The Berry and Potato Pathology (BPP) program at the WSU Mount Vernon Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center pivots on two commodity crops: highbush blueberry and potato.
Highbush blueberry production in Washington has more than doubled in the past decade. Washington now leads the nation producing 27% of U.S. blueberries generating a revenue of $228 million (USD).
Similar to blueberries, another crop of economic significance in northwest Washington is potato. Fresh market potatoes are the most widely grown economical crop in Skagit County—and northwest Washington has a designated seed potato isolation district ensuring the production of superior quality seed potatoes.
The mild maritime climate in this region—coupled with new production and pest management issues—pose unique challenges to both blueberry and potato growers in raising a profitable crop. The BPP program focuses on better understanding the biology and epidemiology of diseases affecting blueberry and potato crops with the goal of developing research-based management strategies.