Seed World

Breeding Targets Aren’t Just Optimistic Goals

Like any job, it’s good to have goals in plant breeding. Typically, these goals take the form of breeding targets — characteristics and traits that a breeder hopes to achieve in a variety. And, while a target could take multiple crosses or steps to achieve, they aren’t just optimistic goals. Breeding targets are what propel innovation in both the row crop and vegetable seed sector forward to change and feed the globe.

On January 25, Seed Speaks wants to take a deeper dive into breeding targets — what’s the drive behind them, how flexible they are and how to ensure you’re getting a stable, innovative variety at the end of your program.

Three panelists will join host Marc Zienkiewicz to dive into the subject further:

Mike Popelka, corn breeder with AgReliant Genetics. Mike Popelka grew up on a farm in Kansas. For the last decade, he has focused on developing unique corn hybrids. With a doctorate in plant breeding from Purdue University, Popelka manages AgReliant Genetics hybrid product breeding. He previously opened and managed research sites in South Dakota and Kansas. 

Brian Just, senior plant breeder and sweet pepper lead for Sakata Seed America. Just has 18 years of sweet pepper breeding experience with industry leaders, including Sakata Seed America, Seminis, Monsanto, and Bayer. He boasts 19 issued germplasm and trait patents with several industry-leading products worldwide currently in the sweet pepper category. His work in markets including the U.S., Mexico, South America, Central America, Australia, Europe, and Israel solidifies his reputation as an expert in his field, including the sweet pepper segment and many more.

Hannah Swegarden, plant breeder at PanAmerican Seed. Over the past two years with PanAmerican, Swegarden has absorbed the responsibilities of developing unique pepper varieties for home gardeners and fresh market farmers. She has a background in horticultural plant breeding from the University of Minnesota and Cornell University. Hannah is currently based out of the company’s Elburn, Illinois location, but she enjoys the opportunity to travel to remote breeding, trialing and production sites within the company. She takes great pride working in a company with diverse products and markets, but she’ll always be partial to breeding plants she can eat, too.

Tune into the live panel on January 25 at 12:00 CST: