Oklahoma State University received a $1.1 million donation this week from the Oklahoma Wheat Research Foundation and Oklahoma Genetics, Inc. for its Wheat Improvement Program.
Oklahoma Wheat Producers and the Oklahoma Wheat Commission indirectly contributed by donating to the Oklahoma Wheat Research Foundation.
OSU’s inter-disciplinary wheat improvement team is led by Regents Professor of Wheat Breeding and Genetics Brett Carver.
“A lot of different scientists came together with the common goal of producing new and better genetics and new and better varieties,” Carver said.
Their research focuses on improving drought, heat and disease resistance while increasing quality.
“It’s about combining the best genetics with appropriate management in the environment you’re in,” he said.
The program does more than research wheat varieties; it provides support for growers through the extension service.
Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Jim Reese said the state should be proud to be the home of a program like the one at OSU.
Carver is one of the premier wheat breeders, he said.
The evening also included a screening of “The Great American Wheat Harvest,” a recently released documentary that follows four families of custom harvesters as they make their way from as far south as Texas to the Canadian border during harvest season.
Some spend as long as six months on the road every year.
The Misener family of Elk City is one such family. They were featured in the film and attended Wednesday’s screening.
“There’s a lot of people that think bread comes from the grocery store; they don’t know it comes from wheat,” Kristy Misener said in the opening frames of the film.
Filmmaker Conrad Weaver said his purpose in making the movie was to help the public understand what goes on in agriculture.