The Division of Agriculture in Alaska has found a way to continue seed potato inspections this year, despite Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s budget cuts to all inspection programs.
It’s welcome news to Mark Troutman who’s been selling seed potatoes for 22 years. He’s growing nearly 30 varieties on his Little Susitna Farm outside Palmer.
“It’s a good retirement job. I’m my own boss,” Troutman said. “It’s not cheap but the rewards are there.”
By law, his seed potatoes have to be state inspected and certified before he can sell them to other growers.
“We pay for our inspections. And I’m willing to pay more. But to just come in and cut it like that,” Troutman said.
He said the governor’s $1.2 million cut to the Division of Agriculture, including all inspections, came as a shock. “We were supposed to be open for business and this is basically closing business. It’s not making it any easier,” Troutman said.
His farm is one of 16 that grew certified potato seed last year.