USPB National Chip Processor Trials (NCPT)
In early August, USPB signed a new contract with AIS Consulting to continue its implementation of the NCPT program, frequently referred to as the Chip Program. This has allowed us to begin the process of “institutionalizing” the program, which will strengthen it for the long term. Remember, 12 percent of today’s chipping potato acreage is a product of the program, illustrating just how valuable it has become. While much of the research and program priorities for the 2016 crop year were decided last December, preparation for 2017 will soon be ramping up. USPB Research and Analysis Director, Ryan Krabill, will be working with David Parish at AIS to coordinate the research proposals for consideration by the Chip Committee as it heads into the winter months. In early December, some members of the Chip Committee will gather in Chicago to set budget levels for 2017 and establish priority research areas. These recommendations will then be considered and approved by the full Chip Committee, tentatively, in December. What the Chip Committee proposes will then be put forward for the consideration and approval of the USPB Research Committee. Ultimately, this plan will be approved by the USPB during its Annual Meeting in March 2016.
Program Mission: The NCPT uses variety development research to help create new markets for U.S. chipping potatoes, promote innovation, address challenges faced by growers, and support growers and chippers with information gleaned from the program. It is a nationally-focused variety development program that incorporates input from processors, growers, breeders and industry partners like the Snack Food Association (SFA), in addition to the USPB. USPB Budget Obligation: about $600,000
National Fry Processor Trials (NFPT)
Similar to the NCPT, USPB signed a contract in early August with AIS to continue its implementation of the NFPT for FY2016, which began on July 1, 2015. However, the NFPT program is set to conclude at the end of FY2017 (June 30, 2017), leaving the 2016 crop year as the last full growing season in the program. At that point, it remains to be seen if the stakeholders will choose to build a new variety development program for the frozen sector.
One of the primary challenges in the NFPT is the funding through FY2017 of all five states that serve as variety trial locations: Idaho, Washington, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Maine. Originally, the program had trial sites in Idaho, Washington, and North Dakota only. When the program was awarded a Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) grant in 2011, the additional funding allowed the trials to go forward in Wisconsin and Maine also. Because the SCRI funding will be completely spent at the end of the current calendar year, the management and logistics of the trials in Maine and Wisconsin is now in question for the 2016 crop year. This is an issue which still needs to be resolved. USPB will be working with AIS to put together a funding plan for all five states for the duration of the program—through June 30, 2017—to propose to the NFPT stakeholders when they gather for the NFPT Field Day to be held in East Grand Forks, Minnesota, next month.
Program Mission: NFPT is a nationwide variety development program seeking to identify consumer-acceptable potato clones that result in lower acrylamide levels when fried. USPB partners with processors and state organizations on the NFPT. USPB Budget Obligation: $50,000