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Researchers harvest potatoes at the UW-Madison Hancock Agricultural Research Station. (Photo: Sevie Kenyon/UW-Madison CALS)

Potato-Vegetable Growers Give $5 Million for UW-Research

Potato growers plan to give $5 million to University of Wisconsin-Madison during the next decade to conduct research for the industry.

Members of the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) will pay for the new research with higher assessments on their product sales. Last summer, the industry increased its assessment by one penny for every 100 pounds of potatoes and vegetables produced , and the association’s board plans to raise it by one more cent next year.

“The plan is to dedicate $500,000 annually for the next 10 years to a Wisconsin potato research fund which will be directed by potato grower representatives to support areas that we determine to be our priorities,” said Tamas Houlihan, WPVGA executive director . “It will be through the UW-Foundation, however. Our ultimate goal is to raise $10 million for this fund over the next 10 years with the additional contributions from growers, vegetable processing companies and allied members.”

Growers now pay six cents per hundredweight for marketing and research. Houlihan says the increase in monetary support comes from the value the producers see in the U-W researchers and facilities.

The Rhinelander Agricultural Research Station, also known as the UW Lelah Starks Potato Breeding Farm, has been a home for University potato breeding research for more than 50 years. The new fund, which will be overseen by a seven-member advisory board made up of potato and vegetable industry representatives, will expand the industry’s investment options, giving them more flexibility to invest in the university’s research, staffing or facilities — whatever is needed — to keep the program and the state’s industry at the forefront.

Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison

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