The Colorado State University potato program is committed to developing research based information and extension education programs to support the Colorado potato production and marketing system and consumers alike. Strong, forward-looking research and extension programs that enable the potato industry to be on the cutting edge of technology that is essential to competing in the markets of today and tomorrow.
The first San Luis Valley Research Center was established in 1888 (the same year the main station at Fort Collins was established) on 200 acres of state land near the Rio Grande River, seven miles east of Del Norte. Experiments were begun in 1889 on 15 varieties of field crops, 14 varieties of vegetable crops, 10 varieties of fruit and 10 varieties of forest trees. In 1891 the Research Center was moved to a location 4 ½ miles north of Monte Vista. Experiments were once again started on many crops, but with more emphasis on potatoes.
In 1896, federal funds were reduced and other financial support was unavailable, and as a result, the San Luis Valley Research Center was closed. In 1940, the San Luis Valley Potato Improvement Association and the San Luis Valley Potato Board of Control rented 160 acres at the present site of the Research Center located nine miles north of Monte Vista and established the San Luis Valley Demonstration Farm. In 1950, the San Luis Valley Potato Improvement Association purchased the farm and subsequently deeded it to Colorado State University in 1953. An adjacent 160 acres were purchased by Colorado State University in 2010 to meet the needs of expanding research programs.
The first full-time researcher was stationed at the Research Center in 1956. Today, the resident staff consists of four faculty members of the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture and the manager of the potato seed certification program.