Seed World

Four St. Louis Startups will be Given the Spotlight at the NAPB’s Upcoming Meeting

The National Association of Plant Breeders (NAPB) is getting ready to hold its 2024 meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, from July 21-25 — and this year’s concept is an important one that the NAPB’s incoming president says will continue to build on the organization’s success and set the tone for the future.

The meeting is being hosted by Bayer and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

“This gathering is really focused on three key themes: rethinking, reinventing, and revolutionizing the field of plant breeding. We centered it around these concepts, building on the legacy of previous gatherings,” says incoming NAPB president J.D. Rossouw, who serves as head of vegetables research & development at Bayer Crop Science. 

“Our emphasis was on engaging with graduate students, ensuring they gain exposure to both the private and public sectors, as well as potential future employers.”

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

Organizers have invited local startup companies from the area to interact with attendees. This provides a platform for startups to showcase their journey of invention and commercialization, offering valuable insights into their experiences, Rossouw adds. They’ll give their respective presentations July 25 beginning at 10:30 a.m.

The speakers and their respective startups are:

  • Kathryn Grant, AbacusBio: Breeding new varieties with sustainability in mind.
  • Kevin Cook, CoverCress. Our decade-long journey from weed to crop.
  • Tim Ulmasov, cQuesta. Using the power of root genetics to capture and store atmospheric carbon in soil.
  • Paul Skroch, Edison Agro. Computational Breeding for specialty traits: Sunflower rubber.

Early bird registration goes until July 1! Register at