Nationwide research on sweet potatoes has been recognized with an award for multi-state collaboration among state agricultural experiment stations.

The National Sweetpotato Collaborators Conference received the 2013 Excellence in Multistate Research Award from the Experiment Station Committee on Organization and Policy of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, according to a news release.

The collaborators group began in 1939 as a way for researchers in different states to exchange information about sweet potato production.

It is led by faculty at the Louisiana State University AgCenter, North Carolina State University, Mississippi State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service.

It also includes research and Extension faculty and industry representatives from throughout the country.

“This group is now approaching its 75th year and represents the most organized and systematic approach to sweet potato research in the world,” Don LaBonte, an LSU AgCenter sweet potato breeder, said in the release. “No other group anywhere in the world serves the intellectual and practical research and extension needs of producers like the national sweet potato collaborators group.”

The group has released 94 sweet potato varieties.

In addition, the group has developed production strategies for dealing with the sweetpotato weevil and screening methods for diseases, such as soil rot and Fusarium wilt.