Fangming Xie (third from right in photo), senior scientist at IRRI and coordinator of the Hybrid Rice Development Consortium, joined six young researchers for lunch on 18 May.
Dr. Xie, a plant breeder with many years of experience working in Asia and North America, has provided strategic leadership and oversight to IRRI’s hybrid rice research and development and has developed hybrid rice parents, germplasm, and hybrid varieties for commercial production.
He has also received scientific awards for his achievements and patented hybrid rice products in the United States. Dr. Xie earned his PhD in plant breeding at the Texas A&M University and worked at RiceTec before coming to IRRI.
During the lunch, Dr. Xie shared his intriguing story on working on a farm at age 17 in China for 3 years during the Cultural Revolution. He then went on to earn his BS and MS degrees with Dr. Yuan Longping, the Chinese agricultural scientist and educator known as the "Father of Hybrid Rice," for his development of the first hybrid rice varieties in the 1970s. At IRRI since 2005, Dr. Xie is leaving the institute to work again with Dr. Longping in Changsha, China.
Dr. Xie also shared many interesting facts about hybrid rice production, including the current use of helicopters and drones for pollination, as well as the policies of the Chinese government that require farmers to grow certain varieties.
“Stay focused on your product and your objective," he advised the young researchers. "Also get out of your office and into the field as much as possible,”
The luncheon participants were Joseph Sandro, Kimberly Ponce, Gudina Legese Feyisa, Nitika Sandhu, Yang Jiang, Hongkai Wu, and Lingli Zhang.
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