UI May Get New Potato Facility

Multi-million dollar project would meet demands of Idaho's potato industry

Published online: Jun 21, 2018 Articles
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Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News

The Idaho State Board of Education will consider authorizing the planning and design of a roughly 11,000-square-foot, $5 million potato facility at the University of Idaho today, said Mark McGuire, Idaho Agricultural Experiment Station director and College of Agricultural and Life Sciences associate dean of research.

McGuire said the current Nuclear Seed Potato Laboratory located at the UI's Iddings Agricultural Science Building is too small to meet the demand from the state's potato industry. He said about 70 percent of Idaho potatoes have originated from the lab and 60 percent of potatoes from Idaho, Washington and Oregon have come from the UI lab.

McGuire said the project's next phase is identifying a location and design for the building.

He said the west side of campus near existing agricultural facilities is one area where the facility, which would house an open laboratory and office space, could be built.

The name of the facility will likely be the Potato Germplasm Facility, McGuire said.

He said the Idaho State Legislature appropriated $3 million toward the facility's construction, and the UI's College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and the state's agricultural industry pledged financial support as well.

The ISBOE meeting will be held at Eastern Idaho Technical College in Idaho Falls, Idaho.