The Washington State Potato Commission (WSPC) is announced the recent addition of Dr. Matthew Blua to their organization as the Director of Industry Outreach.

Matthew joins the WSPC as a Ph.D Entomologist who has spent most of his career in California. His role at the commission will be focused on providing technical advice and assistance to the industry in regards to pest and plant diagnostics, food safety and sustainability programs. He will oversee various research projects funded by the WSPC and coordinate efforts with other research institutions to develop key educational information. This informtion will be distributed to growers, shippers, processors and other industry members of the Washington state potato industry.

“Matthew will be a great addition, not only to the commission but to the entire potato industry throughout Washington state,” says Commission Executive Director, Chris Voigt. “Matthew has an impressive background as a research specialist who has worked face-to-face with growers on numerous insect and plant pathology issues. In his position he will have the chance to work directly with our farmers and assist them with everything from diagnostic support to audit preparation and many other aspects they face on their farms and in their fields.”

Recently, Matthew was involved with the California Avocado Commission researching a potentially devastating ambrosia beetle that is new to the industry. Throughout his career, he also has been a fixed term faculty member at Penn State University and a Research Scientist at the University of California. Matthew owned a produce farm where he grew a wide range of products that he sold at his roadside stand, to local restaurants and food cooperatives.

“I have a deep appreciation and regard for the agriculture,” said Blua. “I look forward to bringing my experience as a scientist and farmer to Washington potato growers through the WSPC. I invite input from the potato growing community regarding their needs and desires for this position.”