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