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    CSU Potato Program Website!
    • Contact Us:
    • San Luis Valley Research Center: 719-754-3594
    • Potato Certification Service: 719-754-3496

About Us

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History of the Program

The first full-time researcher was stationed at the San Luis Valley Research Center in 1956. Mr. James Twomey conducted a potato selection program based on seedling tubers from other programs around the US, primarily the USDA in Beltsville, MD and Prosser, WA. In 1979, under the leadership of David Holm, the Colorado State University Potato Breeding and Selection Program was initiated. As the program evolved, the number of first year seedlings planted for selection grew from approximately 40,000 to 80,000-85,000. Centennial Russet was named in 1976. This was the first cultivar released by Jim Twomey during what may be referred to as the modern area of the Program. Since that time, another 18 cultivars have been released including russets, reds, specialties, and chippers. Eleven additional cultivars have been cooperatively released with various universities, the USDA-ARS, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.



Dr. David G. Holm
Dr. Holm was born in Southeast Idaho and raised on a family farm near Shelley in Bingham County. Potatoes, grain, and alfalfa were the primary crops raised. He credits his Dad and Grandfather with instilling in him an interest in potatoes, and his 7th grade science teacher with helping him decide on a career in science when he challenged the class to start thinking about the future and what they wanted to do for a living. Dr. Holm received his B.S. (1972) and M.S. (1974) from the University of Idaho and his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota (1977). Dave began his professional career and is currently a Professor in the Department of Horticulture at Colorado State University located at the San Luis Valley Research Center, where he served as Superintendent from 1983-1997. Dave’s principal research responsibilities include the breeding and selection of new potato cultivars through traditional hybridization methods. Development of seed stocks of advanced selections for grower evaluation and seed increase is also an integral part of his program. He maintains close interaction with various research, extension, and production segments of the potato industry in Colorado and other major potato production areas of the US. He considers these relationships critical to the release and successful adoption of new cultivars. In 1979, he initiated the Colorado Potato Breeding and Selection Program, which previously had been solely a selection program receiving seedling tubers from other programs. During Dave’s tenure, 18 cultivars have been released. He has cooperated with other universities, the USDA-ARS, and Agriculture &Agri-Food Canada in the release of another 11 cultivars. He also has developed five clonal selections of Sangre and Russet Norkotah.


Caroline Gray
Ms. Gray is originally from Virginia Beach, VA. She received her B.S. (1998) and M.S. (2001) from Virginia Tech. She worked as a Research Technician for the Soybean Breeding Programs at Virginia Tech (2001-2004) and at the University of Arkansas (2004-2010). She is currently a Research Associate at Colorado State University located at the San Luis Valley Research Center. She assists Dr. David Holm with the Potato Breeding and Selection program to develop improved cultivars.

Photo © Dan Bihn


We offer paid summer internships for high school and college students. Complete the Contact Us form on the left to request an application.

Graduate Students

Katie Larson. Color, Carotenoid Content and Sensory Perceptions in Potato Germplasm from the Colorado Potato Breeding and Selection Program Read more

Sara Kammlade. The Influence of Agromanagement on Soil Health and Potato Mineral Nutrients Read more

Raven Bough. Screening Potato Germplasm for Flavor Utilizing HS-SPME/GC-MS and Sensory Panel Analyses

The development of potato cultivars with improved flavor in the San Luis Valley has the potential to expand the region’s fresh potato market by focusing on consumer appeal. Through analysis of existing cultivars, the objective of this project is to establish a flavor rating methodology for potato selections based on correlation of HS-SPME/GC-MS quantification of major flavor compounds and sensory panel tests. Flavor ratings will guide germplasm screening in the breeding process, which will enable the development of new cultivars with improved flavor.

Greg Hess. Understanding Resistance to Necrotic Viruses in CSU Potato Germplasm with Genetic Markers and Virus Detection by MALDI-MS Biotyping Read more

Katrina Zavislan. Trina is working on a Master of Agriculture degree. Her project focuses on home gardener evaluation of advanced selections from the Colorado Potato Breeding and Selection Program. Master gardeners and other volunteers in seven counties grow one potato selection/cultivar and collect data on the weather, pest and disease pressures, plant characteristics, and overall satisfaction with the potatoes. This data will provide a better understanding of the traits consumers value in potatoes for both gardening and consumption. Additionally, it will provide data to Cooperative Extension on potential areas for improvement in Master Gardener training.

Jeremy Logrono. Jeremy started a M.S. program in September. His research will focus on health attributes of potato.


Colorado cultivars and clonal selections accounted for 32% of the 9,357 acres of Colorado certified seed accepted in 2015. Advanced Colorado selections accounted for another 1% of the seed acreage.

Colorado State University releases accounted for 42% of the 52,800 acres planted in 2015 to fall potatoes in Colorado. Primary Colorado cultivars planted were Russet Norkotah-S3 (13%), Canela Russet (10%), Russet Norkotah-S8 (10%), Centennial Russet (5%), and Rio Grande Russet (2%).

Six of the top 20 russet cultivars grown for seed in the U.S. [Russet Norkotah-S3 (#7), Canela Russet (#11), Silverton Russet (#13), Centennial Russet (#14), Russet Norkotah-S8 (#15), Rio Grande Russet (#20)] in 2015 were developed by the Colorado program. For reds, Colorado Rose ranked #8. For chippers, Chipeta ranked #10. For colored-fleshed specialties, Mountain Rose ranked #2 and Purple Majesty ranked #1 among red- and purple-fleshed cultivars.


Collaborative Research

The Colorado Potato Breeding and Selection Program relies on the invaluable cooperation of several growers, shippers, research and extension personnel to assess the production, adaptability, marketability, and other characteristics of advanced selections.

https://www.morningagclips.com/researchers-develop-nutrient-rich-potato/?utm_content=articles&utm_campaign=NLCampaign&utm_source=Newsletter&utm_term=newsletteredition&utm_medium=email”>Read more

Collaborators and areas of collaboration are:

  • Rob Davidson (retired) and Andrew Houser – Disease Screening and Evaluation
  • Samuel Essah – Cultivar Specific Production Management
  • Adam Heuberger – Proteomics and Metabolomics
  • Sastry Jayanty – Cultivar Specific Postharvest Management and Physiology (including nutritional characteristics and health attributes)
  • Henry Thompson – Nutritional Characteristics and Health Attributes
  • Jorge Vivanco and Dayakar Badri – Nematode and Pink Rot Resistance
  • Andrew Houser – Potato Certification Service
  • Colorado Potato Growers
  • Colorado Certified Potato Growers’ Association
  • Southwest Regional Potato Breeding and Cultivar Development Cooperators (Colorado, Texas, and California). The overall objective of this research group is to develop and evaluate improved potato cultivars to meet the production, marketing, and producer/consumer needs of the Southwest U.S.
  • Western Regional Potato Breeding and Cultivar Development Cooperators
  • Other cooperating research/extension programs – several cooperators throughout the United States and Canada provide breeding material and opportunities to screen our germplasm under various growing conditions and disease pressures not usually available in Colorado.



We would like to express appreciation to the following individuals, groups, and organizations for their efforts on behalf of the Colorado Potato Breeding and Selection Program.

1. Financial and In-kind Support from the following is gratefully acknowledged:

  • Colorado Potato Industry – Area II and III
  • Colorado State University – Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station & the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture
  • USDA – National Institute of Food and Agriculture – Potato Research Award Number 2012-34141-20309
  • Potatoes USA – National Chip Processing Trial and National Fry Processing Trial
  • Stone’s Farm Supply – in-kind support

2. Colorado Potato Administration Committee, Area II – Research Committee (Members and At-large Members)
and Area III

3. Technical Support/Graduate Students*

Numerous temporary support personnel assist the project particularly during seed cutting, planting, and harvest. Thank you for all your hard work!

4. Research Collaborators – Colorado State University

 Rob Davidson Samuel Essah Sastry Jayanty Andrew Houser
 Henry Thompson Jorge Vivanco Dayakar Badri Adam Heuberger

5. Staff – San Luis Valley Research Center

Tyler Thompson Michelle Leckler Tim Poe
Ron Price Stan Price  Sharon Yust

6. Potato Certification Service

 Andrew Houser Rick Haslar (retired) Carolyn Keller
 Sarah Noller Sarah Shawcroft Teresa Almeida