The Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers Association is pleased to present a Life Membership to Kathleen Demchak. Life Membership is an honor given by the Board of Directors to persons who have a longstanding record of service and dedication to the Association. In 2013, Kathy received the PVGA Annual Award for her service to Pennsylvania growers. She has rightfully gained the respect and confidence of the berry growers in Pennsylvania and her fellow berry researchers across the nation for her knowledge, dedication and hard work on their behalf.
Kathy is a native of Clearfield County and majored in Horticulture at Penn State. She then went on to pursue a Master of Science degree at Virginia Tech where she worked with Dr. Ronald Morse on strip mine soil reclamation for vegetable crops. Kathy then returned to Penn State in 1983 to work as a Research Aide in plant nutrition with Dr. Cyril Smith. She spent several summers traveling all over Pennsylvania planting and harvesting Dr. Smith’s extensive vegetable nutrition trials.In 1991, Demchak became a Research Associate working in the area of small fruits with Dr. Barbara Goulart. When Dr. Goulart left Penn State in 1998, she was hired as an Extension Associate and for the past 22 years she has led the Penn State small fruit extension program.
She performs applied research on a broad range of topics involving strawberries, brambles, and blueberries to support her extension activities. Kathy is a regular contributor to Penn State’s Vegetable and Small Fruit Gazette and she coordinates the educational small fruit program for the Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention. She has developed a national reputation by coordinating the writing and the revision of the Mid-Atlantic Berry Guide and she is a recognized authority on berry crop production in high tunnels. Currently she is a member of the spotted wing drosophila IPM working group, and she was a principal investigator on a Northeast IPM Center project to monitor spotted wing drosophila. She was also one of the lead investigators in a 5-year multi-state SCRI project that studied the feasibility of the protected production of berry crops.
Kathy, and her husband live in Port Matilda. She and her two sons were veteran volunteers at the PVGA Ag Progress Days booth each year.