County Ag Report - Potato Researcher Honored Internationally for His Work
PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -
While many have heard of the Caribou Russet variety of potato, many may not know one of the faces behind it’s creation. Brian Bouchard spoke with one of the researchers who is being honored internationally for his work in this week’s County Ag Report.
“I grew up on a family farm here in Aroostook County, we grew potatoes and grain so that was a big part of my life growing up.”
Greg Porter, Professor of Agronomy for the University of Maine says he never intended to become a researcher. His original plan after attending the University of Maine to study Soil Science was to come back to the county and farm potatoes, but was given the opportunity to pursue a research career by the University and hasn’t looked back.
“I’ve been at the university of Maine now for about 38 years. I do a range of research from crop production practices, soil management, crop management, helping develop new potato varieties, and then for the last 15 years I’ve lead our university of Maine potato breeding program.”
The university of Maine’s potato breeding program uses selective breeding and genome marking, among other techniques to identify mutations that have beneficial attributes and test them before they are produced on a mass scale.
“We’ve developed 5 that we’ve released Sebec, Easton, Pinto Gold, Caribou Russet and Hamlin Russet. Caribou Russet has been the biggest success of those, although Pinto Gold has been quite a success with small scale growers. It’s an exciting thing to be involved in, it’s something that is very relevant to the industry, it helps solve problems”
This week Porter received the Honorary Life Membership Award from the Potato Association of America, the highest award they can bestow, for his intensive and dedicated work within the potato industry.
“To get this international award recognizing my career accomplishments is just a wonderful thing as I approach the last few years of my appointment here at the University of Maine”
And while Porter is proud to be recognized for his life’s work, he knows there is still more work and research to be done to further aid potato growers in Maine, and around the world.
Brian Bouchard, NewsSource8
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