Published on 08/30/19

Plant breeders convene in Georgia to discuss the future of food, fiber and flowers in a changing world

By Merritt Melancon

More than 400 plant breeders convened at the Callaway Gardens conference center in Pine Mountain, Georgia, as part of the National Association of Plant Breeders (NAPB) annual meeting hosted by the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES).

International scientists, including breeders and geneticists from universities across the U.S. and Canada, gathered to share the latest advances in breeding sustainable and efficient crops that will meet the needs of a growing world.   

“When I was born in 1955, there were 3 billion people on the planet; if I live to be 95, I will have seen a tripling of the population of this planet,” CAES Dean Sam Pardue told the scientists gathered this week. “So, the things that you do here matter. It has a huge impact on all our lives.”

 Over the course of the four-day conference, researchers discussed ways of tapping the biodiversity of the wild ancestors of cultivated crops to make tomorrow’s crops more resilient. They also discussed priorities for the next 20 years of breeding, breakthroughs in molecular biology and how more work will be needed to continue to feed the world’s growing population.

Peggy Ozias-Akins, director of the UGA Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics, considered the meeting a success due to the large number of scientists and graduate students who attended.

For more information about NAPB, visit For more information about the UGA Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics, visit the institute's website.

Merritt Melancon is a public relations manager with UGA's Terry College of Business and previously served as a public relations coordinator for the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and UGA Extension.

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