MINUTES OF THE NATIONAL WHEAT IMPROVEMENT COMMITTEE (NWIC) MEETING [p. 6-10]
Non-committee members: T. Anderson, O. Anderson, M. Davis, O. Chung, D. Koeltzow, F. Flora, S. Jones, B. Skovmand, J. Peterson, J. Raupp, and G. Brown-Guedira.
The meeting was called to order by Chairman Sears at 8:05 a.m. and there was an introductions of guests. Dr. David Van Sanford of the University of Kentucky was introduced as the new Chair-Elect.
A call for additional agenda items was made and Baenziger requested discussion on the IFAS grant program.
The request was made that this committee work with NAWG in an effort to convince the NSF to be supportive of the wheat genomics effort. It was suggested that this committee be supportive of the cereal genetics effort to be developed at the upcoming CIMMYT meeting.
Bob Graybosh requested that we add a discussion on a revision to the Wheat Workers Code of Ethics to our agenda.
Leath asked for approval of the minutes as published and the request passed on a voice vote.
Raupp gave a report and included figures on publication costs and numbers. Currently, about 195 total copies are printed and 100 hard copies are mailed to mostly to recipients in developing countries and Nebraska. The cost per copy was $15.08 but now approximately one-half of the distributed copies are on CD. Raupp will add additional information to the CD version of the Newsletter including the wheat gene catalog and updated graphics. Sears commended Raupp on the improvement of the Newsletter since he has taken over responsibility.
Jones reported on the Wheat CGC meeting that was held the previous evening. Harold Bockelman was absent, so his germ plasm reports soon will be mailed to members. The committee discussed the need for a timely replacement of Wesenberg, and the need for attention to germ plasm funds controlled there. Skovmand gave an update on CIMMYT and their germ plasm policies. The committee will update its report on wheat germ plasm needs. A draft will be prepared and circulated through the CGC and NWIC for comments. There was a discussion on the lack of funded collection trips for wheat germ plasm. The committee discussed possible meeting formats and timing and the committee wants to coördinate with the NWIC.
USDA-ARS Frank Flora, NPL for Agricultural Product Quality and Utilization. Kay Simmons is now on the NPS staff as National Program Leader for Grain Crops. Jack Eversbacher requested information on research effort on wheat. The figures, in total dollars (in millions) invested for corn research, $101 and $41 for ARS; wheat, $87 and $38 for ARS; rice, $29 and $10 for ARS; and soybeans, $92 and $25 for ARS.
Wheat quality labs. A funding request proposal is available and has been distributed. There have been no ARS wheat quality increases for over 10 years, but the work load has been increased. Labs have been downsized and technicians and even scientist have been reduced. ARS proposes $3.25 million increase, and NWIC support is needed.
Horn indicated a possible 10 % increase in the ARS budget. The new 2002 budget needs to be inline with new administration priorities. A transition team has not altered the ARS budget. A new Farm Bill will be rewritten soon.
Five wheat RL positions are open or will be open soon at NC, MN, WA, ND, and ID. The Committee needs to be sure these are filled in the best area of scientific need.
Eastern soft wheat region (Carl Griffey). Western Pant Breeders purchased part of Hybritech and will develop SRWW. Interested people should see a memo from G. Marshall that provides more details. Clay Sneller, formerly of Arkansas, is the new breeder at Ohio State. Pioneer has closed the St. Mathews facility and will test out of Arkansas. Two positions at Raleigh need a support letter from NWIC. Dr. Risius retired at Pennsylvania State University and no small grain breeder there. Novartis is now Syngenta but will keep the Coker name on its wheat lines. Some stripe rust is now showing up in the east.
Spring wheat region (Y. Jin). J. Rudd had a snowmobile accident and broke his leg and is now recovering. North Dakota State reports that Joppa has been replaced by Justin Faris and an RL now is being recruited. A new breeder was hired to replace Haley. Bob Bush retired in June but is still coördinating nurseries. ARS is filling his position in wheat genetics. Minnesota has three new people on board and they are Kolmer, scab and leaf rust; Steffenson, wide crosses in wheat, barley, and oats; and Hala Tubayarama, extension in Crookston. There is regional concern on the future coördination of nurseries when Busch retires completely, although it is assumed that his replacement would take this over.
Western region (Tim Murray). At Washington State University, Tim Paulitz replaced Jim Cook and Shen Ming Chen replaced Rollie Line in ARS. Jim Peterson at Oregon Stste University commented on the death of W. Kronstad last year and that a symposium to honor him will be hosted in Obregon, Mexico, in the spring. A new cereal chemist is being recruited at Corrvalis. Monsanto donated Hybritech germ plasm to the program and it will be maintained for the public breeders. The quality lab lost two scientists there but at least one should filled. Washington State University has hired a new person in wheat quality. WSU has decided to advertise the Vogel chair and wants the incumbent to put Roundup resistance into wheats for that area. This position will be at the Associate or Full Professor level. Don Sunderman died this spring in Idaho, and his lines may be sold. The USDAARS at Albany, CA, has hired a new cereal geneticist. A molecular biologist also was hired, and a second position in structural genomics now is being filled.
Winter wheat region (S. Baenziger). Baenziger reported that there will be a regional meeting associated with the wheat quality council meetings this winter. The region is pretty stable although Merle Eversmeyer has retired from the USDAARS at Kansas State and the RL position will be advertised. Cathy Sue Catsar left for Pioneer and this Hessian Fly position will be recruited. A position in marker-assisted selection will be filled with new money, and new space has been acquired. Nebraska is searching for a new cereal chemist.
Congratulations to Dave Van Sanford on his election as chair of the NWIC. He will handle new business at this meeting, because he will be handling much of it in the future.
Haley gave an introduction and spoke on behalf of the subcommittee that helped help draft a document to garner support. Don Koeltzow thanked the committee for help with the document. The committee utilized the successful scab format and itemized how funding will be spent. Baenziger thought that the NWIC should support the lab initiative. It was suggested that the lab put breeders samples high on priority list and work closely with industry to keep primary evaluation traits of high relevance. There was much discussion of this issue to insure that we are on the leading edge of evaluating new traits so that they are relevant to the end-use quality wanted by the industry. Wheat is moving to value-added traits and needs the quality labs to suggest what traits need to be bred for and not the other way around. Additional comments were made that the proposal does not clearly convince readers that the labs really understand what is really needed by breeders. There was some dissatisfaction among breeders that the labs may be deëmphasizing quality analyses for more emphasis on their own research. Baenziger moved that we support the initiative, and Griffey seconded the motion. The NAWG research committee also will discuss this document. Charlie Gaines presented a lab perspective and how they can interact with breeders. He further explained how money will be used in the Eastern lab and why it is so important. The motion passed by unanimous vote.
Mike Davis, NBIC, wants to work with NWIC and the oat group on common objectives. He feels that this is a very useful way to approach requests. Davis updated the committee on two big accomplishments, an $800,000 increase for the scab initiative bringing the total to $6.3 million (the monies will have stakeholder input and review of funding requests) and an additional $750,000 addition to the base budget at Fargo, which will let them hire personnel and create a new pathology position. The National Small Grain Germplasm Facility in Aberdeen had a funding request that evolved into a $520,000 increase for that lab. Now, ARS can immediately hire a new Research Leader for the lab and then an additional position will be filled. The ARS has a total cost effort of $4.3 million for Aberdeen improvements. The NBIC wants to work with NWIC to support the $4.3 million proposal. The Cereal Disease Lab needs budget enhancement and over last 4 years they have received additional $1 million. Funds can be used to rehire after expected retirements, but money is needed for expansion and renovation. A request will be made $3 million.
Progress has been made, but can we be better served in some ways in areas by having regional marker labs? Manhattan now has such a facility. Where else would such labs be needed? An update on the Manhattan lab was summarized in a handout. It is not clear how charges will be made for services. A new scientist will determine how things actually will function. A very long and detailed discussion on how best to establish centers with emphasis on science, service, and crops. Sears used the Quality Labs as a model for the marker labs. Continued discussion and the idea of regional labs was well received.
Jack Eberspacher, Executive Director of NAWG, was introduced and made comments on their interest in working with NWIC on research objectives. There was much discussion on where the regional labs should be located. A consensus for a motion was made by Leath to have four regional, small-grain genotyping centers. The motion was amended by Baenziger to have labs at Raleigh, Fargo, Pullman, and Manhattan and for all to be funded at $750,000 per year. The motion was passed after much discussion but with no dissenting votes.
Yue Jin spoke about the budget and good attendance of over 200 people. He mentioned a website that is directed both to scientists and growers on Fusarium head scab issue and the newsletter. In addition, an overview of the program soon will be published in Crop Science.
A motion was made by Baenziger that the NWIC recommend that NAWG discuss with NSF and the USDA the importance of funding genomics research in wheat, including funding by IFAS. The motion was passed and Baenziger will draft letter to NAWG with this request.
Genomics report by Olin Anderson. Evidence now shows that wheat may make a better model genome than corn, and this must to be made more widely known. Although wheat is a hexaploid, the EST programs show much homology between the three genomes. NSF grants totaling about 6 % of the funding has gone to wheat and 0 % to barley. Two wheat grants have been funded thus far for a total of $1.7 million. ITMI reorganized a couple of weeks ago and Wayne Powell from Dundee, Scotland, replaces Cal Qualset as coördinator. ITMI is trying to make the initiative include more barley researchers and more coöperators from outside of North America. A letter in support of GrainGenes needs to be written to the ARS, especially since some funding for GrainGenes and similar databases has been redirected. A motion was made by Baenziger that GrainGenes be maintained and funded such that it can take advantage of emerging technologies. The motion passed with no dissent.
Elias Elias reported no Roundup-ready durums and no GMO work at this point. Monsanto does not think the durum market is large enough for Roundup-ready wheat. Sears commented that NAWG and Monsanto have agreed that no Roundup-ready wheat products will be sold in U.S. until after the autumn of 2003. In North Dakota, a bill was introduced that forbids Roundup-ready wheat until 2003 but has not passed at this point. Concern was expressed for the possible impact on exports to the U.K. and E.U.
Karnal bunt and flag smut. Sears reported based on comments from R. Line. He said that the flag smut issue has been quiet for years. APHIS agreed that the quarantine should be lifted and risk assessment was written and reviewed. APHIS now will put it at a higher priority. APHIS would be receptive to a request that they act on lifting the quarantine. Karnal bunt has now shown up in South Africa. There was a question on accessing scab material from CIMMYT. There is little likelihood that the Karnal bunt quarantine will be lifted soon, however, we should encourage APHIS to look over the science behind the quarantine again.
Stem rust and barberry. Sears reported that several states are not enforcing the eradication program, and the plant is returning in some areas. Some states no longer enforce the sale of highly susceptible barberry stocks. Sears spoke with quarantine and nurserymen about risks to wheat based on the new race potential. The NWIC needs to keep quarantine people in various states aware of the potential problem. The Black Stem Rust of Barberry Quarantine Act is oldest act of its kind on the books, and people have gotten complacent.
Nothing on the agenda.
1. Quality labs
2. Genotyping centers
3. Aberdeen expansion
4. St. Paul expansion
Our ranking of issues is 1, 2, 4, and 3.
Legislative group. Rick Ward will be asked, and O. Anderson and D. Van Sanford also will go.
Van Sanford asked the appropriate people to get local deans aware of, and supporting, the genotyping center at their location.
Graybosh addressed proposed modification to the Wheat Worker's Code of Ethics and information on handling protected traits in nurseries. Because of APHIS regulations, it is unlikely that any nursery will include transgenics. Submission of lines with protected traits is acceptable in the HRWW region. Do we need to modify WWCE to deal with lines with protected traits? A discussion followed on the need to modify the WWCE. A motion made by Peterson to adopt guidelines as proposed by Graybosch on page two of an accompanying document. The motion was seconded by Moffat that the WWCE be modified so that the word 'unreleased' is removed so that the document applies to both released and unreleased germ plasm.
Letters are needed for the Raleigh research leader position, for funding of GrainGenes, to APHIS on Karnal bunt and flag smut, to regional coördinators on nursery recommendations and to Tom Sim on the barberry quarantine issue.
A Resolution to thank Rollie Sears for his years of service and leadership was passed unanimously.
Location and time of meetings. A suggestion was made to meet in Belstville every 4 years and with NAWG the other years. The NWIC will meet with the CGC every other year. Another suggestion wass to meet at Beltsville every third year so all members have one trip there and the other two times with NAWG. The second motion was accepted and passed. The NWIC will meet with NAWG in 2002, and this was approved.