PotatoPro Homepage
  • English
  • Español
  • 简体中文
  • Nederlands

ARS potato breeders worked during US government shutdown to save clones.

ARS potato breeders worked during US government shutdown to save clones.

Units of the National Park System are closed during a federal government shutdown. Shown here is the National Mall closed during the 2013 shutdown

October 21, 2013
Scientists with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service potato genetics program in Aberdeen, Idaho, were granted special permission to return to work during the US government shutdown, potentially preventing the loss of unique breeding material, according to ARS sources speaking on background.

Based on concerns that potato breeding clones could freeze in the field or that roots within flats of experimental spud seedlings awaiting transplant would intertwine, the request was sent Oct. 4 to grant the scientists permission to resume their research. They were allowed to return to work the following week, well before Congress voted to re-open the government on Oct. 17.

University of Idaho staff aided the federal employees in transplanting 35,000 seedlings and selecting clones from fields to retain in the Tri-State Potato Breeding Program, a partnership of UI, Oregon State University, Washington State University and ARS researchers.

Jeanne Debons, executive director of the Potato Variety Management institute, is glad no research clones were lost in the field, but she believes the shutdown has affected the program nonetheless.
Companies in this Article
The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency. The ARS mission is to find solutions to agricultural problems that affect Americans every day, from field to table.
The Potato Variety Management Institute (PVMI) was established in 2005 by the the state potato commissions of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho to handle the licensing and royalty collection on Tri-State potato varieties.
The mission of University of Idaho Extension is to improve the lives of Idahoans by providing research-based education and information that help our citizens solve problems. The University of Idaho Extension is involved in a range of activities related to the potato crop.