Potatoes USA-Supported Research into Neonic Alternatives Receives Funding from United States Department of Agriculture
DENVER, CO - Advantageous developments may soon hit the potato category as a result of a four-year research project supported by Potatoes USA. The organization recently announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) has provided funding for the project, which is focused on developing and evaluating potential alternatives to neonicotinoids for pest management of potato crops.
“Neonicotinoids (commonly called “neonics”) are a type of insecticide that has seen widespread usage in the U.S. for 25 years. Neonics have been a critical tool for potato growers given their ease of use and low application cost,” the organization stated in a release. “However, environmental concerns have shifted companies and consumer demand away from purchasing potatoes that use neonics. Critics have linked widespread neonic usage with rising resistance among pest populations, harm to pollinators, and environmental contamination.”
Potatoes USA’s Potato Research Advisory Committee (PRAC) selected the Potato IPM project to submit to USDA’s SCRI and supported the Potato IPM submission with 51 letters of support from national organizations, regional and state organizations, processors, regulators, research entities, and growers across 12 states.
The overall goal of the long-term research project is to develop and adopt new pest management strategies in the U.S. potato industry that serve as an effective alternative to neonics, a press release explained. The project, titled “Enhancing integrated insect pest management strategies for U.S. potato production systems” and nicknamed “Potato IPM,” has four main objectives:
- Develop and evaluate non-neonic pest strategies in ware and seed potatoes
- Develop pest prediction and decision-making tools
- Evaluate the socioeconomic influences and impacts associated with transitioning from neonics to new pest management strategies
- Facilitate the adoption of new strategies among growers
How will this inventive research project improve the potato sector? ANUK will continue to report.