February 2024
PAA recognizes scientists with honorary life membership By Potato Association of America

Honorary life membership in the Potato Association of America (PAA) recognizes individuals for outstanding contributions to the potato industry. It signifies a lifelong commitment and appreciation for work in advancing research, innovation and promotion within the realm of potato cultivation and utilization.

At the 2023 annual meeting, the PAA honored John Bamberg, Andrew Jensen, Loretta Mikitzel, Rich Novy and Carl Rosen.


Raised on a farm in northern Illinois, Bamberg developed an early interest in biology and agriculture. After an undergrad degree in agronomy, he joined Bob Hanneman’s program as a student at UW-Madison, getting a Ph.D. in the Department of Horticulture’s Plant Breeding and Genetics major.

John Bamberg

He worked his way up in the US Potato Genebank company from grad student to Hanneman’s assistant (1985-1989), to USDA/ARS project leader stationed at Sturgeon Bay. He has served many years as the representative for potatoes in the national genebank system (NPGS) and as the chair of the national potato crop advisory committee (CGC).

His professional association has centered on PAA. He’s attended all of the 41 annual meetings since 1983 and presented research at nearly every one. He has served as editor in chief for 17 years and published 83 of his 142 research papers in the American Journal of Potato Research.

PAA has been a good fit with the US Potato Genebank mission, since both aim to support all areas of research and breeding that contribute to potato crop improvement.

Bamberg and wife Ingrid have together attended 35 PAA meetings and participated in 11 germplasm collecting expeditions in the southwest U.S. and numerous research projects across the U.S. and in Peru.


Jensen grew up a city kid in the Hollywood District of Portland, Oregon. He was known throughout the neighborhood as the weird kid who crawled through the flowers and bushes in all the yards on the block looking at the insects, spiders, plants, worms and slugs.

Andy Jensen

Years later (in 1988), he found himself a student at Oregon State University, meeting with the chair of the Entomology Department, desperate for a summer job.

A connection was made, and Jensen completed a bachelor’s (1990) and Ph.D. (1996) in entomology. His graduate assistantship was paid for through potato insect management grants from the Oregon Potato Commission and USDA, the focus being aphids and the viruses they transmit to potato.

His graduate assistantship focused on aphids and the viruses they transmit to potatoes.

Jensen joined the Washington State Potato Commission as its first director of research in May 1999. In 2012, the state potato commissions of Idaho, Oregon and Washington established a formal cooperation in research coordination and funding, hiring him as sole staff person and naming it the Northwest Potato Research Consortium.

In 1999, Jensen became the first director of research the first director of research for the Washington State Potato Commission. In 2012, he was hired as the sole staff member for the newly formed Northwest Potato Research Consortium.

In addition to the core work of coordinating the research funding process, Jensen worked on other issues including pesticide registration, phytosanitary barriers, industry outreach and education, managing insect monitoring programs, and creating insect and disease identification cards. He served for 10 years as a board member of the Washington State Commission on Pesticide Registration.

Together with Bill Brewer and Pat Kole, Jensen was a founding board member and officer of the Potato Variety Management Institute. Following the retirement of Bob Thornton, Jensen took on co-chair duties of the Washington-Oregon Potato Conference general session.

Jensen was one a founding board member and an officer of the Potato Variety Management Institute. Jensen even took on co-chair duties of the Washington-Oregon Potato Conference general session.

In 1999, he was drawn into service of the PAA, first as member of the site selection committee, then chair. He was elected vice president and president (2014-15).

Since 1999, he has served PAA as a site selection committee member and chair, vice president and president.

Jensen has 65 peer-reviewed papers, just more than half of which are in potato pest management with the remainder being aphid systematics and natural history.


Mikitzel grew up in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in science in 1983 from the University of Guelph. In 1989, Mikitzel earned her doctorate in horticulture from the University of Alberta.

Loretta Mikitzel

She began her career at Washington State University as an assistant professor, then moved back to Canada in 1998 to become the provincial potato physiologist for the Province of New Brunswick. During her 20-year career in Canada, she conducted grower-based research on seed physiology, growth hormones and seed performance, and seedpiece storage and temperature treatments. Her extension work included the Total Potato Production Sites project that followed crop, pest and weather data for the potato growing regions of New Brunswick throughout the growing season. The program won the PAA Extension Project of the Year in 2014.

Mikitzel published numerous refereed articles, proceedings, abstracts, extension bulletins, magazine articles and industry reports and wrote a book chapter in The Potato: Botany, Production and Uses (2014) — Tuber Physiological Disorders.

Mikitzel served eight years as PAA secretary (2006-2013), vice president (2013-2014), president elect (2014-2015), president (2015-2016), and past president (2016-2017).


Novy spent the majority of his lifetime in the Pacific Northwest and 28 years in his potato breeding career in Aberdeen, Idaho.

Rich Novy

Novy attended Washington State University and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Horticulture (1986) at WSU. He pursued his graduate training at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he obtained his master’s (1988) and Ph.D. (1992) in Plant Breeding and Genetics under the guidance of Bob Hanneman and John Helgeson.

Novy returned to potato breeding at North Dakota State University. In 1999, he became a research geneticist with the Agricultural Research Service in Aberdeen, Idaho, where he worked with the Northwest (Tri-State) Potato Variety Development Program.

Novy’s research has emphasized potato germplasm and variety development with emphasis on incorporating disease and pest resistances, enhancing tuber quality attributes such as resistance to cold-induced sweetening and tuber greening, improving nutrient efficiencies and enhancing the nutritional qualities of potato for consumers. He has contributed to the release of 47 potato varieties, most notably Alturas, Clearwater Russet, Mountain Gem Russet and Teton Russet, as well as Becca Rose, named after his two daughters. He has presented his research at numerous academic and industry meetings and has authored/co-authored 98 peer-reviewed publications.

Novy has served as PAA secretary (1997), vice chair (1998), and chair (1999) of the Breeding and Genetics section, as well as on the Graduate Student Awards Committee. He served as director on the Executive Committee of the PAA (2013-15) and was chair of the PAA Site Selection Committee from 2014-2017. He also served the PAA as vice president (2017), president elect (2018) and president (2019). Since 2007, he has been a senior editor for the American Journal of Potato Research.


Rosen grew up in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. During a trip to Cork, Ireland, in 1971, Rosen decided to learn more about farming and spent eight months working on a dairy and potato farm on the outskirts of Cork.

Carl Rosen

After returning to the U.S. in 1972, he spent one year at Hobart and William Smith College, but transferred to Pennsylvania State University to learn more about farming and vegetable production. He earned a bachelor’s in Horticulture there in 1976 and a master’s in Horticulture in 1978. His research at Penn State focused on interactions between virus infection and plant nutrient composition in snap beans.

Accepted into a Ph.D. program at the University of California, Davis, Rosen pursued a degree in Soil Science. He conducted research on causes for potassium deficiency in prune tree orchards, a problem associated with both soil and tree fruiting characteristics. He received his Ph.D. in 1983 and was hired by the University of Minnesota in a joint extension and research appointment with the Departments of Soil Science and Horticultural Science.

Rosen’s research focused on the challenges of irrigated production, specifically nitrate leaching.  Multiyear studies that investigated nitrogen rate, timing and source were initiated in the early 1990s and showed that split applications, use of petiole analysis to time nitrogen applications through fertigation, and use of polymer-coated urea could reduce nitrate leaching on these vulnerable soils. Subsequent studies showed that better irrigation management and use of remote sensing of crop nitrogen status could also reduce nitrate leaching.

Rosen’s research showed that use of fumigation can improve nitrogen uptake and use efficiency. He has worked with several potato breeders to identify cultivars that may be more efficient in their nitrogen use.

Many of Rosen’s potato research results have been published in peer-reviewed journals and extension bulletins.

Rosen joined the Potato Association of America in 1993 and has been an active member ever since. He served as secretary (2003), vice chair (2004) and chair (2005) of the Production and Management Section.

2024 PAA annual meeting

The 2024 PAA annual meeting will be held in Portland, Oregon on July 21-25. It will be an exciting time for the industry and a chance to reconnect the potato research community. There will also be the presentation of new HLMs. More information and meeting registration can be found at: amr.swoogo.com/2024PAAAnnual.

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