On a High Note: Will Maine Make the Ultimate Hot Potato?

UMaine develops resilient potato

It's no secret that climate change -- new precipitation patterns, temperature rise, and extreme weather events -- is a threat to crops and food security. And the potato is one such crop that has been on the hot seat for some time -- intolerant to both floods and high temperatures. This is why scientists at the University of Maine are investing half a million dollars to develop a new breed of potato that will be more resilient to climate change. Through a lengthy process (up to 15 years!), identifying specific stressors and performing cross pollination in seven different locations, researchers aim to create a potato that is better suited for increased precipitation and more resilient to pests that are sure to result from climate change.

UMaine researchers have a good track record when it comes to making potatoes and they're certainly worth "rooting" for. In fact, they created the Caribou russet variety, which had strong output in 2020 while the Pacific Northwest's Russet Burbank potato crops had a less than successful season due to the warmer, drier winter.

Pattrn: Climate Change Can Halt Potato Production, May 1, 2019