Seed World

Thomas Lübberstedt Wants to Reinforce the Importance of Public Plant Breeding

For some, the journey into the world of plant breeding is a natural progression. The new president of the National Association of Plant Breeders (NAPB) transitioned into the organization after serving as a chair of the Plant Breeding Coordinating Committee (PBCC), which founded the NAPB. Such experiences foster an understanding of the intricacies involved in the process, he says.

As the newly-inducted president of the NAPB (an honour he graciously accepted yesterday during the closing session of the NAPB’s annual meeting in Greenville, SC), Thomas Lübberstedt’s major goal is to advocate for public plant breeding at different levels. This includes working at the federal level to secure competitive funding opportunities through organizations like USDA NIFA. While some progress has been made, more support is required, especially concerning climate change, which necessitates enhanced genetic resource management and proactive development of solutions tailored to address emerging challenges.

At the state level, land grant universities play a crucial role in plant breeding. However, political support for public universities has wavered, leading to a decline in the number of positions dedicated to plant breeding, he notes.

“The NAPB endeavors to communicate the significance of retaining these positions to experimental station directors, thereby reinforcing the importance of plant breeding in academia,” he says.