Roberta (Robin) Spitko, Plant Pathologist, and owner of new England Fruit Consultants has consistently been a pioneer and groundbreaker throughout her career. She was the first woman to receive a Ph.D. in plant pathology from University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Upon completion of her degree in 1981, she and her partner, Glenn Morin, Entomologist, founded New England Fruit Consultants, an independent agricultural-consulting firm based in western Massachusetts. Her responsibilities as founder and owner of NEFCON have involved diverse and comprehensive work in the agricultural arena. New England Fruit Consultants offers a full range of services to the commercial tree fruit industry in the Northeast. In addition to directing regional Integrated Pest Management delivery to commercial tree fruit producers, Robin’s responsibilities have included domestic and international research investigations with the agricultural chemical industry and universities and project management from protocol design through market niche identification for traditional and organic agrichemicals. Robin is also experienced in agricultural litigation as an expert witness, having provided expert testimony in several cases that were resolved favorably due to her expertise.
Profile: Dr. Robin Spitko
In addition to her love of plants, science, and field biology in particular, Robin is passionate about her many diverse interests including music, literature, politics, travel and cooking, and enjoys sharing these passions with friends and family. Upon arriving in the Pioneer Valley to attend graduate school at UMASS, Amherst, in 1975, she set down roots in nearby Montague, and has happily spent the past 40 years appreciating the good fortune that a career as an independent plant pathologist in western Massachusetts has brought her.
In addition to direct NEFCON responsibilities, Robin was also responsible for coordination and implementation of Washington D.C. legislative affairs for the National Alliance of Independent Crop Consultants (NAICC) from 1996 through 2003 as chair of the Government Affairs Committee. She was reappointed as committee Chair by 7 consecutive NAICC presidents due to her ability to work well with key persons in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture on a wide range of issues. Her responsibilities have included working with Federal officials on policy issues for independent crop consultants and researchers, monitoring and commenting on proposed regulations, and presenting seminars and testimony on various issues affecting the crop consulting profession. Robin was selected as Crop Consultant of the Year in 2000 by the NAICC and BASF Corporation for her professionalism and dedication to the crop consulting profession.