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New Winter Wheat Breeder Named to Lead WSU Program

Arron Carter. Click image for high-resolution version.
Arron Carter. Click image for high-resolution version.

PULLMAN, Wash. – Arron Carter, a 2009 Ph.D. graduate with an emphasis in wheat breeding and genetics, is the new winter wheat breeder at Washington State University. The appointment was announced today at the annual WSU Spillman Agronomy Farm Field Day.

Carter, who completed his doctoral degree at WSU in May, emerged as a top candidate from a pool of more than 50 scientists from around the globe. He succeeds Professor Stephen Jones in the winter wheat breeding position. Jones assumed a new role as director of WSU’s Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center in Mount Vernon in March of this year.

“We are extremely excited to have Arron on board,” said CAHNRS Dean Dan Bernardo. “He brings an outstanding intellectual talent and impressive academic pedigrees to this position. I am struck by his enthusiasm and passion for plant breeding and his desire to help our agricultural producers become more profitable. There is no doubt that he will continue the rich legacy of outstanding cereal breeders at WSU.”

Carter will assume his new responsibilities beginning July 16. He has been a member of WSU’s wheat breeding and genetics program since 2006. His research has focused on developing a mapping population for a key spring wheat cross, and identifying genetic markers for important agronomic, end-use quality and pest resistance traits, specifically high-temperature adult plant resistance to stripe rust in the spring wheat cultivar Louise. Working with WSU spring wheat breeder and associate dean Kim Kidwell, he also has played a major role in the development of new spring wheat varieties for the Pacific Northwest.

“I’m excited about tackling the opportunities ahead,” Carter said. He said the industry faces issues surrounding wheat quality in the future as well as the marketing of Washington wheat overseas. He also noted the need to continue incorporating new technology into the breeding program to keep it fresh and relevant.

The one thing that sets WSU’s wheat program apart from others nationally? “The level of support we get from the Wheat Commission and industry is definitely unique,” Carter said. “Other states don’t get that kind of support.”

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