Matt Ruark named first Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Grower BCS Chair

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 a CALS faculty member working on potatoes and/or vegetables, and the environmental and economic impacts of these crops. The appointment runs from July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2028.  

The chair was established by the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) to help ensure the ongoing strength of UW’s potato research program and the university’s ability to support the state’s potato producers. The “BCS” in the name honors Larry Binning, David Curwen and John Schoenemann, UW professors who made outstanding contributions in these areas.

Ruark’s selection as chair recognizes his extensive work on nitrogen management. His research and extension efforts focus on optimizing nitrogen use in potato production and reducing nitrate leaching to groundwater. He has developed data sets which can be used to provide recommendations on nutrient management and identify future opportunities for improvement. Ruark is also actively involved in addressing sustainability and water quality goals in grain and dairy production systems, and he is 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 conducting nitrogen, fertility and soil health research on potatoes and processing vegetable crops for the benefit of the potato-vegetable industry — and we are excited to help support future discoveries and innovations from his program.”