1992 Honorary Life Member Selections


James E. Bryan was born at Gooding, Idaho on March 13, 1930. Within months, Jim began a lifelong love affair with potatoes, this being his first solid food. He entered the University of Idaho in 1948. His schooling was interrupted by the Korean conflict and he spent two years in the U.S. Army. After returning to the University, Jim received both his B.S. and M.S. degrees in agricultural education in 1956. He taught vocational agriculture for four years before beginning his formal potato career as Area Potato Extension Specialist with the University of Idaho, located in Bingham County.

In 1966, Jim joined forces with Dr. Richard L. Sawyer and the North Carolina State University (NCSU) Potato Program in Peru, building a seed program in the country of origin of potatoes. This was the beginning of what is today a 25-year relationship with Peru, dedicated to the promotion of potato cultivation throughout the world. When the NCSU program ended in 1972, Jim moved to the newly created International Potato Center (CIP) in Lima as Seed Production Specialist. At CIP he has had a leadership role in all aspects of seed production. His work on rapid multiplication of potatoes has made an impact on the seed programs of many countries. Rapid multiplication methods greatly reduce the number of multiplications needed to produce seed potatoes and are especially important in areas with high aphid vector pressure.

Aside from Peru, Jim has had vast experience worldwide. He has provided training and technical assistance to scientists, students, and private enterprises in over 30 countries. At CIP he is known by many as”Mr. Potato” for his detailed knowledge on utilization of CIP germplasm in developing countries. His data-base and germplasm distribution services are used widely by CIP scientists and by national programs and Universities in developed and developing countries. These services are considered by many potato workers as the life-line for improving potato production. In his “spare time,” Jim supervises CIP’s quarantine program. This program is now considered to meet the highest international standards, and is accepted by all CIP’s partners.

Since 1961 Jim has been an active PAA member, serving as Director of the Association and Chairman of the Membership and International Relations Committees, as well as being active in the Certification Section.

Jim and his wife Jeanne have three daughters and a son. Because of his dedication to potatoes and his contribution to helping developing countries feed their populations, it is an honor and a privilege to present James E. Bryan for Honorary Life Membership in The Potato Association of America.

K.V. Raman, Nominator


Henri Genereux was born on November 23, 1911 at St. Cydlle, Quebec. Having completed his classical and agronomic studies, he received his B.A. and B.Sc. degrees from Laval University in 1934 and 1937, respectively. In 1940, he received a M.Sc. degree from MacDonald College of McGill University with a thesis on the common scab of potatoes.

Monsieur Genereux spent his entire professional career working on potato protection, first with the Quebec Plant Protection Service from 1940 to 1948, then with the Canada Department of Agriculture until his retirement in 1976. Monsieur Genereux worked on all aspects of potato protection. His work on the epidemiology and control of late blight and the role of aphids in the spread of virus diseases laid the basis for the establishment of the Quebec Elite Seed Farm at Manicouagan, an area where peach aphid flights are rare, as is the occurrence of the late blight organism. For thirteen years, Monsieur Genereux was the coordinator of the potato variety and seedling trials in Quebec. The annual reports from these trials were of great benefit to potato specialists, extension workers and growers alike.

His most outstanding contribution in the area of potato pathology was probably in the area of bacterial ring rot. Alone or in collaboration with other scientists, he published numerous scientific as well as technical articles on the subject, as well as contributing to the Compendium of Potato Diseases published by the American Phytopathological Society. His wealth of knowledge on the subject and his straightforward presentations led to his being a frequent invited speaker across Canada and in the USA. His contribution to the training of Canadian Seed Inspectors and extension people as regards recognition of the symptoms of bacterial ring rot and other potato diseases is inestimable.

Monsieur Genereux was an active member of The Potato Association of America, the American and Canadian Phytopathological Societies, the Quebec Society for the Protection of Plants as well as the Ordre des Agronomes du Quebec, who honored him with the prestigious “Commandeur de I’Ordre du Merite Agronomique” in 1972.

One could not find a more fitting adjective to describe Henri Genereux than the one he already bears—genereux/generous! This word characterizes the quintessence of Henri Genereux, both professionally and personally. With his characteristic humility and consistent good humour, this distinguished and cultured man unstintingly shared his vast knowledge with all who came in contact with him. He was the mentor of an entire generation of “potato people” in Quebec, including researchers, extension workers and seed potato inspectors.

For his contribution and devotion to the potato industry of Canada and Quebec, it is an honor and a privilege to present Henri Genereux for Honorary Life Membership in The Potato Association of America.

Barbara Otrysko, Nominator


Dr. Kenneth W. Knutson was born on February 11, 1932 in Williams, Minnesota. He was raised on the family farm along with his three brothers and five sisters. Ken graduated from Williams High School in 1950 and, except for a brief period during 1958 when he served in the U.S. Army Reserve, he attended the University of Minnesota from 1950-60. He obtained a B.S. degree in Agricultural Education in 1954 and continued on to complete a M.S. and Ph.D. in Plant Pathology in 1956 and 1960, respectively.

After graduation, Ken accepted a position as Assistant Plant Pathologist with the University of Idaho at Aberdeen. Here he worked on a variety of potato research projects. In 1964 he became Extension Potato Specialist with Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado and the manager of the Colorado Potato Certification Service. The past 28 years have been spent at Colorado State fulfilling the obligations of these positions. Ken recently moved from the manager’s role with the seed program, but only after a 25-year tenure managing one of the most successful seed potato programs in North America. He is currently the potato program coordinator for Colorado.

Ken’s professional career has focused on certified seed potato programs, both in Colorado and across North America. He has conducted a wide range of research on seed related problems. He was among the first to verify the effectiveness of stem cutting as a means to eliminate the blackleg bacteria from seed stocks. Colorado’s seed growers accepted a full limited generation, tissue culture based program in 1988 and have not looked back since. In addition, he has been involved with research and extension programs on monitoring recontamination of field grown tissue culture stocks, evaluation of integrated pest management strategies to control potato leafroll virus in certified seed, development of rapid multiplication methods involving tissue culture propagation, and growth analysis of tissue culture plantlets transplanted to the field. He has been active in teaching other people about potatoes, functioning as an advisor or committee member to over 30 graduate students at Colorado State. Ken has published numerous papers in potato journals and popular magazines. He received the National Potato Council–Researcher of the Year in 1991.

Ken’s support of The Potato Association of America started in 1955 when he became a member. He was instrumental in helping establish the certification section of the PAA in 1969. He has served as the chairman of the section, a member of the executive committee and on many special committees involved with association business. Ken was a member of the original organizing committee which developed the North American Seed Potato Seminar in cooperation with the National Potato Council and was recognized for his efforts with a special award for service presented during the 1985 seminar.

Ken’s work and communication with seed growers across the United States and Canada has been one of his highest priorities. He is distinguished by always having the best interests of the overall potato industry at heart and is recognized by his peers for this view. Ken has worked with literally hundreds of people during his career and is widely acknowledged as an expert in seed potato related matters. He has put forth tremendous efforts as an Extension Seed Potato Specialist which have been of great benefit to Colorado’s potato industry.

Ken and his wife, Audrey, have two children, both of whom are married and living in Denver. They enjoy traveling and make the effort to attend as many national and international meetings as possible. Ken has made many professional contributions to the potato industry over the past three decades and, as such, we are honored and gratified to present Dr. Kenneth W. Knutson for honorary life membership in The Potato Association of America.

Gary D. Franc, Nominator


It probably was a perfectly natural thing for Wallace and Harrison McCain to return to their hometown of Florenceville, N.B. when they were ready to establish a business of their own. It was 1956, and each had completed university and had worked in sales and management for other employers.

There had been McCains in the Florenceville area since the 1830’s. Their father operated a potato farm and a small seed export firm. Business was a frequent topic around the family dinner table. What is remarkable about this story, is the phenomenal growth that has seen McCain Foods Ltd. become a truly multinational food processor, the world’s largest manufacturer of frozen potato products, and a significant influence on “things potato” worldwide.

In 1957, the first year of operation, thirty employees produced $152,000 worth of frozen French fries and frozen peas in the Florenceville facility. From this modest beginning, McCain Foods today has 12,500 employees worldwide and manufactures in Canada from facilities in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta; in the United States from facilities in Maine, New Jersey, Itlinois, South Dakota, Washington and California; in Europe from facilities in England, Scotland, Holland, Belgium, France and Spain; in Australia from facilities in Victoria and Tasmania; and from its”l]maru plant in New Zealand. Sales organizations are also based in Germany, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Puerto Rico and the Persian Gulf. Frozen potato products remain the core business. However, in some markets McCain produces a full line of frozen vegetables, entre6s, pizza, desserts and concentrated juices. They are the world’s largest producer of frozen potato products, purchasing in excess of 2.5 million tons of potatoes yearly. Total sales for 1990 exceeded $2.5 billion. More than 75 percent of McCain Food’s total sales are achieved outside of Canada through direct investments and exports. Harrison and Wallace McCain have from the beginning retained the positions of Chairman and President. The company remains to this day entirely family owned.

McCain Foods has long demonstrated an appreciation of the nature and value of potato research and technology development.

• The first recorded contact with the Agriculture Canada Research Station in Fredericton came in 1958, the second year of operation. That Station, together with Dr. Ora Smith of Cornell University, was asked to investigate a problem related to after-cooking darkening.

• In 1960 McCain Foods joined with three research institutions to establish a major project to look at texture problems in French fries manufactured from potatoes grown in the Northeast. By 1965, this research group had outlined field production and processing criteria that are the standard of eastern French fry production today. The Management Profile that has become the trademark of technology transfer for McCain worldwide has an outgrowth of this research project.

• The McCain Research Farm in New Brunswick was established in 1974 to generate specialized crop management information related to the production of potatoes for processing. Subsequently, similar Research Farms were established in England, Holland and France.

• McCain Foods played the key role in the evaluation of the commercial potential of the variety Shepody, in its introduction into many production areas worldwide, and in the establishment of Shepody with major food service customers as a source of raw material for quality French fries. • In order to meet McDonald French fry specifications, in 1986 McCain initiated a program to transfer to Europe seed stocks of Russet Burbank and Shepody, and to, as required, develop or transfer the technology necessary to grow these varieties under local conditions. Europe had little previous experience with North American type varieties, seed cutting, disease problems associated with these varieties, or with the harvesting, handling and storage of large tubers. For five years the Research Farms worked to develop the requisite management profiles. By 1991, significant commercial acreages of these two varieties were in production in four European countries.

• McCain Foods developed the production technology and was the first to successfully market the high solids, low fat, ovenable French fry for the retail market. The McCain brand dominates that retail market segment in most countries where they have operations.

McCain Foods has been a Sustaining Member of The PAA since 1962, and has been the premiere industry supporter of several annual meetings. The company has been a Sustaining Member of the European Association for Potato Research since 1970.

Others have chosen to recognize the achievements of these two brothers:- Wallace has been granted honourary degrees by Mount Allison University and the University of King’s College and is a Director of the Royal Bank; while Harrison has been granted honourary degrees by the University of New Brunswick, Acadia University and MacDonald College of McGill, is a Director of the Bank of Nova Scotia and a Member of the Order of Canada.

In recognition of the role of McCain Foods Ltd. in creating and developing markets for the potato worldwide—

In recognition of their understanding of the role of new technologies in the efficient production, under environmentally friendly conditions, of quality processing potatoes–

and In recognition of the support given to The Potato Association of America and the endeavors of many of the Association’s individual members–

I am pleased to present G. Wallace F. McCain and H. Harrison McCain for Honourary Life Memberships in The Potato Association of America.

Donald A. Young, Nominator