Matt Ruark, professor and extension specialist in the UW–Madison Department of Soil Science, has been named the inaugural recipient of the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Grower BCS Chair at the UW–Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. This new chair is designed to bolster the research program of CALS faculty working on potatoes and/or vegetables, and the environmental as well as economic impacts of these crops. The appointment runs from July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2028.
The chair was created by the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) to help ensure the ongoing strength of UW’s potato research program. The “BCS” in the name honors Larry Binning, David Curwen and also John Schoenemann. They were UW professors who made great contributions in these areas.
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.”