farmers recently completed planting six five-acre plots between the Observatory headquarters and the Green Bank Telescope, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reports. A state-owned planting machine was used by six teams of local growers in Pocahontas County.
Here’s more from the Gazette-Mail:
More than 1,000 acres of potatoes were once grown in this county alone,” said state Agriculture Commissioner Walt Helmick, who was on hand for the final day of planting on the 30 acres of potato land on Observatory property. “Kanawha County once had 2,200 acres in potatoes, making it the second-biggest potato county in the state, behind Preston,” he said.
Finding a niche for West Virginia-grown potatoes in the local food and farm-to-table movements would help the state’s new generation of potato growers get top dollar for their crops when market prices are up, and buffer them during market downturns, according to Helmick.
The potatoes being grown at Green Bank have already been sold for use in state prisons and state hospitals, he said.
Photo: A farmer pulling a potato-planting machine through a five-acre plot at a state Department of Agriculture demonstration project at the Green Bank Observatory; Tom Hindman/Gazette-Mail