Celebrating Spudwomen: Recognizing women of the industry

Women-of-the-Industry-06.17We dedicate this month’s Industry Spotlight to the women of the potato industry. Women have been important working partners throughout the development of agriculture but at the same time agriculture has been viewed as dominated by men.

In recognition of the increasing roles played by women with in the potato industry we wanted to highlight a few of the many women taking on leading roles in the industry.

Farmers such as Diane Hanson in Cornell, Michigan and Katie Neumiller-Floming in Savanna, Illinois are taking on leadership positions in the potato industry.

Researchers like Silvia Rondon in Hermiston, Oregon, Nina Zidack in Bozeman, Montana and Amanda Gevens in Madison, Wisconsin are just a few of the many women helping develop better varieties and management practices.

In Idaho, at the Kimberly Research and Extension Center, there are seven women involved in potato research.

Nora Olsen is a University of Idaho professor and Extension potato specialist. She is one of the country’s leading researchers in potato storage management.

Amber Moore is a University of Idaho associate professor and soil scientist. Yi Wang is a University of Idaho assistant professor and postharvest potato physiologist. Wang recently moved to Kimberly from Madison, Wisconsin.

Tina Brandt and Mary Jo Frazier are research support scientists. Brandt’s current research is in how to best store new varieties. Frazier specializes in sprout inhibitor research.

Lynn Woodell is an Extension support scientist. Her area of research is in potato diseases in storage and in the field. Sherilyn Peck is a graduate student finishing her studies at the Kimberly R&E center.

Spudman conducted individual video interviews with these women to find out why they chose careers in the potato industry, what kind of educational background led them to this career and any advice they would give to anyone looking for a career in the potato industry. Click on the hyperlink under individual names to view the video interview.

By Bill Schaefer

[Courtesy of "Spudman Magazine, May 2015]