Robert H. Busch - Retirement

Dr. Robert H. Busch

Dr. Robert H. Busch retired from the USDA-ARS on 2 June, 2000 after over 22 years of service. He also served as adjunct professor in the Agronomy and Plant Genetics Department at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN. Bob conducted research in wheat genetics and wheat breeding since 1967 and is recognized nationally and internationally as the world's leading research geneticist and breeder of spring wheat.

Dr. Busch was born in Dana, IO, on 22 October, 1937. He received a B.S. in agronomy in 1959 and an M.S. in plant breeding in 1963 from Iowa State University, and a Ph.D. from Purdue University in 1967. After graduation, Bob was appointed an associate professor in the Department of Agronomy at North Dakota State University, and was promoted to full professor by 1977. Bob joined the USDA-ARS as a plant geneticist at St. Paul, MN, in 1978.

Dr. Busch's contributions have been through wheat breeding research, variety improvement, graduate student training, and national and international leadership. He has authored or coauthored 54 refereed publications, 41 technical publications, and 42 abstracts. Bob served on the editorial board of Crop Science and was the chair of the wheat subcommittee for crop registrations, was an officer of the Crop Science Society, National Wheat Improvement Committee, the Spring Wheat Improvement Committee, the Wheat Quality Council, and served on numerous departmental committees. Bob also has served as an expert advisor for the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency to Outer Mongolia and Brazil and is currently an expert advisor and coördinator of the South American Wheat Nursery. He has coördinated the Uniform Regional Hard Red Spring Wheat Nursery and the Uniform Regional Scab Nursery. He is a Fellow of the Crop Science Society of America and the American Society of Agronomy.

Dr. Busch has released 11 varieties of hard red spring wheat, which have had a huge impact on the U.S. farm economy. Cultivars released by Busch have occupied over 50 % of the spring wheat acreage for many years. In fact, Marshall was grwn on over 5 million acres between 1984-88, and it remained the dominant cultivar in the upper Midwest through 1992. Wheaton and Vance, also released from Dr. Busch's program, occupied greater than 30 % of the acreage in 1986 and 1993, respectively. Of his recent releases, Verde (1995) is the best cultivar showing tolerance to the devastating Fusarium head blight and is becoming established as a dominant cultivar in the spring wheat growing regions of the U.S. His varieties and research efforts have been recognized by a Distinguished Service Award from the West Polk County, MN, Crop Improvement Association and by an Honorary Premiere Seedsman Award from the Minnesota Crop Improvement Association. His germ plasm has been used by wheat breeders in several countries to enhance wheat production for their specific regions.

Dr. Busch has provided extensive leadership in the agricultural research community. He has advised 26 graduate students, all active in agricultural science and administrative careers. In addition, he has mentored some 30 undergraduates, many of whom have gone on for advanced degrees.