Emergency Order Issued for Maine Potato Farmers 

The rainy weather has put the state’s potato crop in jeopardy. The conditions are perfect for the spread of late blight. That’s the fungal disease that lead to the Irish Potato famine in the 1840’s.Farmers need to spray their crop to kill off the disease, but haven’t been able to get into the fields because of all the rain.So they need aerial pesticide applicators, but there aren’t enough licensed pilots in the state.On Wednesday the Board of Pesticides Control voted for an emergency rule change, that will allow out-of-state aerial sprayers to work in Maine.It’s a vote that Henry Jennings, Director of the Maine Board of Pesticides Control says is crucial to helping save the crop. “So, we know the spores are present, so we know the potential is there to get the infection started and that can have catastrophic results for farmers in terms of significant losses, if not the total loss of the crop.”The out of state aerial sprayers have already passed exams in their home state, the rule change will mean they won’t have to pass Maine exams before working here.That process usually takes about a month.