backgroundIn mid-February, Congress and the administration agreed upon a budget deal that provides for additional spending flexibility for both the fiscal year 2018 appropriations bills and sets a framework for the fiscal year 2019 spending bills. For non-defense domestic spending, an additional $63 billion was included for FY18 and an additional $68 billion for FY19. Included in those amounts are disaster relief funding for the citrus industry in Florida and other hurricane relief spending.

The bill also provided short-term government funding until March 23, 2018. There is general optimism that the FY18 spending bills will be completed by that date.

Potato Research Programs

For more than 30 years, NPC has worked with the appropriations committees in both the House and Senate to secure funding for Potato Research Special Grants that support competitive potato breeding projects across the country. In FY17, NPC successfully encouraged Congress to increase the funding level to $2.25 million, its highest level in history and a 12.5 percent increase over FY16.

Since the Potato Research Special Grants’ inception in 1983, the potato industry has provided matching funds for these competitive potato breeding research projects and partnered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) on them.

Funding History













Each of these peer-reviewed research projects address actual challenges impacting potato production, utilize the expertise of USDA scientists and independent plant breeders and deliver measurable improvements in the efficiency and quality of potato production. Growers, grower organizations in individual states and land grant universities provide more than a two-to-one match to funding provided by NIFA.

For FY18, the Senate maintained the prior year’s funding level of $2.25 million in their bill and the House provided $2 million*. NPC is encouraging the House to accept the Senate’s higher number in the final bill which we anticipate by March 23, 2018.

Additionally, as the House and Senate are closing out the FY18 appropriations process, they will also be beginning the FY19 process. NPC is encouraging members of Congress to include in their appropriation priorities a request for both the House and Senate to include $2.75 million for the NIFA potato breeding research program in their respective committee bills. For reference, the administration’s FY19 budget recommended eliminating funding for this program along with all of USDA’s other Special Research Grants.


The Agriculture Research Service (ARS) that administers the ARS Potato Collaborative Research Program funds recently issued the FY18 request for research proposals and announced a schedule for the NPC Time Zone Committee to review the proposals. The final funding level for the FY18 ARS Collaborative Potato Research Program is dependent on the not-yet completed Congressional FY18 appropriations process. ARS funding for the potato research projects under this program is around $1.12 million and we are optimistic that Congress will approve the FY18 spending package sometime in March.

For FY19, NPC is requesting members of Congress to ask the Appropriations Committees to include report language in the Appropriations Bill that recognizes the value of the ARS Potato Collaborative Research Program.

Updated March 20, 2018