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In Lubbock Aug. 21-22: Corn field day, symposium scheduled

An Aug. 21-22 corn field day and symposium sponsored by Texas A&M's Agricultural Research and Extension Center here and the Texas Corn Producers Board (TPCB) will provide new perspectives on present and future opportunities for all segments of the state's corn industry.

The “Sharing the Success” field day and symposium will kick off Aug. 21 with registration at 1 p.m. at the USDA-ARS Ginning Lab just east of the Lubbock Center on FM 1294. The center is three miles north of Lubbock International Airport on Interstate 27 and one-half mile east of Exit 11 on FM 1294.

“We are hosting this symposium to present Texas A&M and Texas Tech corn research projects supported by the Texas Corn Producers Board, and to enhance the interaction between research scientists, industry representatives and corn producers,” said Jaroy Moore, resident director of research at the Lubbock center.

“It will be an excellent opportunity to see and learn first-hand about the latest university corn research projects in Texas, some of which are right here on the High Plains.

“We also hope to open new dialogue between researchers and industry on how we can hasten and improve the commercialization of new corn lines resulting from these projects. Everyone with a stake in the Texas corn industry is welcome to attend.”

The symposium will begin at 1:50 p.m., with an overview of statewide corn breeding programs provided by Drs. Wenwei Xu of Lubbock and Javier Betran of College Station. Field tours of High Plains corn research projects conducted by Texas A&M and Texas Tech scientists will follow from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Initiated in 1980 by Dr. Tom Archer, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station entomologist, the High Plains projects initially focused on identifying and breeding corns resistant to mite and earworms. From 1995 to 1998, Archer and Dr. Henry Nguyen, Texas Tech molecular geneticist, focused on selecting and breeding for drought resistance and crossing these with insect resistant lines.

Xu and Betran joined the team in 1998. In the last three years, the researchers have made substantial progress breeding drought- and insect-resistant corn lines designed to survive and thrive in west Texas and other climates.

An evening reception at the Holiday Inn Suites & Towers (801 Ave. Q) will cap off the first day's activities. The keynote reception speaker is Dr. Mark Hussey, professor of agronomy and head of Texas A&M's department of soil and crop sciences. He will address the role of public crop breeding in modern agriculture.

Activities begin on Aug. 22 with registration from 7:45 to 8:15 a.m. at the Holiday Inn Suites & Towers. Gary Donaldson, TCPB research committee chairman, will open the day's sessions with an overview of the history and future goals of Texas corn breeding. A representative of the Texas Legislature will then discuss the role of Texas universities conducting crops research and support mechanisms for these projects.

A roundtable panel discussion will feature producer, industry, seed, and research perspectives on insects and disease, germplasm exchange, biotechnology, release of parental lines and hybrids, commercialization of research products, and Quality Protein Maize (QPM).

The two-day symposium should conclude around 12:15 p.m., and is the first in a series of planned annual conferences. In 2002, the event will move to College Station and focus on corn milling qualities and aflatoxin in white and yellow corns.

Contact the Texas Corn Producers Board at 806-763-2676 or from the Lubbock Center at 806-746-6101.

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