May/June 2016
Spudwomen 2016

Silvia Rondon, Liz Sanders and Eugenia Banks contribue to the long-term health of the potato industry.

Liz Sanders: The Boss

“I’m incredibly bossy, so I think that makes me especially suited for management, Liz Sanders said, laughing at her self-assessment. “My job is to make sure that everything here runs beautifully.”

“Here” is the CSS Farms Colorado City, Colorado, greenhouse complex. Sanders has been managing the nuclear seed and tissue culture facility for the past five years.

Originally from Penfield, New York, she started as the operations manager in Colorado City, and three years ago was promoted to general manager.

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Eugenia Banks: Passion for Potatoes

When colleagues and farmers were asked to describe Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF) potato specialist Eugenia Banks, two words stood out: dedicated and passionate. In fact, one Norfolk County potato producer, Joe Lach, said that Banks “has probably had more of an effect on the potato industry worldwide than any other person.”

Banks started working for OMAF back in 1990, when it was known as the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). As she embarked on her new career path she set out a number of goals. Specifically, she wanted to learn new skills that would help Ontario farmers be more successful on the farm.

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Silvia Rondon: From the Altiplano to Hermiston

It’s a long way from the Andean altiplano of Puno, Peru, to the lower Columbia Basin of Hermiston, Oregon. For Silvia Rondon, it’s a journey that started in the rugged highlands – considered to be the origin of the potato – has taken her to Oregon and continues to unfold, with her research taking her back to the altiplano.

Though Rondon grew up in Peru’s capital, Lima, she remembers watching her grandmother plant potatoes on the family farm in Puno.

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