(03/24/23) BATON ROUGE, La. — Arthur Villordon, a researcher at the LSU AgCenter Sweet Potato Research Station in Chase, has received this year’s National Sweet Potato Impact Award for his accomplishments and contributions to the sweet potato industry.
This award was presented recently at the annual meeting of the National Sweet Potato Collaborators Group. It recognizes scientists for their discoveries, techniques, inventions or materials that increase yield, improve quality, value-added food products, food safety or environmental quality.
Villordon said he has been involved in growing sweet potato since he was a child working in his mom’s garden.
“My mom showed me how to plant sweet potatoes when I was in third or fourth grade,” he said. “And I have been working with them since.”
Villordon said the sweet potato is a challenging crop to work with because it can’t be seen until harvest.
“It’s unlike corn or wheat, where you see the grains developing over time,” he said. “With those crops, you can have an idea of what your harvest will be.”
Villordon said one of the most exciting findings of his research has been determining which sweet potato roots will become storage roots versus sweet potatoes to be sold on the market.
It takes 120 days from planting to harvest, so having an idea of the crop’s potential takes a lot of the suspense out of the grower’s life.
“What we have found is that a determination can be made at the 15-day mark after planting,” he said. “Our studies show that inputs such as fertilizer and water can make a difference in the number of storage roots produced during that 15-day window.”
The sweet potato impact award consists of a plaque and a $500 honorarium supported by the Lamb Weston Potato Company and the National Sweet Potato Collaborators Group.
Arthur Villordon, LSU AgCenter sweet potato researcher, was presented the National Sweet Potato Impact Award at this year’s annual meeting of the National Sweet Potato Collaborators Group in Wilmington, North Carolina. Pictured with Villordon are Mark Shankle, Impact Award Committee chair, and Michelle McHargue, Lamb Weston senior research scientist. Photo by Tara Smith/LSU AgCenter
Arthur Villordon, LSU AgCenter sweet potato researcher, was presented the National Sweet Potato Impact award at this year’s annual meeting of the National Sweet Potato Collaborators Group in Wilmington, North Carolina. Here Villordon discusses his research to increase yield. LSU AgCenter file photo
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture