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A New Generation of Plant Breeders Discovers Fertile Ground in Organic Agriculture

Author(s): Claire H. Luby | Alexandra H. Lyon | Adrienne C. Shelton

Journal: Sustainability
ISSN 2071-1050

Volume: 5;
Issue: 6;
Start page: 2722;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: plant breeding | organic agriculture | graduate education

Plant breeding for organic systems is a growing field that is attracting a new cohort of graduate students in land-grant plant breeding programs. In 2012, the first Student Organic Seed Symposium (SOSS) was organized by and for graduate students and held in Greensboro, VT. This three-day symposium brought together graduate students and plant breeding professionals in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Organic plant breeding offers an exciting new niche for public breeding programs, with the potential to develop unique opportunities and partnerships. Participation in the symposium demonstrated that graduate students are enthusiastic about engaging in organic plant breeding and building a community of support for their work. This new cadre of researchers represents one opportunity to collectively move towards a more sustainable agricultural future, and underscores the necessity of building and maintaining strong public plant breeding programs that can facilitate this work.
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