OSGATA is excited to announce that Seed Matters, an initiative of the Clif Bar Family Foundation has awarded the first ever fellowships in organic plant breeding in United States history. The foundation is funding three Ph.D students in organic plant breeding at two public land grant universities: Washington State University and University of Wisconsin.
Land grant universities have historically led the way in innovation in agriculture, working with farmers to develop regional varieties for the diverse needs of rural communities. However, with increased seed concentration and the adoption of intellectual property rights, we’ve witnessed a departure from classical breeding and the innovation needed for organic systems. These fellowships represent an important step toward reinvigorating public seed research and education. In addition to providing organic farmers with new varieties of seed adapted to organic systems, these fellowships will cultivate the next generation of leadership in organic research, education, and entrepreneurship.
As Stephen Jones, Director of director of Mount Vernon Research and Extension Center states, “The true advances in agriculture continue to come from classical plant breeding. Peel back all the hype and it’s the breeders in the field working with farmers and plants that is moving us forward. Doing this kind of work requires very bright graduate students trained in the classical and modern approaches to plant breeding. Funding this training requires forward looking organizations such as Clif Bar Family Foundation.”
Read the full press release at Seed Matters.