NAPB advocates for increased support for cultivar development, plant breeding education and plant germplasm resources

 

Priorities

  • NAPB supports increased funding for cultivar development in the public sector through USDA competitive grants and capacity funds.
  • NAPB supports increased support for plant breeding education and graduate student training.
  • NAPB supports the NPGS and is concerned about genetic vulnerability, narrowing of the genetic base and continued genetic gain.  We need to sustain and support the utilization of genetic resources.

2018 Farm Bill

  • Require a minimum of $50 million per year in total NIFA research funding with explicit support for public cultivar development research.
  • Reauthorize the National Genetic Resources Program with the explicit charge of establishing a national strategic germplasm assessment and utilization plan.
  • These priorities are articulated in the Seeds for the Future Act

Rationale

Public-sector plant breeding has contributed significantly to increases in crop productivity over the past century. Public sector cultivar development efforts continue to be critical to meeting regional agricultural needs.

 

An important role of the public sector is to train future plant breeders and leaders in agriculture. A $50 million per year investment in grants to support public sector cultivar development would support approximately 150 graduate students in plant breeding each year. 

 

The public sector is also critical to long-range research priorities such as the incorporation of genetic diversity for critical traits into more elite germplasm that is readily accessible to breeding programs. A few examples of the many projects of this kind include the Germplasm Enhancement of Maize (GEM) project, enhanced disease resistance in tomatoes, breeding for Fusarium Head Blight resistance in wheat, the sorghum conversion project, and the incorporation of disease resistance from wild species of potato into cultivated tetraploid germplasm.