Can West Virginia Farms Produce Potatoes?


State Agriculture Commissioner Walt Helmick is continuing to push a statewide program that encourages farmers to grow potatoes in West Virginia. The Department of Agriculture has committed a quarter of a million dollars to the program.

Commissioner Helmick met with commercial buyers and wholesalers at G&G Nursery and Farm in Mason County Wednesday.

The farm is one of several in western West Virginia counties participating in the pilot. The $250,000 of funding is for planting and harvesting equipment that will be loaned to farmers, as well as seed potatoes and fertilizer.

Helmick said the pilot is just a step in his plans to increase agricultural growth and sales in West Virginia.

“The first product we’re going to use and are using is potatoes to see if we can grow them commercially on this side of the state,” Helmick said. “We know pretty well that we can, but we want to look at the problems that we encounter.”

The first potato harvest is expected in September.