For two weeks in January I left Wichita, KS to travel to France and England for meetings. I would be attending the Limagrain Worldwide Marker Meetings in Clermont-Ferrand, France and the Limagrain Wheat Breeder’s meeting the following week in Docking, England.

My journey would start in Wichita trying to escape a predicted apocalyptic ice storm the day I was originally scheduled to depart. The airline actually called me to reschedule my flights and was able to get me out of Wichita a day earlier and escape the ice storm that ironically never really happened. Oh well, it afforded me one more day in France. Three flights and one taxi ride later, I woke up in Clermont-Ferrand, France, the wonderful home of Limagrain. I spent the next week meeting and exchanging ideas with Brazilian corn breeders, French Sunflower breeders, German oilseed rape breeders, molecular biologists and biostatisticians. Breeding is a process and it takes teams of people all doing their best work to produce a breakthrough. Within Limagrain, the goal is always to improve crop varieties for farmers, from earth to life. I can’t share specifically what we talked about, but in general terms, we talk about methods, approaches to problems, processes, successes and yes, failures.

The next week I traveled from France to England. Two more flights, countless London Underground metro train switches, and a two hour train ride into the countryside and I found myself checking into the Duke’s Head Inn in foggy King’s Lynn, England. It’s a seaport city in the east about 100 miles north of London. From here over the next week, I would travel to the UK Wheat Breeding station in Docking, England for the annual Limagrain Wheat Breeder’s meeting.

Over the next few days specific problems in wheat breeding would be discussed and shared from breeders all over the world. Canada, USA, Argentina, France, England, Germany, Israel, Spain, and the Czech Republic all represented in a collective worldwide wheat breeding force.

Until next time –

Dr. Marla Barnett

HRW Wheat Breeder