The drought that has struck Aroostook County is going to reduce yields for many potato farmers. Some of them expect an average crop, but many are reporting smaller yields because of the dry weather. Don Flannery, executive director of the Maine Potato Board: “Most say yields are down. In some cases it could be 30% but what the bottom line is for the whole crop is still an unknown at this point.”
A weaker-than-normal harvest could send ripples through the economy already hurt by the pandemic. The potato crop typically is valued at about $150 million — with potatoes being shipped to super markets and to processing plants to be made into chips and french fries.
The USDA has made Aroostook farmers, as well as those living in adjacent counties, eligible for emergency funding. The region has been in a moderate to extreme drought for most of the summer. Some areas with months without a soaking rain.