CORVALLIS - Three researchers from Oregon State University will be honored for their lifetime achievements and contributions to one of the basic elements of the human diet, the potato.
Alvin Mosley, Mary Powelson and Oscar Gutbrod will be awarded honorary life membership in the Potato Association of America (PAA) at the association's annual meeting Aug. 8-12 in Scottsbluff, Neb.
The association, along with its European counterpart, is the international voice for the potato industry, focusing on all aspects of the industry. This is the highest honor given by the PAA, and it's the first time three recipients from one state have received this honor in one year.
OSU research is an important partner to the Oregon potato growers, who produce an annual crop with a farm-gate value of about $150 million and a processed value close to $300 million.
During more than 30 years of research, Mosley has expanded Oregon's potato selection program from a few hundred selections to an elite variety development program that now tests 100,000 potential new cultivars each year. He has led the Oregon component of a Tri-State program to develop new potato varieties in Oregon, Washington and Idaho, which has released a dozen or more new potato varieties and several more pending releases. Most recently, Mosley has been responsible for the foundation seed potato program that provides disease-free seed of new varieties to seed growers.
Gutbrod is known throughout the world for his expertise on potato diseases and their control. The standards he developed for seed certification for potatoes, including field inspections and winter greenhouse testing, insure that only healthy seed is propagated. This work protects growers from economic losses and has become a model for other seed certification programs throughout the country.
Powelson is internationally recognized for her expertise on fungal and bacterial diseases and as an educator. She has received awards for her teaching at OSU and is sought as a speaker and Extension specialist. Not only has she collaborated with research colleagues throughout North America, Australia and Russia, she has also been a mentor to a generation of graduate students.
"These OSU researchers have devoted time, energy, and expertise far beyond their position descriptions in service as teachers, mentors, researchers, and leaders for the industry," said Ken Rykbost, superintendent of the Klamath Agricultural Research Center, one of four branch experiment stations across Oregon where OSU potato research is conducted.