Vegetable Breeding Working Group (VGBR)

VGBR is part of the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS)

Minutes (2008 meeting)

  • Vegetable Breeding Working Group Business Meeting
  • American Society for Horticultural Science Annual Conference
  • Rosen Plaza Hotel, Orlando, Florida
  • 21 July 2007

Attendance. Kevin Crosby, Angela Davis, Jeremy Edwards, Mark Farnham, Richard Fery, Rebecca Grumet, Mark Hutton, Donald Maynard, Teddy Morelock, Beiquan Mou, Russell Nagata, Soon Park, Penelope Perkins-Veuzie, Kathy Reitsma, Ashish Saxeha, Jay Scott, Linda Wessel-Beaver, Tom Williams.

General business. Chair Angela Davis distributed meeting agenda and asked attendees to sign in. Then attendees each had a brief self-introduction. As the first order of business, the 2007 Vegetable Breeding Working Group business meeting minutes were unanimously approved. The minutes can be found in the working group’s web site maintained by Todd Wehner at North Carolina State University ( as well as in the ASHS web site ( It was suggested to add links of the ASHS web sites to the NC State web site.

Plant breeding coordinating committee. Linda Wessel-Beaver provided an update on the Plant Breeding Coordinating Committee meetings. As a Hatch project, it provides a forum for U.S. plant breeders to discuss issues of their interest and concern in research, education, and funding. It seeks to demonstrate how plant breeding serves the national interests and to increase grant funding and graduate training in plant breeding (translational genomics) research. The committee had its first meeting in February 2007 in Raleigh, N.C. and the second meeting in June 2008 in Des Moines, IA. The third meeting will be at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI in 2009. Linda encouraged participation and support of the committee. More information is on the web at: Signup on their mailing list by contacting Todd Wehner (

New business. Working group members were encouraged to apply for the new USDA $28.4 million funding for Specialty Crop Research Initiatives. The application deadline is August 14, 2008. 100% fund matching or cost sharing is required.

Workshop topics. Chair-elect Kevin Crosby led the discussion of colloquium and workshop topics for next year’s ASHS annual meeting. The proposal deadline for colloquia has been changed to Dec. 1, 2008 while the deadline for workshop proposals remains Feb. 15, 2009. Three possible topics were proposed: 1) Breeding for post-harvest quality and food safety; 2) Breeding for disease resistance; and 3) Breeding for phytonutrient content. Attendees then voted on the topics. The first two topics garnered about equal number of votes while the third topic got few votes. Kevin was charged to take a lead in developing a proposal for either of the first two topics.

Vegetable Breeding Award of Excellence. As nominator, Past ASHS President and Fellow Dr. Donald Maynard introduced and presented the 2008 Vegetable Breeding Award of Excellence to Dr. Tom Williams. Dr. Williams developed Jupiter pepper, Prelude okra, and Santana eggplant before becoming a full-time watermelon breeder with Syngenta Seeds, Inc. He participated in the development and release of 43 watermelon cultivars. Since 1986, Syngenta has produced 975,000 pound seeds from these cultivars, which is valued at $224 million and is sufficient to plant 2.9 million acres. Dr. Williams accepted the award at the meeting and thanked the working group members for the honor.

Election of secretary. Jeremy Edwards of University of Florida was nominated to be the new secretary of the working group. The members present unanimously voted to elect Jeremy to this position.

As no other business of interest was brought up, the meeting was adjourned.

Prepared by Secretary Beiquan Mou.

Web site for our working group: