WASHINGTON, Jan. 18, 2017 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced the availability of $1.85 million in funding for regional potato breeding research to support development of superior-performing varieties that can be brought to market as soon as possible. The U.S. 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 Potato Breeding 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. This request for applications (RFA) seeks regional projects with the potential to rapidly develop potato varieties that have high commercial value.
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. Research topics should achieve one or more of the following outcomes:
- Superior performing varieties developed with resistance to established and emerging pests that limit sustained production, profitability, and market competitiveness;
- Improved water and nutrient use efficiency traits for varieties that result in decreased demand for irrigation and fertilizer applications while maintaining desired yield and quality performance;
- Desirable yield, storability, consumer, and other value-added quality traits identified and developed for incorporation in new potato varieties; or
- High throughput methods developed for rapidly selecting traits, specifically for developing new, superior-performing varieties and bringing them to market as soon as possible.
New in this year's RFA, 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, an online training resource for extension and other professionals who help bring the latest research to use by the agricultural workforce.
Examples of previously funded projects by the Potato Breeding Research program can be found on the NIFA Current Research Information System.
The deadline for Potato Breeding research is March 28, 2017.
See the request for applications on the NIFA Potato Breeding Research web page for more information.
Since 2009, NIFA has invested in and advanced innovative and transformative initiatives to solve societal challenges and ensure the long-term viability of agriculture. NIFA's integrated research, education, and extension programs support the best and brightest scientists and extension personnel whose work results in user-inspired, groundbreaking discoveries that combat childhood obesity, improve and sustain rural economic growth, address water availability issues, increase food production, find new sources of energy, mitigate climate variability, and ensure food safety.
USDA is an equal opportunity lender, provider and employer