The legislators on tour had a great dinner at the Presque Isle Snowmobile Club to finish the first day. We were joined by a number of growers so everyone had the opportunity to meet and have conversations about the industry and what is on the agenda for day two.
MPB executive director Don Flannery gave a brief overview of Wednesday’s tour up into the valley, starting off with a visit to the Theriault farm equipment John Deere dealership. The size and cost of today’s farm equipment is always truly amazing to visitors.
Don also spoke briefly about the budget for the Maine Potato Board and explained that the organization does not receive general fund money. The bulk of funds for the MPB is from a self-imposed marketing tax which growers pay. Don explained that .03 cents is paid by growers on each hundredweight sold (100 pounds) matched by .03 from whoever initially purchases the potatoes. Over $600,000 is raised by this marketing tax. Then, almost $500,000 is raised from selling baked Maine potatoes at the Big E in Springfield, Mass each fall. Amazing how many potatoes are purchased from the Maine potato booth! This funding along with fees imposed for services provided to the industry allows the MPB to actively support the potato industry in Maine.
Follow us later today as we travel through Maine’s northernmost potato region and enjoy true valley hospitality!