WAGM interviews Johnson for County Ag Report segment on Australian potato farming

WAGM (Channel 8 in Presque Isle) interviewed Steve Johnson, a professor and crops specialist with University of Maine Cooperative Extension, for a segment of the County Ag Report about Australian potato farming. Johnson will travel to Australia for his sabbatical beginning this December and lasting through February, WAGM reported. Johnson previously took sabbatical there in 1995. “I’ve chosen Australia because I can be gone during our winter season, and it’s their growing season, and I don’t miss one of our growing seasons,” said Johnson. “I’m developing some accessible education modules that growers, and particularly seed growers and others, can access on potato diseases, seed production, seed handling.” Johnson will learn about and help with production in Australia, where he says the industry is looking for ways to recruit and retain young growers, and will experiment with new technology that he intends to bring back to Maine, according to WAGM. “My late blight prediction model, as an example, I wrote it here, took it there in ’95, debugged it, tried it, brought it back, and had it up and running before the growing season,” said Johnson.