Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Plant breeder Wayne Freeman passes away at age 100

Dr. Wayne Henry Freeman, 100, passed away recently (7 April) in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA. A world-renown plant breeder, he joined the Rockefeller Foundation's agricultural program in India in 1961. He was to spend the next 30 years on that side of the globe working on seed production for rice and corn.

He assisted the seed industry in taking advantage of the new crop varieties being developed by the Rockefeller Foundation and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). He was a Rockefeller-appointed joint coordinator (with S.V.S. Shastry) of the then newly established All-India Rice Improvement Program from 1966 to 1976. In 1976, he moved to Kathmandu, Nepal, as team leader for Rockefeller's International Agricultural Development Service.

Wayne worked closely with IRRI in India during the early days of the Green Revolution. In a clip from his IRRI Pioneer Interview on 21 June 2008 at Michigan State University, he talked about the importance of using best agronomic practices to take advantage of the quantum jump in rice's yield potential gained during the Green Revolution.

He co-authored (with B.R. Barwale) a book, Seeds of change: growth of the Indian seed industry, 1961 and beyond, which documents the growth of the country's seed industry to about 200 seed companies with a gross turnover of about $1 billion per year.

Read his full obituary

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