b'solutionintheformofhigh-throughput screening and tiered tri-als, which whittle down the varietypoolfromthousandstoeventuallytens of candidates. The strength of NCP and NFPT lies intheir scalability and streamlined per-formance. While participating breed-ers and growers apply a fine-grainedlenstotheirpursuitofmolecularmarkers,optimalspecificgravities,and other precise measures, NCP andNFPTwerealsodesignedwiththebigger picture in mind: to expeditethe entire process, from discovery tocommercialization.Wevelearnedthat, along with scientific thinking,systemsthinkinganend-to-endview on the pipelineis essential topredicting bottlenecks and gaps. Forexample,thelogisticsassociatedwiththemasspropagationandtransport of mini tubers to researchstationsscatteredacrosstheconti-nentalU.S.;onthesurface,thesemay seem easier challenges to crackthanthepotatoscomplexgeneticcode,buttheyoftenentailjustasmuch problem-solving.NCPT and NFPT werent perfect fromtheoutset,butwithfeedbackfrom collaboratornetworkcomprisedof tractfromtheultimategoalofconstituents, and a commitment to land grant universities, Department greater financial, social, and environ-iterationandimprovement,they ofAgricultureagencies,andstate mental sustainability in potato pro-haveevolvedintocost-effective commissions,alongwithamulti- duction. Technology is the means toresearchunits,capableofmeeting stage approach to field trials and lab thisendnottheendinitself.the specifications of growers, proces- testing, are all thats needed to accel- PRAC,NCP,andNFPTsuggestthatsors, and consumers. Robust varieties erate crop research.the future of tuber research rests notlike Lamoka have graduated from the onlyonthenextcutting-edgetoolprograms and gone on to prove their ItsbeenenergizingtowatchAI, butalsoonrigorousscienceandworth by remedying problems such automation,blockchain,andother watertightrelationships:thetried-asinternalheatnecrosis,scab,and techbuzzwordsarriveonagricul- and-truesourcesofinformation.discolorationlongstandingthorns tures doorstep. But we cant let the Theircombinedpowerisnosmallin the industrys side. NCP and NFPT slick veneer of these innovations dis- potatoes.have demonstrated that a close-knitNOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019 POTATO GROWER 7'