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the foundation
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Plant breeding:
the foundation
of agriculture

Plant Breeding Coordinating Committee

Subcommittee - Competitiveness, Sustainability and Quality of Life in Rural America  

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This is the report from the subcommittee on a Excellence in Science and Technology. It met as part of the Plant Breeding Coordinating Committee in Des Moines, Iowa on June 16-18, 2008.

This report was prepared by: Karen Moldenhauer

  • Officers
    • Keith Woeste, Chair (
    • Sterling Blanche, Vice Chair (
    • Karen Moldenhauer, Secretary (

Focus of group was on rural development, since Competitiveness and Sustainability are aspects of other groups.

Who cares about rural development?
    Public breeders doesn’t think about it much
    NGOs might
NGOs include: American Chestnut Society, Native Plants Incorporated, Seed Savers, and Organic Breeders and Groups are often interested in their respective communities.
Private sector breeders, are always looking for away to improve farm gate sales so that farmers stay in the area, strictly money driven, but they do things to enhance the communities in which they have stations. Private companies are also local employers, and leasers of plot land.

The white paper needs to specifically address the ways in which private companies, public breeders, and NGOs work within a community and contribute to rural development. Often addressed more in horticultural crops (strawberries, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, grapes etc.).

Examples: Sweet corn with BT gene developed by Alabama A&M which is distributed to public. Community garden in Marion Arkansas. 

Participatory plant breeding might also improve rural development.

Develop a plan to contact NGO’s invite them to partner with us, they might also support the idea that public institutions need strong plant breeding training, help and obtain funding. Groups to partner with: Delta Council, and Tom Dorr undersecretary for rural development might have ideas.
We need to educate ourselves how we are specifically affecting rural America. What is rural development? What does rural development mean, USDA tends to focus on delivery of health care, internet access, rural housing, minority farmers, farm and safety workshops. Sociologists tend to focus on farm retention, the need people feel to connect to their local communities through their land and its products, the development of sustainable non-urban communities.

Finish long comprehensive white paper get ideas and changes to Keith by Aug 1, 2008 so can get to stakeholders by Aug 15, 2008.

2. Review of white paper
How do we decide if the white paper accomplishes what we want? Who do we partner with to build good will? Get different groups to review our white paper and to help refine into 1 page eye catchers for specific targets.

What are the target audiences for the white papers? Who do we want to partner with? Can we construct white papers with the following groups to reach the most people? How do we get the conversation going? 

Potential partners.
1. Land grant systems both 1862 and 1890 institutions, in general do not see their mission as rural development. Educating land grant systems to appreciate plant breeders may be able to help rural development. 

2. Private companies work with them to increase dialogue and get feed-back on their goals.

3. Consumer groups they often have agenda’s or ideas about what they want in the food supply. Breeders may be able to help them achieve some of their goals.

4. Municipalities - most of the rural population lives within 40 miles of an urbanized area. Many people commute to cities for employment. What are the visions of these municipalities for the rural population. How can a plant breeder help.

5. Farmers of all types from the family farm to large corporations and cooperatives. What values do they hope to maintain by living on the farm or in small communities.  How can a plant breeder help them keep these values possible. 

6.  NGOs we need to hear their voice.

7. Congress the individuals who help set the tenor of the nation. How does Congress think of the family farm, rural development and health. 

8. State and local governments

9. Organic farmers. When working with this group some do not want GMOs. Breeders can develop material without GMOs.
Compile list of addresses and email addresses for groups to look at document
Delta Council Chip Morgan Stoneville MS, Chestnut foundation, Regional SARE council, Rural Sociology Departments, Economists working in rural sociology, possibly foundations.

3. Other topics

Rural development speaker for next SCC 080 meeting
  • Participating attendees in this workgroup:
    • Keith Woeste (
    • Sterling Blanche (
    • Karen Moldenhauer (
    • Frank Bordelon (
    • Brian Cornelious (
    • C. Dana Nelson (
    • Leah Viesselmann (
    • Linda Wessel-Beaver (
    • Jodie Scheffler (Jodi.Scheffler


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Page citation: Wehner, T.C. Global Plant Breeding, 30 March 2005;
design by C.T. Glenn; send questions to T.C. Wehner; last revised on 30 September, 2009