Associated Press Published

Spud Niche: Radio Observatory Land Used to Grow Potatoes


An effort by the West Virginia Department of Agriculture to encourage growers to consider potato production has landed at a spot known for its extraterrestrial activity – the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank.

The last of six five-acre plots on observatory property was seeded with potatoes last week.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports the work was done by teams of Pocahontas County farmers using a state-owned planting machine.

State Agriculture Commissioner Walt Helmick is promoting the potato as a cash crop. Last year 36 growers in Cabell, Jackson, Lincoln, Mason, Putnam and Wayne participated.

Green Bank operations director Mike Holstine says the idea to use the land started after a Marlinton supermarket closed in May 2015, leaving the community with one full service grocery.