Breeding better potatoes for better potato chips. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.
Americans eat more potato chips than any other nation; more than four pounds a person a year, according to Potatoes USA. About 22 percent of the U.S. potato crop—nearly 7,500 million pounds annually—are made into chips. And USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) helps ensure that the country always has the perfect potato for frying into chips.
ARS’ potato breeding program has already produced some major winners in the potato chip category. But, research Geneticist Richard Novy says diseases and pests keep evolving, so researchers need to keep breeding new potato varieties to stay ahead of them. And that’s what they do. Every year, scientists in the ARS potato breeding program make thousands of chipping potato crosses to improve disease and pest resistance while achieving perfect potato chip color and proper sugar levels, good storage ability, and a whole host of superior agronomic traits such as yield, time to harvest and tuber size.
Listen to Sabrina Halvorson’s This Land Of Ours program here.
National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.
Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She primarily reports on legislative issues and hosts The AgNet Weekly podcast. Sabrina is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.