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NIFA-Funded Potato Breeding Research Featured at 2024 Potato Expo

Nifa Authors
Lori Tyler Gula, Senior Public Affairs Specialist

Several researchers funded by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) will discuss their research at the 2024 Potato Expo January 10-11 in Austin, Texas. The Potato Expo is the largest conference and trade show for the potato industry.    

“Public funding of potato breeding and research through several NIFA programs has provided producers and consumers with a wealth of new potato varieties appropriate for either conventional or low input systems and management options to mitigate threats to growers in more sustainable ways,” said NIFA National Program Leader Christian Tobias. 

Potatoes are the most widely grown and consumed vegetable in the United States. Potatoes’ popularity is a result of their versatility and affordability, as well as being a tasty and nutrient-dense food choice.  In 2020, U.S. potato production was valued at about $3.65 billion. While per acre yield has trended up over the last several years, challenges such as climate change, diseases and pests threatened both potato yields and quality.  

  • Regional Breeding Program’s Contributions to the Industry 
    Researchers will discuss regional potato breeding efforts that are supported by NIFA and leading universities. The discussion will include recent technological advances and new varietal releases in different market classes that provide real benefits along the value chain.  
  • Increasing the Resilience of Potato Production to Combat Climate Change 
    Michigan State University scientists are conducting research to increase the resiliency of U.S. potato production through the identification, development, and implementation of stress mitigation and adaptation tools (e.g., new management options, potato varieties with greater resilience) during production and storage stages. Researchers conducted a set of field and storage studies that benchmark elite cultivars under variable heat stress conditions during the 2021-23 growing seasons. 
  • Systems Approach to Nematode Control in U.S. Potatoes 
    University of Idaho researchers will provide an update of the NIFA-funded project PAPAS project (Potatoes and Pests, Actionable Science against Nematodes) that aims to control nematodes that threaten potatoes.  
  • New Potato Varieties from the University of Wisconsin 
    Scientists who work in the University of Wisconsin-Madison potato breeding program will discuss new varieties available for commercialization.  
  • Insights into Soil Health in U.S. Potato Production Systems 
    Oregon State University researchers will provide results from a large, collaborative USDA Specialty Crop Research Initiative project conducted in all major potato-producing states to identify indicators of soil health and develop management strategies that will enhance soil health in potato production systems. The research will help better understanding of what soil health means on potato farms and which approaches are effective at improving soil health. 
  • Highlights from the Potato Virus Initiative: Developing Solutions 
    University of Idaho scientists will discuss a NIFA-funded research and Extension project “Potato Virus Initiative: Developing Solutions” focused on developing virus management strategies to produce a sustainable, profitable and high-quality potato crop. The objectives of the project include improvements in virus detection and potato certification, in in-season spread management, in the search for and introgression of new resistance sources and in ways to access and disseminate the data among growers and industry personnel. 
  • Using Precision Agriculture Technologies in Potato Sustainable Nitrogen Management 
    University of Wisconsin – Madison researchers have found that the combination of hyperspectral remote sensing and machine learning has proven to be a potential approach in facilitating decision-making for precision farming.  
  • Report on the North Carolina Early Generation Southern Selection Trials – 2017-2023 
    North Carolina State University researchers will discuss the results of the Early Generation Southern Selection trial involving 11 potato breeding programs. It is designed to evaluate clones 1 – 2 cycles earlier than the National Chip Processors Trial. The goal is to capture greater genetic diversity and increasing the likelihood of finding fresh, out-of-field chip lines for the southern U.S.  
Farm Bill Priority Areas
Plant health, production, and products
U.S. States and Territories
North Carolina

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