Research is of critical importance to address the challenge of providing food and fiber to a growing population. The National Potato Council supports a coordinated public and private research effort to improve U.S. potato nutrition, quality, and yield.
NIFA Potato Breeding Research
For more than 30 years, NPC has worked with the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to secure funding for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) Potato Research Special Grants that support competitive potato breeding projects across the country. As advocated for by the potato industry, funding was maintained at $2.75 million in FY21 for NIFA’s potato research special grants.
For FY22, given the solid return on investment from NIFA’s potato breeding research program and the demands placed upon it due to phytosanitary challenges facing the potato industry, we request enhanced funding to $3.25 million.
ARS Potato Collaborative Research Program
In each of the last 20-plus years, Congress has appropriated funds to ARS to help solve specific production and disease problems of the U.S. potato industry. ARS allocates a portion of these funds via non-assistance cooperative agreements for cooperative research with extramural partners in state agricultural experiment stations and other institutions with active potato research programs. Proposals address potato diseases, insect pests, marketing issues, and post-harvest disorders of critical concern to potato producing states and the national potato industry. Proposals are normally funded for only one year, but once funded, proposals for second- or third-year funding may be submitted to the program.
In FY22 NPC is requesting members of Congress to ask the Appropriations Committees to maintain report language in their respective bills that recognizes the value of the ARS Potato Collaborative Research Program. ARS funding for the potato research projects under this program is typically around $1.12 million.
Specialty Crop Research Initiative
The 2018 Farm Bill inadvertently left out the matching fund waiver authority for the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI). This could compromise otherwise valuable research. At the request of NPC and the U.S. potato industry, this waiver authority was restored in the FY21 Appropriations Bill and should be maintained in any successor.
Potato Sustainability Alliance
Members of PSA, which include NPC and more than 550 U.S. and Canadian farmers, are committed to advancing a common vision of potato sustainability and delivering economic, environmental, and social outcomes at scale.
Alliance for Potato Research & Education
As a member of APRE, NPC is supporting the advancement of scientific understanding of the role potatoes play in promoting the health of all people.