Potato Grower

September 2018

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breeder Bob Hoopes, who was honored at the Boise meeting as one of four honorary life members. As I looked around, I realized that, yeah, it really was a little like a family reunion. Pathologists, long the research darlings of the industry, tried to mask their jealousy of all the recent fawning over the geneti- cists and breeders. The entomologists and nematologists managed to unobtrusively remind everyone that their branch of the family tree was still relevant, still vital, to the health of the whole. And, perhaps most importantly, unlike at a lot of big family reunions, most attendees actually knew and were happy to see each other. What is it that has made the PAA so suc- cessful for over a century? What gives it that familial feel? The complete willing- ness to share trade secrets—and thereby rendering the term "secrets" moot—ap- pears to be a key driver of the organiza- tion's success. Researchers from Washing- ton to New Brunswick, with backgrounds ranging from extension to federal govern- ment to private corporations, openly com- pare notes and even collaborate with each other, understanding that advances made by any one of them count as victories for the entire industry. "Everyone here has succeeded because of help from someone else," said Phil Nolte, a PAA honorary life member and retired pathologist and seed specialist with the University of Idaho, who got his own start in Minnesota and North Dakota. "This or- ganization allows everyone to learn from and teach each other, and it works won- derfully." "It's clichéd, but PAA is like a family," said Brady Code, eastern technical lead for Syngenta Canada. "When an industry guy like me can get in a room with three Ph.D.s, and they listen to me and care what I have to say—that's an unusual thing." life memberships to longtime leaders 2018 class includes (left to right) Robert and Leigh Morrow. The 2018 PAA Outstanding Extension Project award was presented to Carrie Wohleb of Washington State University for her work with colleagues Tim Waters and David Crowder in developing WSU Pest Alerts, an e-newsletter providing regional pest information and recommendations for growers in the Columbia Basin.

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