First-Ever ‘BCS Chair’ Will Amp Up Potato Research

The potato industry is supporting a new grant that aims to bolster potato research at UW-Madison. The Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association gave funds to Extension Specialist and Soil Science Professor Matt Ruark, making him the first-ever BCS Chair.

BCS is an acronym that honors past UW professors who made great contributions to the potato industry: Larry Binning, David Curwen and John Schoenemann.

Ruark will get $85,000 per year over the next five years to support potato research. His plans for those dollars will amp up research across the state that looks to make growing potatoes more economically and environmentally viable.

Ruark’s selection as chair recognizes his work on nitrogen management. His research and efforts focus on optimizing nitrogen use in potato production and also reducing nitrate leaching to groundwater. He has developed data sets which provide tips on nutrient management and also identify future opportunities for improvement. Ruark is also involved in addressing sustainability and water quality goals in grain and dairy production systems. He is also the faculty advisor for the UW Discovery Farms program.

“We are pleased by the selection of Dr. Matt Ruark for this chair,” says Tamas Houlihan, WPVGA executive director. “Dr. Ruark has a long track record of doing nitrogen, fertility and soil health research on potatoes and processing vegetable crops for the benefit of the potato-vegetable industry. We are excited to help support future discoveries and also innovations from his program.”