Seed World

REGISTER NOW for the 2024 NAPB Meeting

We sat down last week for an interview with the incoming president of the National Association of Plant Breeders, J.D. Rossouw of Bayer Crop Science, to talk about the upcoming meeting of the NAPB and what makes this year’s event so important. It will be held in St. Louis, Miss. from July 21-25. Below is a condensed transcript.

Marc Zienkiewicz: Thank you for joining us today. Can you give us an overview of this year’s meeting and its key themes?

J.D. Rossouw: Yes, Marc, so this year’s meeting, as co-hosted with the University of Illinois, really centeres around three themes: rethinking, reinventing, and revolutionizing the space of plant breeding. The meeting is focused on these components, along with a continued emphasis on graduate student involvement, providing exposure to both private and public sectors, as well as potential future employers. Additionally, there’s a strong scientific component to the meeting, including a field trip to the University of Illinois and the inclusion of startup companies from the St. Louis ecosystem, facilitating interaction and discussion on their journey and commercial products.

MZ: How did the idea for this meeting come about?

JDR: It’s been about 18 to 24 months since the idea originated from the executive committee’s desire to hold a meeting in the Midwest, particularly in Missouri. Collaborating with the University of Illinois presented an opportunity to partner in this space, considering the gateway of ag tech between Illinois and St. Louis, involving Bayer, the Stanford Institute, and local startup companies. From there, we developed the agenda to ensure it was unique while maintaining engagement, given the competitive nature of hosting the NAPB Annual Meeting.

MZ: Can you provide any insights into plans for future meetings?

JDR: The meeting for 2025 will be held in Hawaii, offering an opportunity for international participation and expanding the global reach of our objectives.

MZ: As the incoming president, what are your goals for the upcoming term?

JDR: My focus will be on implementing the strategic plan for the next five years, emphasizing skills and talent development, membership growth, and educational outreach. Additionally, I aim to strengthen relationships with international associations to foster global connections and collaboration within the plant breeding community.

MZ: What aspects of the meeting are you personally looking forward to?

JDR: I’m particularly excited about the scholarship opportunities and hosting the graduate student session, as it allows for meaningful interactions with students exploring career paths in plant breeding. Additionally, I value the networking opportunities and sense of community the meeting provides, connecting individuals across various sectors and career stages within the field.

MZ: What do you believe attendees will find most valuable about the meeting?

JDR: Attendees will benefit from the diverse agenda, which includes engaging sessions on rethinking, reinventing, and revolutionizing plant breeding, as well as opportunities to interact with industry leaders and potential mentors. Building networks and communities within the plant breeding field is crucial for driving innovation and impact on both a national and global scale.

To register for the meeting visit