The research station at Hancock, Wisconsin is deeply involved in trying new methods to ensure ever better quality, decrease crop inputs and enhance the economic vitality of the Wisconsin farmer. Scientists at the University of Wisconsin are recognized internationally as world-wide leaders in potato research.
The WPVGA’s commitment to research is most evident in the development of the Potato and Vegetable Research Storage Facility (SRF). The SRF is a great example of how Wisconsin growers continue to work with industry partners to invest in the future of agriculture.
The SRF was conceived, designed and built by Wisconsin potato growers to provide UW researchers and growers with a state-of-the-art facility to study the relationship between field management and storage practices of fresh produce. The facility not only allows growers to improve storage methods, but provides valuable information and research into seeding, growing, packaging and shipping potatoes.
In 2006, funding for the multi-million dollar facility was secured by the WPVGA with the assistance of five Wisconsin potato growers including Greg Wysocki of Wysocki Produce Farms; Dennis Zeloski, of Muck Farms, Inc.; TJ Kennedy, of Heartland Farms, Inc.; Steve Diercks, of Coloma Farms, Inc.; and Tom Wild, of Wild Seed Farms, Inc.
The facility is located at the Hancock Agriculture Research Station and focuses on four areas of research:
The facility provides localized research capabilities that pertain specifically to the Wisconsin environment. But it’s not just potatoes that are part of the research. Other produce like carrots, onions, beets, cabbage, squash and pumpkins have been part of the research, too.
The SRF is in partnership with University of Wisconsin-Madison and provides the potential for truly innovative research that directly impacts the potato industry from seed development to creating a finished marketable product.
Highlights and statistics of the facility include:
A group of potato growers, industry representatives, and University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers serve as the Storage Research Advisory Committee and provide guidance for facility operations and research priorities.
Wisconsin potato growers are known across the United States for their innovations in production, resource conservation and sustainability. Their commitment to research has been a planned mission for decades. Every Wisconsin potato grower voluntarily pays six cents to their association for every 100 pounds of potatoes produced annually. A large portion of this money is invested back into the University of Wisconsin to provide scientists from multiple disciplines the dollars needed to fund research in all areas impacting potatoes.
Over 25 research projects are funded annually at a total investment level of over $350,000. The initial association investment for these projects pays big dividends to the growers, the industry and the state, as UW researchers are able to use this funding to leverage additional federal funding sources back to Wisconsin by over 100 fold. In 2014 this translated to over $30 million return on a $350,000 investment.
The dedication and excellence of faculty, academic staff and graduate students across multiple academic disciplines generates remarkable results. Research has been undertaken that addresses important subjects like Potato Breeding, Seed Production, Growing Potatoes, Protecting Natural Resources and Managing Pests.
To learn more, visit the Hancock Agricultural Research Station website.