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Dr. David Holm

Dave Holm

Dr. David Holm was born in Southeast Idaho and raised on a family farm in Bingham County.  Potatoes, grain, and alfalfa were the primary crops raised.  He credits his Dad and Grandfather with instilling in him an interest in potatoes, and his 7th grade science teacher with helping him decide on a career in science when he challenged the class to start thinking about what they wanted to do for a living.

Dr. Holm received his B.S. (Plant Science – 1972) and M.S. (Plant Science – 1974) from the University of Idaho and his Ph.D. (Horticultural Science – 1977) from the University of Minnesota.  Dave began his professional career in 1978 at Colorado State University.  He is currently a Professor in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at Colorado State University located at the San Luis Valley Research Center, where he also served as Superintendent from 1983-1997.

Dave’s principal research responsibilities include the breeding and selection of new potato cultivars through traditional hybridization methods.  Development of seed stocks of advanced selections for grower evaluation and seed increase is also an integral part of his program. He maintains close interaction with various research, extension, and production segments of the potato industry in Colorado and other major potato production areas of the U.S. He considers these relationships critical to the release and successful adoption of new cultivars.

In 1979, he initiated the Colorado Potato Breeding and Selection Program, which previously had been solely a selection program receiving seedling tubers from other programs.  During Dave’s tenure, 22 cultivars have been released. He has cooperated with other universities, the USDA-ARS, and Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada in the release of another 18 cultivars. He also has developed five clonal selections of Sangre and Russet Norkotah.

Colorado cultivars and clonal selections accounted for 40% of the 10,938 acres of Colorado certified seed accepted for certification in 2016.  On the national level, five of the top 20 russet cultivars grown for seed in the U.S. in 2016 were developed by the Colorado program. For reds, Sangre and Colorado Rose ranked #6 and #8 respectively.  For chippers, Chipeta ranked #8. For colored-fleshed specialties, Purple Majesty and Mountain Rose both ranked #1 for red- and purple-fleshed cultivars, respectively.

Dave is a member of several professional societies and committees.  These include:  Potato Association of America, European Association for Potato Research, American Society for Horticultural Science, WERA027 (Western Regional Coordinating Committee for Potato Variety Development), Southwest Regional Potato Cultivar Development Working Group, and NRSP-6 ‘US Potato Genebank’ Technical Committee – Western Region Representative.

Dave’s honors and awards are many, including: Alpha Zeta (1970), Agronomy Student Award (1971), Phi Sigma Society (1971), Sigma Xi (1978), Gamma Sigma Delta (1978), Gamma Sigma Delta Faculty Research Award of Merit (2000), Colorado State University Technology Transfer Award (2010), Potato Association of America Honorary Life Membership (2010), and Colorado State University College of Agricultural Sciences Team Research Award (2013).

To contact Dr. David Holm, please email him at spudmkr@colostate.edu.  For more information on the Colorado Potato Breeding and Selection Program visit potatoes.colostate.edu/potato-breeding/.

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