Maine Potato Board Awarded Sustainable Agriculture Grant

Published online: Dec 23, 2017 Articles
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The Maine Potato Board has received a grant from the USDA’s Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE) worth $105,527. These funds will support the two-year project “Developing Best Management Practices for Pulse and Oilseed Crops in the Northeast.”

A lack of best management practices coupled with a relatively undeveloped market specific to the Northeast may discourage Maine potato growers from including pulse and oilseed crops into their crop rotations and taking advantage of the many agronomic and economic benefits these crops have to offer in rotation with potaotes.

But pulse and oilseed crops have the potential to make a positive financial and environmental impact on potato cropping systems by lengthening rotations, reducing system inputs, breaking insect and disease cycles, and reducing the extent and frequency of tillage. Results from research projects conducted from 2013 through 2016 suggest several pulse and oilseed crops can be grown successfully in Maine with yields similar to or exceeding those common in western North America.

This project aims to benefit Northeast crop and livestock producers and food and feed manufacturers by using research and farm-scale experimentation, along with educational workshops, to develop production and marketing resources and promote networking through the agricultural community.