Farewell but Not Goodbye...

A glance back and a long look forward

Published in the April 2015 Issue Published online: Apr 30, 2015 Dr. Phillip Nolte
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To all of my dear friends in the Idaho potato industry,

The time has come for me to close the book on my career here at the University of Idaho. This announcement will not come as a surprise to many of you as I have been openly discussing my pending retirement since well before my birthday last October.

Hopefully, my efforts over the years I have been here have helped to facilitate some improvements in our fine industry. But one theme that has been hammered home year after year is the fact that as soon as we have solved one problem, another appears in its place, or one of the old ones comes back with a new set of capabilities. And so it shall ever be. Agriculture will forever be facing new challenges while striving to stay ahead of the already established ones.

I still remember my first day on the job. It was Monday, June 11, 1991. My wife, my daughter, Jill and I had arrived in Idaho Falls the previous week and had spent the bulk of the weekend getting settled in our new home. Job-wise, things picked up pretty much right away and they haven’t slacked off much over the last 24 years. The time has gone by surprisingly fast.

Another lesson I have learned during my time here is that standing up to the challenges that face our industry requires teamwork.

I have been involved in the hunt for a solution to one problem or another throughout my entire career, and one thing has been repeatedly clear: I never had to face any of these problems alone.

The Idaho potato industry has an abundance of highly intelligent and very dedicated people, and when they work together, which I have seen them do time after time when faced with a new problem, a positive result generally follows.

Speaking of teamwork, I would like to give a special thanks to my fellow University of Idaho personnel. From my fellow profs to the superb band of technical support people employed by the University, it has been a pleasure working with you. A special thanks also to the Idaho Potato Commission, the Idaho Crop Improvement Association and the Idaho State Department of Agriculture for all of the support, both moral and material, that you have provided over the years.

I am proud and happy to have had a superb and very productive relationship with the various editors of the Potato Grower magazine, from Gary Rawlings, who interviewed me at the beginning of my career, to Tyrell Marchant, the current editor. The U of I column will continue under the watchful eye of my dear and esteemed colleague, Dr. Nora Olsen, who is based at the U of I Kimberly Research Station.

My wife and I will continue to live at our residence in Idaho Falls. I do expect to continue to play a role of some kind in the Idaho industry. I will most likely be penning an article for this magazine from time to time, and I have already agreed to help out at Potato Conference next year.

My time here has been one incredible experience. Thanks, Idaho!