Potatoes in Canada

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Eugenia Banks receives OFVGA Award of Merit

Feb. 3, 2016, Ontario – Eugenia Banks recently received the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers' Association (OFVGA) 2016 Award of Merit at the OFVGA annual general meeting in January.

Banks hails from Santiago, Chile where she completed her bachelor of science degree at the University of Chile. She studied further at the University of Guelph where she completed her masters and PhD. Her connection to the potato industry started in 1990, when she began working for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) as a potato specialist.

In those years, Banks made herself available to growers whenever needed, tirelessly identifying problems with unique solutions. Her first battle was against the Colorado potato beetle, which was resistant to all pesticides that were registered to control it. For five years, Banks and potato growers would use propane flamers, vacuums, and plastic line trenches to control the pest into control by 1995. What started as very little knowledge of the potato industry grew exponentially over the years with dedication, commitment, and a desire to learn. Today, Banks is a respected potato expert. Her most successful endeavours include the evaluation of new potato varieties through practical field trials, tackling the aggressive strain of late blight that originally caused the Irish Famine, scout training days, and the Ontario Potato Conference held annually.

“Each year brought new challenges, but by working together we got positive results,” Banks said of her work with farmers in a press release. “Ontario potato growers are knowledgeable, innovative, hard working, and resilient. I will share this award with them.”