April 2016
Spudman 7: Larry Hiller

Larry Hiller received a B.S. in ag education from Iowa State University (ISU). He spent nine months in the Philippines in the 4-H International Farm Youth Exchange program, returned to ISU and received an M.S. in horticulture. This led to four years in Uruguay on the ISU/U.S. Agency for International Development’s Alliance for Progress technical agricultural development project.


He earned a Ph.D. in vegetable crops from Cornell University. From this resulted the greatest opportunity and challenge – a research and teaching position in the Department of Horticulture at Washington State University (WSU).

Hiller retired in December 2008 after 34 years at WSU, where he had an active potato and vegetable crop physiology research program and teaching appointment.

Larry and his wife, Jan, have been married 53 years. They have two children and two grandchildren.

1. What are the best words of advice you’ve received?

Don’t try to handle all the different ships docked at the wharf.

Be quite sure to do what you said you were planning to do and be very clear when you do make changes and exceptions.

View all new challenges as positive opportunities and any unreasonable or difficult expectations not as impossible but as larger challenges.

2. What are your goals for the next 12 months?

Begin new exercise routines (such as water aerobics) and walk more.

Visit friends, family and new areas of interest = travel more with my wife, Jan.

Reduce the level of volunteer workload.

3. What do you do to relax?

Read, walk with my wife, learn new computer techniques and play hand bells.

4. What would you like to be your lasting legacy?

That I was a memorable instructor and that students would say that I gave them something of value to their life/ occupation – that I had a positive impact on them.

That I was a personable and honorable individual who cared for others, respected their opinions and ideas and would always listen.

5. What job or work would you have pursued if you had not become involved in the potato industry?

My original objective was to be a high school vocational agriculture instructor or county Extension director. But then I had a wonderful opportunity to live nine months in the Philippines in the 4-H International Farm Youth Exchange program, which led to the four years in Uruguay, and this changed my perspectives to the university level.

Being a farm boy, I would have done anything to stay in agriculture, or perhaps counseling.

6. What are three things on your bucket list/must do list?

1) Revisit Scotland and then Australia and New Zealand.

2) Continue spending more time with family and friends.

3) Cruise, travel with my wife and visit many historical and natural wonders within the United States.

7. What is the one truth you have learned about the potato industry?

That even though there is competition in the potato industry and scientific community (let’s hope and pray that this will always be able to continue) there is still a very strong commitment and feeling of family! For me this is phenomenal. The best component of the greater potato community is its people!

75 Applewood Dr. Ste. A
P.O. Box 128
Sparta, MI 49345


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