County Farmers begin planting early

Updated: May. 7, 2021 at 9:49 AM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - Each new year brings a fresh start for local farmers.

Don Flannery of the Maine Potato Board says there are some challenges as the 2021 season gets going.

“We’re seeing everything increase across the board from a piece of metal that you buy to the fertilizer you put into the ground,” Flannery said. “Costs are up so that’s challenging. Labor continues to be an issue. It’s hard to find labor and I think we need to work around that issue as well.”

As for Emily Smith and Smith’s Farm, the early start is welcomed.

“I kind of use Easter as a telltale. So typically, when Easter is early in the month of April or even in March, we’ll have an early spring,” Smith said. “So, we had that going for us, we had people here and we were ready to hit the ground.”

Smith’s crew is out two weeks earlier than last year, transplanting cauliflower and tilling fields. Both Smith and Flannery say they are optimistic.

“Come July or August if something changes like we saw a year ago in March, all bets are off,” Flannery adds. “But right now, I think everyone’s relatively optimistic.”

“Naturally as farmers we’re optimistic. We have to be optimistic especially in the spring to get out here and be on the ground early like we are,” Smith said. “Last year was a little discouraging… so I don’t think that we have anything to worry about for 2021. We will put 2020 behind us… We’re ready to have a good season and are really excited to be on the ground early.”

Smith says there is still a lot of work to do but getting a head start will be beneficial.

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