Crop Germplasm Committee  (CGC) for Pecans and Hickories

MINUTES  OF  MEETING  AT  Las Cruces, NM, 3:30PM, March 2, 2008
Socorro Room, Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces


Members:   Lem Chesher, Bill Goff, L. J. Grauke, Marvin Harris, Willaim Reid, Steve Sibbett, Tommy Thompson, and Bruce Wood    
Visitors:    Tom Crocker, Charles Graham, Richard Heerema, Mike Kilby, Bill Ree and Mike Smith                     

Minutes approved.   The meeting was called to order by Chairperson Thompson.  The minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved.  

NPGS Germplasm Evaluation Proposals (GEP).   Thompson announced the approval of the recently submitted proposal “Feeding Preference, Olfaction of Green Leaf Volatiles, and Host-Plant Resistance of Pecan (Carya species) to Formosan Subterranean Termites Coplotermes formosanus Shiraki in Texas” for $15,600 to James Austin and Roger Gold, Texas A&M University, College Station.  Thompson and Grauke will also be furnishing plant material for this test.  Graham reviewed the danger the Formosan subterranean termite poses in Louisiana and other areas.  A discussion of this research followed.

Grauke reviewed the ongoing research of the GEP with Seiichi Miyamoto “Developing Simple Techniques for Screening Pecan Rootstock for Salt Tolerance” which had been funded for $16,087 June 29, 2007.  Improved salt tolerance for rootstocks in the West continues to be a high priority research item.  Results to date were discussed.  It appears that high concentrations of the chloride ion are much more important than the sodium ion.

Thompson then reviewed the GEP proposal process.   Thompson usually receives a letter inviting submission of GEP proposals in July each year stating that proposals are due in Oct.  The proposals are always for the next ARS fiscal year, but extensions are always allowed.  The grants are usually for one year and for $15,000 to $20,000.  The objective of any grant should involve the collection of data that will be entered into GRIN.  Thompson will forward information on dates for submission when received.  Members were encouraged to think about what projects should be initiated, and encourage other researchers to initiate these proposals.  This committee has been highly successful in obtaining funding of these GEP projects.  

Repository Activities:    Grauke reviewed recent progress.  Wood reviewed the status of the Provenance Test that Grauke and Wood established at College Station, TX and Byron, GA.  The trees at Byron have been thinned by moving the excess trees to a new area near the entrance to the Byron Lab.  Only three trees died.  Extra money was obtained from the ARS NGRL (National Germplasm Resources Laboratory) for this work.   This spacing out of the trees will allow for a more permanent experiment and allow the trees to develop naturally.

GRIN:  Grauke reviewed progress on data entry and plans to continue to update the system to make this system more useful for pecan and hickory, and other clonally propagated crops.  Grauke is past Chair of the PGOC (Plant Germplasm Operations Committee), and has lead many efforts to improve data entry in GRIN.

National Pecan Advanced Clone Testing System (NPACTS):  Thompson opened a discussion on the new MTA (Material Transfer Agreement) being developed to allow pecan NPACTS clones to be sent to NPACTS cooperators so that they could be grown and tested in all pecan growing areas of the U.S.  Various questions and concerns were brought up and discussed.  Thompson noted that the final wording for the MTA was still being developed.  The existence of growers with unreleased clones was discussed, and Thompson reiterated that no one should possess any unreleased numbered USDA clone without an MTA in effect with the USDA Pecan Breeding Program.  Large plantings of unreleased selections would never be allowed, and the number of trees under test of each selection by a cooperator would be perhaps 20.  Any propagation of any ARS selection would have to be approved in advance.  Thompson noted that he maintains a complete inventory of all cooperators and what clones each was testing. 
The possibility of patents on state-developed and released pecan varieties was discussed, and the potential that this action could inhibit the sharing and testing of new potential selections, as well as newly released, patented varieties.  The success of patenting other varieties of other crops in Georgia was noted, and how this generated monies for all breeding programs of all crops in this state.  Thompson noted that Texas was patenting peach varieties, and some other crops.  He stated that ARS probably would never patent since most monies generated would not go to this national breeding program.  He would not recommend patenting new ARS varieties.

Regional Project:  Grauke introduced ideology to form a Southern Regional Research Project (SRRP).  These projects provide money for travel and research.  Reid and Harris reviewed aspects of these projects, and discussed the success of the current pecan insect project.  The projects have to be headed and set up by a state researcher, and a state experiment station director has to be in charge.  One of the first things needed would be a list of objectives.  The need for publishable research to justify continued funding was discussed.  Thompson noted that NPACTS testing plots could also generate all kinds of research papers in major horticultural and other journals.  Other types of research that might be a part of the objectives were also discussed.  Such a project could not be a part of our CGC, but as a group, we wish to encourage the formation of such a project.  Perhaps such a project could meet in conjunction with our committee when appropriate.  It was generally agreed that we should pursue the establishment of such a project for pecan research.  Mike Smith agreed to pursue the establishment of such a project by discussing it with interested pecan researchers at the next Southern Regional Meeting of the American Society for Horticultural Science.  Then Mike will convey the specifics discussed to our members at the next CGC meeting. 
New Business  None.
Next Meeting.   Place and time of next meeting was considered.  After some discussion, it was agreed that we would meet in conjunction with the National Pecan Research Conference to be held in the summer, 2009, at the Noble Foundation, Ardmore, OK. 

Meeting Adjourned