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


Katie Gaudreau
Katie is originally from Saginaw, MI. She received a B.S. from Central Michigan University (2005) in Business Administration. After relocating to Colorado she earned a Colorado Master Gardener certification from Boulder County CSU Extension (2014) and volunteered with the program for several years. Katie received a Certificate of Horticulture from Front Range Community College (2015), and then continued on to Colorado State University to earn a B.S. in Horticulture (2017). From 2017-2018 she worked in organic greenhouse tomato production for Dooley Farms.




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 Read more

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. Using Participatory Plant Breeding Strategies to Obtain Gardener Feedback in a Potato Breeding Program Read more

Jeremy Logrono.  Jeremy is working on a Master of Science degree in Horticulture in the Potato Breeding and Selection program. His project is focused on screening carotenoids in potato germplasm using the new technology of Rapid Evaporative Ionization Mass Spectrometry (REIMS)/iknife and using the HPLC analytical method. Evaluating the potential of REIMS/iknife to screen carotenoids may improve the efficiency and precision of selecting high carotenoid potato lines. He also aims to study the biological functions of the role of high carotenoids in potatoes to the human health.


Colorado cultivars and clonal selections accounted for 40% of the 9,712 acres of Colorado certified seed accepted in 2017. Advanced Colorado selections accounted for another 2% of the seed acreage.

Colorado State University releases accounted for 37% of the 51,900 acres planted in 2017 to fall potatoes in Colorado. Primary Colorado cultivars planted were Russet Norkotah-S3 (7.5%), Canela Russet (10.4%), Russet Norkotah-S8 (10.4%), Centennial Russet (4.3%), and Rio Grande Russet (4.2%).

Five of the top 20 russet cultivars grown for seed in the U.S. [Canela Russet (#16), Silverton Russet (#9), Centennial Russet (#10), Rio Grande Russet (#15), Mesa Russet (#16)] in 2017 were developed by the Colorado program. Nineteen percent of the Russet Norkotah acreage (including line selections) was attributed to Colorado Russet Norkotah Selections 3 and 8. For reds, Sangre and  Colorado Rose ranked #6 and #9 respectively. For colored-fleshed specialties, Purple Majesty and Mountain Rose ranked #1 among red- and purple-fleshed cultivars respectively.


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:



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 COL0-2017-04010
  • 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

 Andrew Houser Samuel Essah Sastry Jayanty
 Amy Charkowski Adam Heuberger Michelle Foster

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 Jeff Shawcroft
 Sarah Noller Sarah Shawcroft Teresa Almeida