March 2015

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He said that he has a lot of on the job "windshield time," traveling between the two states. He provides growers with information on late blight model forecast and early blight. Robinson helps disseminate the information on late blight from his web page and also issues text alerts and uses social media to get the information to growers as fast and easily as possible. He oversees an aphid trapping network and aphid alert system for seed growers to manage their crops accordingly. Robinson grew up in the southwest corner of Idaho, in the farming community of Parma. It's an area where you'll find potatoes, onions, hops, stone fruit and grapes growing in adjacent fields. "My great-grandfather grew potatoes but then he got out of potatoes and started growing apples," Robinson said. His first farm job was moving irrigation pipe. When he got older he started working at the Parma Research and Extension Center, where he assisted Craig Baird, an entomologist at the center. "I got exposed, basically, doing research work in potatoes with him," Robinson said. He also worked with Brad Geary, a plant pathologist for one summer at the center. Following high school he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in agronomy at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. He earned his master's and Ph.D. at Purdue University, completing his Ph.D. in 2012. "I wanted to go to the Midwest to see agriculture from a different perspective," Robinson said. At Purdue he did a lot of work with soybeans. He began his present job as soon as he completed his doctorate. "When I saw the job opening, I thought, 'oh, that would be a lot of fun to work in potatoes'," Robinson said. "I really enjoy working in the potato industry. It's a great industry." Robinson said that the potato researchers at both NDSU and Minnesota have been very supportive, as have the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association. "It's a really good group of people I get to work with," he said. "I'm really fortunate. Robinson and his wife, Michelle, have four children with their fourth being born on February 3. S The Spudman Emerging Leader award is designed to recognize potato industry leaders under the age of 35 who are actively promoting the growth of the potato industry; from growers and shippers to researchers and marketers. www.spudman.com • March 2015 23

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