By JOHN O'CONNELL
The Potato Variety Management Institution had its best fiscal year ever in 2012, grossing about $560,000 in annual royalties and licensing from the potato varieties it manages.
PVMI is a nonprofit corporation created by the Idaho, Oregon and Washington potato commissions to market and administer new potato varieties developed by the Tri-State University Research and Breeding Program.
PVMI recently sent checks totaling $166,000 to the institutions that comprise the Tri-State program -- the University of Idaho, Oregon State University, Washington State University and the USDA's Agricultural Research Service. The six-year-old organization's total contribution to Tri-State members is now $666,000.
At the request of U of I, PVMI also established a $190,000 reserve account with this season's revenue as a buffer in case expenses ever outweigh income. Other PVMI expenditures covered advertising and wages.
Potato manages 32 varieties including Alturas, Classic Russet, Ivory Crisp, Alpine Russet and Mazama.
PVMI Executive Director Jeanne Debons said it takes about a decade for new varieties to get established in the industry.
"PVMI going on six years, we're starting to see some of the varieties finding their niche and starting to take off," Debons said.
Throughout the country, 6,535 acres of potato seed were planted in PVMI varieties, with about half of the production in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Gross receipts were up by $80,000 from the previous fiscal year, though contributions to Tri-State members were down due to the establishment of the reserve account, Debons explained.
"In the future, PVMI hopes to see the amount growing yearly to support the research program," Debons said.