USDA Announces Specialty Crop Block Grant Program Funding for Potato Projects

Twenty projects awarded more than $2.6 million in FY23 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program funding

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced on August 23 that it has awarded more than $2.6 million in Fiscal Year 2023 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) funding for 20 projects benefiting the U.S. potato industry.

The potato-focused grants are part of a total of $72.9 million in non-competitive FY 2023 SCBGP funding awarded to 54 states, territories, and the District of Columbia. The funding is designed to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crop products and create new market opportunities for U.S. specialty crop producers.

Projects to support the potato industry include:

  • A joint project between the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee and Colorado State University to improve market relations with Mexico by developing and evaluating a pre-shipment screening strategy to detect the presence of potato mop-top virus in potato lots for export.
  • A project by the Michigan Potato Industry Commission to provide nutritional education and inspiration on how to best utilize Michigan-produced potatoes to food insecure and bilingual audiences across Michigan, with a focus on Metro Detroit and high Hispanic geographic areas.
  • An Oregon State University project to develop new products for sprout inhibition or suppression in potatoes as alternatives to the currently used chemical Chlorpropham (CIPC), which was banned in the European Union, presenting challenges for U.S. potato exports.
  • A Washington State University project to expand the utility of cellulose nanofibers as protectants against potato diseases; thereby providing a new avenue for sustainable management of plant diseases.

The full list of potato-related projects is available here.

Since 2006, USDA has invested over $1 billion through the SCBGP to fund nearly 12,000 projects that have increased the long-term successes of producers and enhanced marketing opportunities for U.S. specialty crops products.