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Grounded by the Farm

May 26, 2021

Have you got a favorite plant breeder or maybe not even sure what plant breeding is about? This episode is for you either way! We talk with Dr. Lee Hickey who has a plant breeding lab at Australia's University of Queensland about some of the cool science that helps advance the seeds farmers plant and the foods on out plates.

I met Lee in the friendly confines of the vast wheat fields just outside Obregón where Norman Borlaug started his Noble Peace Prize winning work to enable developing countries to produce more food for themselves. We were at the CIMMYT (an international plant breeding effort for corn and wheat) with plant breeders from around the world to trade the latest in research tips and to celebrate what would have been Bourlaug's 100th birthday.

Lee's story starts strangely - in the city - in Australia called, Brisbane - a city on the East Coast of Australia just a short ways away from the Great Barrier Reef. Every state in Australia has an interest in agriculture, but in Queensland, where Lee now resides and does his research, it's a tropical to sub-tropical environment. In contrast, the plants that grow in Queensland, are much different than what grows in the Southern states of Australia that have a much cooler climate. While wheat and barley are grown there - mostly because of their drought-hearty properties, a lot of the work that Lee is focusing on is to foster on the speed at which the plants grow and evolve.

Read a full article with accompanying photos & videos at 

Get the detailed ai transcript 

Connect with Lee Hickey on Twitter 

The episode includes:

  • What is plant breeding?
  • Building In-Plant Resistance
  • Finding The Right Path in Agriculture
  • Cool Technology in Plant Breeding