Legacy of the Plains Revives 1940s Potato Equipment
The Legacy of the Plains Museum volunteers have set up a restored 1940’s potato sorting, cutting and planting equipment, to be used in the early production phases of the museum’s annual potato crop.
Equipment dating back more than 80 years is put to use every growing season at Legacy of the Plains, by volunteers who recall a time when this equipment worked the ground of farms across the panhandle.
“This was the equipment we used as a kid,” Dick Kuxhausen museum volunteer said.
Getting involved in the agriculture production and education process is what keeps him and other volunteers coming back year after year.
“At the Harvest Festival, the people get to come and pick potatoes right out in the field,” Kuxhausen said, “People ask me all the time if we will have potatoes this year, because they look forward to it so much.”
Operating solely on donations, potatoes grown in the fields of Legacy of the Plains are a possibility due to annual seed potato donations from Thompson Seed, a family operation in Alliance, Nebraska, volunteer Bill Vaughan said.
All of the machinery used at Legacy of the Plains has also been donated by community members, then refurbished and maintained by the volunteers, allowing proper function of the equipment for ongoing crop production, Kuxhausen said.
This year’s early phases of potato production began differently than in the past, starting off with the potato cutting process, a process which is not always necessary, as new planting equipment has the ability to plant seedling potatoes that range in size.
However, the 1940’s two-row international planter put to use at the museum can only handle smaller seedling potatoes, Kuxhausen said.
“The new planters can plant practically any size of potatoes, but the old ones will break unless we split them down to size.”
According to Kuxhausen, the 1940’s equipment used for the sorting, cutting and planting process originated in Gering and continues to hold a unique historical value.