U.P. in Full Potato Harvest Mode

Published online: Oct 07, 2021 Articles, Potato Harvesting Nick Friend
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Source: TV-6

Potato farmers in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula are getting ready to send this year’s crop across the country. At fields in Sagola Township, millions of pounds of potatoes are produced every year.

Johnson Potato Farms has been pulling this year’s harvest for three weeks. Its large harvester pulls hundreds of potatoes every minute separating it from things like rocks and vines.

The potatoes are then loaded into trucks and taken into storage buildings, where farmers work to remove any rocks that were missed by the harvester. Dale Johnson is a third-generation potato farmer and works mostly with family.

“It’s a fun time of year in that everybody gets together. As a group during the summer, we are spread out, we each have our own jobs, but during the fall season it’s kind of nice that we are together trying to get our crop in the building,” said Johnson. “It’s nice to see what has become of our work through the year.”

“If we get them all out this year, we’ll easily have 12 million pounds,” said Johnson. “The potatoes are coming in very nice, the quality is good so we’ve been very fortunate.”

Once the entire harvest is pulled, the potatoes will stay in storage until next year, when 90 percent will be sent to larger farmers to be used as seed.

“They will be replanted,” said Johnson. “A few into Lower Michigan, the majority into Wisconsin and we send quite a few out to Minnesota for people that grow them for commercial for processing.”

For the rest of this week Johnson, and his family, will be in a race against colder weather to get this year’s harvest pulled. Hopefully without any rain that would slow the process down.