Texas A&M University soil and crop sciences associate department head Dr. Wayne Smith has been named “Plant Breeder of the Year” and also the first recipient of the B.B. Singh Crop Science Award.
Smith was recognized as Plant Breeder of the Year during the 67th Corn and Sorghum Seed Research Conference-American Seed Trade Association in Chicago. In addition, the B.B. Singh award was made at the department’s annual meeting in College Station.
Dwight Bostick, chair of the National Council of Commercial Plant Breeders, said the public plant breeding award has been presented since 1963 in recognition of individual scientific contributions toward the betterment of American agriculture.
Smith, who has been with Texas A&M for the past 27 years, has committed his life as a plant breeder and scientist, Bostick said, in presenting the award.
“Dr. Smith is very active in promoting the education and training of the next generation of plant breeders,” Bostick said. “He’s already made an impact in the plant breeding community and his legacy will continue.”
Smith also is the recipient of the B.B. Singh Crop Science Award. Dr. B.B. Singh is a visiting scientist from India who has been working in the soil and crop science department since 2007.
“Dr. Smith has excelled at many levels, including administrative, breeding, teaching, and managerial duties,” Singh said. “He leads one of the state’s and country’s largest public cotton breeding programs while performing significant teaching and administrative duties as associate department head and graduate coordinator.”
In addition, Dr. David Baltensperger, soil and crop sciences department head, said, “Dr. Smith has truly made a difference for plant breeding through his own research, but it is especially significant to see Wayne recognized for his leadership in developing programs to train future plant breeders through the world’s first distance research-based doctoral program in plant breeding.”
Smith’s landmark achievements include the development of nine cotton germplasm lines that equal or exceed Pima cotton in terms of fiber length.