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Potato research projects benefit from Idaho ag dept annual specialty crop program

Interest in the Idaho State Department of Agriculture’s annual specialty crop program was up considerably this year compared with last year. Sean Ellis of the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation reports that ISDA has announced it will award a total of $1.8 million this year to 17 different projects that aim to benefit specialty crop growers in Idaho.

As for potatoes, Ellis reports that the University of Idaho will receive a $139,000 grant to develop sophisticated disease surveillance methods to safeguard potato soil health in Idaho. The management of soil-borne diseases can account for more than 10 percent of potato farmers’ production costs.

The Idaho Potato Commission was awarded a $130,000 grant to help establish retail sampling programs in the United Kingdom. The programs are designed to increase dehydrated potato exports to the U.K. The dehydrated product coming out of Idaho is very different from the local dehydrated flakes produced in the U.K., according to IPC. It is the IPC’s belief that through sampling events, we can change consumers’ perception of dehydrated mashed potatoes and increase consumption of Idaho products.

Idaho State University was awarded a $98,000 grant to conduct field trials for an automated early season potato virus Y detection system. ISU researchers will use unmanned aircraft systems equipped with a specialized sensor to detect and map individual PVY infected plants. The ultimate goal is to develop a low-cost solution for growers to rapidly detect and mitigate for PVY.

Source: Idaho Farm Bureau Federation via Idaho Press. Read the full report on Idaho Press here
Photo: Idaho Farm Bureau Federation

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