ALEXANDRIA, Va. - The National Council of Commercial Plant Breeders (NCCPB) recognized professor Hartwig Geiger with the Public Plant Breeder Award on Dec. 10 at the American Seed Trade Association's annual Corn & Sorghum and Soybean Seed Research Conference in Chicago, Ill.
The award was first given in 1963 and is designed to recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the advancement of plant breeding and genetics in the public sector.
Geiger, professor emeritus at the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, Germany, started his plant breeding career in 1963 and has worked to improve corn, rye, sorghum and barley genetics.
"Gieger's work on the doubled haploid process improved the ability of commercial plant breeders to deliver quality seed to the farmers," said NCCPB president Tim Cupka, of AgReliant Genetics, who presented the award to Gieger.
The doubled haploid approach produces pure parent lines in one to two years, compared to five or six years using conventional breeding methods. For breeders, this mean they save not only time, but also work and labor costs. For growers, this means faster access to new purebred lines and accelerated gains in yield and profitability.
"It's an honor to receive this award," Geiger said. "At the university, researchers work for what's best for society and mankind, and knowing that my research has helped contribute to food security is very satisfying.
"The fact that 1 billion people are starving world wide has to be taken into consideration. Every new technology introduced to improve yields and seed quality is a step towards reducing the amount of malnutrition and starvation around the world."
During the conference, NCCPB also recognized Ted Crosbie, Monsanto's vice president for Global Breeding, for his outstanding efforts. Crosbie was awarded the Genetics and Plant Breeding Award for Industry. In addition, Elliot Heffner of Cornell University and Carolyn Bonin of University of Illinois received the NCCPB's Graduate Student Award.
Additional information about the awards is available by contacting Cupka at 765-482-9833 or Andy LaVigne at 703-837-8140, firstname.lastname@example.org.