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Former UGA soybean breeder receives national recognition

Roger Boerma, former professor of crop and soil sciences at the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and current executive director of Georgia Seed Development, recently received the 2013 NAPB Plant Breeding Impact Award from the National Association of Plant Breeders and the Plant Breeding Coordinating Committee.

One the organizations’ most prestigious honors, the impact award recognizes an individual who has made significant advancements in the field of plant breeding in the area of applied variety and/or technology development, causing a measurable impact on crop production. It also recognizes the individual’s exceptional accomplishments in teaching and collaboration. The presentation was made during the NAPB annual meeting held June 2-5, 2013 in Tampa, Fla.

“Dr. Boerma’s contributions to the field of plant breeding are immense,” says Philip Simon, chairman of the NAPB Awards Panel. “Not only has he developed 25 soybean varieties, but he also was involved in the formation of organizations that will ensure that we will have new generations of plant breeders and new varieties of beneficial crops.”

A nationally recognized soybean geneticist and professor emeritus at the UGA, Boerma was instrumental in developing UGA’s Centers for Soybean Improvement and for Applied Genetic Technologies. He is one of the founding fathers of the Institute for Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics at the university.

Since 2011, Boerma has led Georgia Seed Development, an agency that produces foundation plant material and markets seed and plant materials designed to improve crop yields for growers in Georgia and across the United States.

Georgia Seed Development works closely with the UGA geneticists and plant breeders; The University of Georgia Research Foundation (UGARF), which licenses the school’s proprietary varieties for sale; and the Georgia Crop Inspection Association (GCIA), which provides quality control for Georgia plant and seed varieties. The four groups use a “systems approach” to discovering, propagating, licensing and testing plant and seed materials to ensure a seamless route from university lab to wholesaler. Co-developed by Boerma, this unified research-and-propagation model brings many varieties to the market faster than other methods.

Boerma is the second recipient of the Plant Breeding Impact Award, which was established in 2013 to recognize those who contribute to the NAPB’s mission to strengthen U.S. plant breeding research, technology and education.

About the National Association of Plant Breeders and the Plant Breeding Coordinating Committee

The National Association of Plant Breeders was begun as an initiative of the Plant Breeding Coordinating Committee and is the advocacy group that represents plant breeders in federal, state, commercial and non-government organizations. The Plant Breeding Coordinating Committee serves as a forum regarding issues and opportunities of national and global importance to the public and private sectors of the U.S. national plant breeding effort.

About Georgia Seed Development

Georgia Seed Development is responsible for overseeing the foundation plant material production in Georgia. GSD works closely with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the University of Georgia Research Foundation and the Georgia Crop Improvement Association to support research projects and bring new cultivars to market. Since 1990, GSD has annually provided significant funding to UGA for cultivar development.

Soybeans grow
Soybeans grow

Soybeans grow on a plant at a UGA lab in Athens. October 2009

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Soybeans grow on a plant at a UGA lab in Athens. October 2009 Download Image
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