Seed World

3 Reasons to Register for the NAPB Meeting Before July 1

If you want to help Rethink, Reinvent, and Revolutionize plant breeding, an upcoming event being held in St. Louis, Miss., is for you.

Early bird registration for the annual meeting of the the National Association of Plant Breeders (NAPB) goes until July 1, and according to organizers, it’s an event you don’t want to miss.

With a theme of Rethink, Reinvent, Revolutionize: Innovation for Change, attendees will examine plant breeding advancements, reassess the field, and explore how we can adapt to or leverage those advancements.

“We’ve witnessed significant technological advancements over the past decade, with an abundance of genetic, phenotypic, and environmental data becoming more accessible, alongside the integration of artificial intelligence into data science, opening up new possibilities,” says Martin Bohn, crop sciences professor at the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign and a co-organizer of the event.

Being held from July 21-25 at the St. Louis Union Station Hotel, this year’s meeting, hosted by Bayer Crop Science and the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, promises to be one of the NAPB’s most important yet.

Throughout the week, attendees will interact with both seasoned and budding plant breeders during the poster sessions and thematic discussions centered around rethinking, reinventing, and revolutionizing the field of plant breeding. Additionally, a panel session featuring local startup companies in St. Louis promises to be enlightening and engaging for all involved.

“The primary reason I’ve consistently enjoyed attending these meetings over the past several years is the opportunity to connect with industry players, both from the public and private sectors. Building a network within a global community is invaluable, especially in the field of plant breeding. Whether you’re a budding scientist or a seasoned professional, there’s immense potential to make an impact not only within the U.S. but on a global scale,” says J.D. Rossouw, incoming NAPB president. He serves as head of vegetables research & development at Bayer Crop Science and is also a co-organizer of the meeting.

The meeting also features a strong scientific component, including a field trip to the University of Urbana-Champaign, located near St. Louis.

Bohn is looking forward to showing off the facilities at the university, where there exists a thriving plant breeding program. Visitors are in for a treat.

“When you’re coming from St. Louis to the university, you might expect to see a lot of corn and soybeans, but there’s much more in store. We’ve put together a diverse program featuring various facets of agricultural innovation,” he says.

“Throughout the day, we’ll showcase national initiatives focused on advanced bioenergy and bioproduct innovation. We’ll also explore autonomous farming, environmental resilience, and soil quality at two different stops.”

You’ll get a peek into the USDA Maize Genetics Cooperation Stock Center, home to crucial genetic stocks for corn breeding, and the USDA Soybean Germplasm Collection. Additionally, the tour will highlight the CornBox, a project by some of Bohn’s colleagues which is their version of a sandbox to test innovations for digital agriculture in a live corn field. Visitors will also see the breeding programs spanning soybeans, corn, small grains, hemp, and more.

“One highlight close to my heart is our organic farming systems breeding program. We’ll also tour our student farm, featuring research on vegetable production systems and how robotics aid in managing insects. And let’s not forget about our local startup companies at the University of Illinois Research Park, showcasing their latest research and products,” Bohn adds.

Visitors will wrap up the day at Riggs Beer Company, known for using locally grown seeds and grains. Their motto, “On our farm, we grow beer,” sets the tone for a relaxed Q&A session with the brewery’s owner and team, accompanied by great food and, of course, some beer.

Register for the meeting before July 1 at