Idaho spud projects receive specialty crop grants

The Idaho State Department of Agriculture has awarded the state’s potato industry more than $340,000 in USDA Specialty Crop Research Block Grants toward international marketing, potato nutrition research and efforts to identify breeding material resistant to pale cyst nematode. ISDA awarded more than $1.74 million to support 16 projects in 2015. Final approval by USDA is expected in September, and the funding should be available by Nov. 1, according to ISDA. The Idaho Potato Commission applied for two of the chosen spud projects. IPC President and CEO Frank Muir explained the $125,000 PCN grant will be used to collaborate with researchers in South America and Europe, where the hardy pest is prevalent, to identify resistant potato germplasm to support regional breeding, aimed at developing the first PCN-resistant Russet. More