With more than a dozen of the world's leading potato experts already on its faculty, the University of Idaho College of Agricultural and Life Sciences has formed the Idaho Potato Center of Research and Education.
To be headed by Stephen Love, Aberdeen, ID-based professor of plant science and coordinator of the Tri-State Potato Variety Development Program, it will include focuses on solving complex and challenges issues facing the Idaho potato industry.
These include rising production costs, increased global competition, new strains of diseases, and environmental issues associated with processing wastes.
The Center "will integrate all available resources in addressing the challenges and opportunities faced by Idaho's potato industry," says Michael Weiss, head of the UI Department of Plant, Soil and Entomological Sciences.
Some of its benefits are expected to be increased interdisciplinary efforts toward comprehensive solutions to complicated problems, including new consumer and industrial uses; increased coordination on all aspects of research; increased state, regional, national and international awareness of the UI's contributions to the potato industry, and increased funding opportunities to address complex research problems.
"We'll involve elements of our faculty that we've under-utilized on potato issues in the past and we'll be able to mobilize much more quickly," he says.