Hot Sheet

A salute to Colorado potatoes — and to politicians who can get along

Author: Dan Njegomir - July 28, 2017 - Updated: July 28, 2017

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coloradopotato.org

We tend to avoid blogging about the many press releases we get from Colorado’s Washington delegation “announcing” some grant or new funding stream to some program or another back home in Colorado. It’s not that we don’t think the programs themselves merit news coverage or that Colorado isn’t happy to have the extra funding; it’s that, typically, the lawmakers had about as much to do with dispensing the money as did any of the rest of us. They’re just looking to get some good press out of sharing the news.

Given the prevailing partisan acrimony in our nation’s capital, however, we’re happy to make an exception for a joint press release issued today by the offices of Colorado U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner. To have a Democrat and a Republican appear together in the current climate on any announcement that isn’t a legal notice — or a fight card — is refreshing in its own right. What’s more, the topic in this case is something we all can agree on — one of Colorado’s most distinguished cash crops, the potato. Here’s the gist:

The Colorado State University (CSU) will receive $2.5 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to study the integration of new technologies to manage potato pathogens in North American potato crops.

It’s welcome news, of course. It also gives us an excuse to post this fetching video on potatoes from Colorado’s famed San Luis Valley — and there’s not even a remotely political reference of any kind in it. Take a moment to view it and enjoy:

And here’s the rest of the press release, verbatim — our gift for the week to Bennet’s and Gardner’s press shops:

“Congratulations to Colorado State on receiving this grant to improve the treatment and management of potato pathogens,” Bennet said. “Potatoes are a critical part of our agricultural economy in Colorado. This grant is an investment in research that will assist potato growers across the country and protect future potato production”

 “It is critically important that the Department of Agriculture is working with our nation’s universities like Colorado State to support research that will assist our farmers with crop production,” Gardner said. “I’ve been a proud supporter of agriculture research through National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and believe this grant will be an asset to our potato farmers throughout Colorado.”

Bacterial potato pathogens such as blackleg and soft-rot cause significant crop losses on farms throughout the country. This grant will help integrate advanced technologies to manage and reduce the spread of these pathogens.  In June, Bennet and Gardner announced that Colorado State received a $264,600 USDA grant to study the spread of a new bacterial pathogen in U.S. potatoes. Together, the two grants will support critical efforts to protect U.S. potato farms.

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir is the opinion editor for Colorado Politics. A longtime journalist and more-than-25-year veteran of the Colorado political scene, Njegomir has been an award-winning newspaper reporter, an editorial page editor, a senior legislative staffer at the State Capitol and a political consultant.