On Thursday, October 15, more than 20 stakeholder representatives converged on USDA’s Agricultural Research Service’s research facility in East Grand Forks, Minnesota, to observe and rate 56 potato clones grown in six states across the country in 2015. The facility is conveniently located next door to the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association (NPPGA) headquarters. The gathering provided the opportunity for collaborators within the fry sector-including breeders, processors, growers, and state associations-to observe, compare, and rank potato varieties grown in the National Fry Processing Trials (NFPT). The most promising clones will undergo additional testing and analysis in future years. Varieties in the NFPT program on display were grown in Maine, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Idaho, and Washington.
The NFPT program, now in its fourth year, was originally intended to mitigate the formation of acrylamide during processing. Peripheral benefits of the collaborative program have triggered a discussion between stakeholders about the future goals of the program and its role in future variety development efforts in the fry sector.
The NFPT is funded by JR Simplot, ConAgra Foods Lamb-Weston, Cavendish Farms, McCain Foods, NPPGA, the Oregon Potato Commission, the Idaho Potato Commission, the Washington State Potato Commission, the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association, the Maine Potato Board, and the USPB. Additional federal funding from USDA’s Specialty Crop Research Initiative also makes the NFPT program possible.