Southeast Rice Breeding Researcher Invited to International Institute

Photo of Donn Beighley

Donn Beighley has been invited to attend the International Rice Research Institute Rice Breeding Course, “Laying the Foundation for the Second Green Revolution.”

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Aug. 8, 2007 — Donn Beighley, a research fellow in Southeast Missouri State University’s Department of Agriculture, has been invited to attend the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Rice Breeding Course, “Laying the Foundation for the Second Green Revolution,” Aug. 20-Sept. 1 in The Philippines.

The institute “will allow me to interact with rice breeders from around the world and become familiar with their methodologies for developing rice varieties so that we can improve the Missouri rice breeding program,” he says.

Beighley is a rice breeding researcher based at the Missouri Rice Research Farm in Glennonville, Mo. Beighley is charged with assisting Missouri rice producers by developing higher yielding varieties of rice adapted to southeast Missouri growing conditions. Work at the farm is geared toward producing varieties acceptable for both domestic and international consumption, he said.

Included in Beighley’s endeavors is the evaluation of experimental rice varieties from public rice breeding programs in Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and California.  He works closely with researchers from Southeast Missouri State University, University of Missouri Delta Center, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and private rice research companies.

“I am developing and evaluating rice varieties that are specifically adapted to the southeast Missouri rice production environment,” he said. “I also work with rice breeders from the mid-South states to evaluate new potential varieties.”

Work at the Missouri Rice Research Farm is critical, he said, considering rice is consumed by more people than any other grain crop in the world.  In southeast Missouri, the value of annual rice production is estimated at $100 million.

Beighley says the future of rice breeding is bright as he and other researchers from around the world work together to develop higher yielding rice varieties to feed the world’s population as well as improve the income of the rice producer.

While in The Philippines, Beighley and other Institute participants plan to tour local rice research facilities and Banawe, an agricultural center where rice is grown in terraces on mountainsides. He also plans on touring Manila, The Philippines’ largest city and capital.

Beighley said he also will attend a wide-ranging rice breeding course that will connect breeding techniques for higher production to the molecular aspect of rice breeding.  The course will cover the theoretical, molecular, management and experimental techniques associated with plant breeding, he said.

The IRRI is the oldest and largest international agricultural research institute is focused primarily on rice.  The institute, of which rice breeding is just one aspect, assists in the development of rice germ plasm and breeding techniques that are shared with other scientists from around the world.

The IRRI was established to reduce poverty and hunger, improve the health of rice farmers and consumers, and ensure environmental sustainability through collaborative research, partnerships, and the strengthening of national agricultural research and extension systems.