The County Ag Report: Aroostook Farm Student Workers

In the etymology lab at Aroostook Farm in Presque Isle, students and scientists work to research insects such as aphids and Colorado potato beetles.

"We're working for industry chemical companies testing to see if new product work, old products failing, things like that."

Aaron Buzza is an assistant scientist for Aroostook Research Farm, and works with several students during the summer months from high school through college.

"We have five students hired this summer to go out and do the field work, collect the data, bring it back, enter it in the computer, and at the end of the season hopefully after harvest by November, we'll have all of our data compiled in a report form."

"We use a program called ARM and all of the information that we get out in the field from counting plants to counting beetles to counting aphids, it all comes back and has to be put in a computer and organized correctly so the companies that we work for can understand what we have picked up for research."

Maddie Buzza works under her father, and along with other students, fulfills work for contractors on new products and chemicals designed to help defend potatoes. Though a career on the farm isn't always the first goal of those working at Aroostook Farm, Adam Paterson says the work helps with discipline.

"It's a good, kind of like, first job. You get used to punching in at 7, leaving at 4, managing your time. You get a lot of good experience in a lab, you know, cleaning up after yourself, following protocols, things like that."

"We have kids that don't just go into the traditional potato sciences, they go all over, all kinds of things. What I like to tell the kids is, this creates a baseline for like record keeping, lab safety, cleanliness, being prompt to a job, doing the task at hand. It may not be what they do for the rest of their life, but at least gives them those starting points."