The Potato Expo, to be convened this year in Orlando, Fla., has become the main educational event for people from all aspects of potato production and utilization. As you sit down to participate in any of the sessions, you will be surrounded by people who buy, sell and process potatoes, as well as those who grow and store them and those who work for the many businesses that serve these people. Also included in the attendees will be a large number of potato scientists, most of whom are members of The Potato Association of America (PAA).
The PAA, which was created in 1913, represents the “scientific arm” of the potato industry and is made up of potato scientists from all disciplines—production, breeding and genetics, physiology, crop protection, utilization and marketing, seed certification and extension. Similiar to last year, PAA will be well represented at the upcoming 2012 Potato Expo in Orlando. The PAA will have a booth and a poster display dedicated to practical, applied research topics—topics that are immediately useful to our industry. Many of the scientists making presentations in the Expo breakout sections are also PAA members.
As a scientific society, the PAA provides the framework for scientific interaction among potato scientists from all over North and South America. It is just this sort of interaction that leads to the cooperation, collaboration and the exchange of information and ideas that move our science forward. To make this valuable scientific information available, the PAA also publishes the world’s premier scientific potato publication, The American Journal of Potato Research. This bi-monthly publication provides a forum for publishing the latest research in potato science, much of which is funded by potato industry groups and federal programs like the USDA potato research program.
The continued forward march of scientific inquiry is vital to the future health of the U.S. and the world potato industry. Whatever the need, from new varieties with new and improved characteristics, to methods necessary to produce and store the crop most efficiently with the least environmental impact, potato science continues to probe the frontiers of knowledge to provide the information. In an ever-changing industry and world environment, the generation of knowledge is a never-ending process.
As scientists and members of the PAA, we urge you to attend the Potato Expo this year. While you’re there, be sure to take in some of the PAA presentations, check out the poster display and stop by our booth to get better acquainted. We’ll be more than happy to talk potato science with you! Tell us what sort of research you’d like to see in the future.
Many of you might also consider becoming members of PAA. We’ll have application materials at the booth but feel free to check out our website: www.potatoassociation.org.
Olsen is PAA vice president, Thornton is a PAA director and Nolte is a past president.