Vegetable pathologist Walter Stevenson has been inducted into the the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Associations Hall of Fame for his lifetime achievement in the development of the state’s potato industry.
Stevenson was raised in New York and received his B.S. degree in 1968 from Cornell University and his Ph.D. degree in 1972 in plant pathology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He began his professional career in extension plant pathology as a faculty member at Purdue University in 1972. In 1979, he returned to Wisconsin where he was appointed as vegetable pathologist.
For the past 28 years his research and extension work has covered a wide array of crops in the state including potato, snap beans, peas, carrots, onions and mint developing comprehensive disease management programs for these crops. Among Walt’s many accomplishments is the development of a forecasting model for the early blight disease of potato. The combination of this model with refined models for late blight forecasting and crop management models contributed by other members of the UW extension potato and vegetable team led to the release of a succession of software packages for grower and IPM consultant use that included the ‘Potato Disease Management,’ ‘Potato Crop Management’ and ‘Wisdom’ software.
His research has contributed to numerous emergency and local fungicide labels, Experimental Use Permits and the early national registration of important disease management tools for potato and vegetable crops.
Walt also served on and advised numerous committees with the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association, Midwest Food Processors Association, Wisconsin Muck Growers’ Association, Wisconsin Mint Board and other industry groups. During the course of his career he has made over 1,500 presentations at over 1,200 meetings attended by close to 100,000 growers and industry representatives.