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A New $2M Grant to Drive Development of Corn Hybrids for the Organic Market

A new $2 million federal grant will help researchers develop improved seed corn specifically bred to advance the organic grain industry. The grant will be used by research teams at Iowa State University, the University of Illinois, and the University of Puerto Rico.

This funding will allow the teams to incorporate new breeding techniques into their program, which will accelerate the rate at which new hybrids for organic production can be developed.

Paul Scott, a USDA research geneticist and affiliate professor at Iowa State, explained that one of the goals of the program is to create hybrids that carry traits being sought by organic farmers, such as corn with higher content of the methionine, an essential nutrient key for the organic poultry feed industry.

Another goal for the team is to create hybrids that resist pollination by transgenic pollen that blows over from adjacent conventional fields - a challenge that has resulted in financial losses for organic growers.

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