Mission & Background
Our mission is to identify new potato varieties and cultural and postharvest management practices that will provide profitable, sustainable production for the grower, improved competitiveness for the Washington potato industry, a healthy, inexpensive food supply for American consumers, and contribute to a healthy environment.
The WSU Potato Variety Development Program is aided in research, administrative detail, and funding by the USDA/ARS, Washington State Potato Commission, the Tri-State Potato Variety Development Program (Idaho, Oregon, and Washington), Washington State University, the Western Coordinating Committee 27 (WERA-27), and other members of the U.S. potato industry.
The Tri-State Potato Variety Research Project and Partners
As the Northwest Potato Variety Development Program, the Tri-State teams evaluate the newest clones coming from the Tri-State program (Washington, Oregon, and Idaho). The majority of the potato clones and cultivars evaluated in this project come from USDA/ARS funded breeding programs located at Aberdeen, ID and Prosser, WA. The Tri-State team is comprised of researchers from the University of Idaho, Oregon State University, Washington State University, the USDA/ARS, and the potato industry and commissions of the three states.
The Regional Potato Variety Research Project and Partners
The Regional team evaluates advanced clones that have graduated from the Tri-State program in addition to advanced clones from other programs. Additional clones and cultivars come from Oregon State University, Colorado State University, Texas A&M, North Dakota State University, University of Minnesota, USDA/ARS Beltsville, Vauxhall, Alberta, Canada, and other programs. Colorado State University, University of Texas, and University of California join the Tri-State team to evaluate selections on a regional basis.
The concerted effort of those listed above has brought change to the Washington potato industry. This is demonstrated by the change in acreage planted to Russet Burbank vs. new cultivars and numbered clones during recent years. Nine years ago 50% of the potato acreage in Washington was planted with Russet Burbank. As a result of variety testing efforts, less than 41% of the potato acreage in 2005 was planted with Russet Burbank and the remaining 59% planted with other cultivars and clones. At least 89% of those “other” cultivars and clones were developed by the Tri-State breeding program. U.S. economic value of the recently released Tri-State varieties is placed at approximately $135 million (farm gate) annually. A recent economic analysis of the program revealed that every dollar invested in the Tri-State program results in a $39 return to the industry.