The Lelah Starks Elite Foundation Seed Potato Farm, also known as the UW Starks Farm, is located west of Rhinelander, WI, on County Highway K. It is a 1,000-acre farm with 400 tillable acres surrounding a 40-acre spring fed lake. The farm is the home of early generation seed potatoes in Wisconsin due to the presence of fertile sandy loam soil, isolation from adjacent potato farms, and exposure to harsh winter temperatures.
In addition, the Wisconsin Seed Potato Certification Program’s nuclear seed potato greenhouse production systems are located at the UW Starks Farm. Four greenhouses, covering a footprint of approximately 20,000 sqft are in production year-round. Material grown in the greenhouses originates in the program’s tissue culture laboratory located in the UW-Madison Wisconsin Crop Innovation Center, Middleton WI. Tissue culture plantlets are transported to the greenhouse at select times of the year and planted into a NFT (nutrient film technique) hydroponic system or in potted media free of peat. Currently, three greenhouses are focused on minituber production with potted soil production in one greenhouse. Minitubers from NFT system or tubers from the potted production are routinely harvested and stored until spring. Minituber and tubers are then supplied to the UW Starks Farm and grown as field year one (FY1) stock or sold to interested outside parties.