NIFA ploughs $1.85m into potato breeding research

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The US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is ploughing $1.85 million into regional potato breeding research.

The research will support the development of superior-performing varieties that can be brought to market as soon as possible.

The United States is one of the top potato producers worldwide, and industry sales estimates topped $3.6 billion in 2015.

“Potatoes constitute a significant proportion of our diets, and there’s urgent need to continue to develop varieties with value-added traits, including a nutrient profile that promotes growth and development in children,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, Director of NIFA.

The program is part of NIFA’s Plant Breeding, Genetics & Genomics Programs that invest in science to deliver robust crops capable of withstanding or recovering from present and future pests, environmental constraints and climate change that could threaten our nation’s food security.

Eligible applicants include state agricultural experiment stations, land-grant colleges and universities, research foundations established by land-grant colleges and universities, accredited schools or colleges of veterinary medicine and certain other colleges and universities.

Applicants will be expected to report information on the readiness status of new traits, advanced lines, and varieties developed through this program for use by breeders, potato seed certifying agencies or distributors, growers, processors or other production system or end-product supply chain participants.

The Potato Breeding Research program also encourages projects to develop content and programs to share through the Cooperative Extension System’s eXtension initiative (link is external), an online training resource for extension and other professionals who help bring the latest research to use by the agricultural workforce.

The deadline for Potato Breeding research is March 28, 2017.