Spear awarded $10,000 NPC scholarship

Rhett Spear, a horticulture Ph.D. student at Washington State University, has been awarded the National Potato Council’s 2013-2014 academic scholarship.

Spear’s graduate research is focused on identifying new fresh-pack varieties as alternatives to the Russet Norkotah, the leading fresh-pack variety that is susceptible to Potato Virus Y.

In 2011 Spear initiated a three-year variety trial to evaluate the economic value, bruise resistance, storability and overall consumer preference of 12 fresh-pack varieties.

Spear also initiated reduced-input trials to identify new varieties that use fewer resources than traditional processing and fresh-pack varieties.

Spear’s graduate school adviser, Mark Pavek, was awarded the NPC scholarship in 2002.

Originally posted Monday, Aug. 19, 2013