Sponsored By
indiana Prairie Farmer Logo

Indiana Crop Improvement Association Beefs Up ResearchIndiana Crop Improvement Association Beefs Up Research

Services extend beyond just testing seed germination.

Tom Bechman 1

April 8, 2013

2 Min Read

In the early days when many public varieties of wheat and soybeans were still grown, many farmer-growers who also hung out their shingle and sold seed relied on the Indiana Crop Improvement Association for germination testing.

While germination testing is still one of its major functions, Indiana Crop Improvement is much more than that now, providing an entire genetics program to meet the needs of its customers.

Emily Dierking is the director of the genetics program, which focuses on service and research. Recently, ICIA hired Srilakshmi Makkena as a research associate in the genetics program. Her background is in biology, and she has a doctorate degree from Ohio State University.


Her research background and the projects she worked on before is so complicated it's difficult to put them into layman's terms. Suffice it to say that she is well-trained on the latest techniques at the molecular level. She also understands genetics, biology and biochemistry, Dierking says. She will put all of these to use in her new research role at ICIAS.

Part of the job is still making sure varieties meet certification requirements – it's just that the tools used to do that today are quite different than when the association was formed.

Through the genetics program, ICIA offers trait testing to make sure that varieties or hybrids have the GMO traits that they are supposed to possess. In seed companies today, making sure that offspring have these traits, or determining which do and which don't, is becoming a major time-consuming task – and companies are employing different methods to get the job done.

ICIA still offers other services as well, including identity preserved programs to ensure that a variety is what it is supposed to be, and other customized field services. Learn more at: www.indianacrop.org.

About the Author(s)

Tom Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

Tom Bechman is an important cog in the Farm Progress machinery. In addition to serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer, Tom is nationally known for his coverage of Midwest agronomy, conservation, no-till farming, farm management, farm safety, high-tech farming and personal property tax relief. His byline appears monthly in many of the 18 state and regional farm magazines published by Farm Progress.

"I consider it my responsibility and opportunity as a farm magazine editor to supply useful information that will help today's farm families survive and thrive," the veteran editor says.

Tom graduated from Whiteland (Ind.) High School, earned his B.S. in animal science and agricultural education from Purdue University in 1975 and an M.S. in dairy nutrition two years later. He first joined the magazine as a field editor in 1981 after four years as a vocational agriculture teacher.

Tom enjoys interacting with farm families, university specialists and industry leaders, gathering and sifting through loads of information available in agriculture today. "Whenever I find a new idea or a new thought that could either improve someone's life or their income, I consider it a personal challenge to discover how to present it in the most useful form, " he says.

Subscribe to receive top agriculture news
Be informed daily with these free e-newsletters

You May Also Like