U.S. potato breeding research funding hits historic high

Published: August 11, 2022

Potato Breeding

The U.S. funding for potato breeding research hit the highest level in history, the National Potato Council (NPC) reports.

NPC reports that on July 28, the Senate Appropriations Committee released their version of the Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) Agriculture Appropriations Bill, including 4 million dollar for potato breeding research. This is the highest level in history for this program, administered by the National Institutes of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and utilized across the U.S. industry.

Result of strong teamwork
The bill, making appropriations for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies programs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2023, provides 27.2 billion dollar, an 8 percent increase, to tackle hunger, lift up rural communities, rebuild health and safety infrastructure, support communities of color, and confront the climate crisis. ‘The potato industry greatly appreciates the value that the Senate Appropriations Committee has placed on this vital research. We have made this program a priority each appropriations cycle and the strong teamwork is clearly generating results,’ NPC vice president of legislative affairs RJ Andrus said.

Preventing limited potato access
The bill also includes language that would prevent the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from limiting potato access to the school breakfast program, funding from USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and waiver provisions that make the Specialty Crop Research Initiative more accessible for public institutions. Last year NIFA awarded four Potato Research grants as part of their Special Research Grants program. The institute states it invests in Potato Breeding Research in order to support ‘potato research that focuses on the development and testing of superior commercial potato varieties, using classical breeding and advanced molecular and biotechnological approaches’.