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Fostering Sustainable Agriculture through Research, Education and Policy since 1984

On Planting Seeds

Planting seed is such a metaphorical, yet physical act. You hope they will grow. You are thinking of the future and planning for a point in time that you have not yet reached. Harvest is both in the past and the future, but today is the day for planting seeds. There is a quote by Robert Louis Stevenson that speaks to this, “don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.” It is true, that while we had a successful planting, we know nothing yet of what this season will bring. That story will have to play out on its own.

I suppose I should speak of research goals and objectives, but it’s hard to not appreciate the beauty and wonder that a seed can bring to the world. When you farm or garden, you plant that beauty and wonder. On the research end of things, through gametophytic incompatibility, we continue to breed varieties of corn that will be able to reject pollen (including GMO pollen) from other corn plants. We are working on high quality corn varieties for improved nutritional value, investigating varieties suitable for food, and running a yield trial for the United States Testing Network (USTN). Planting seed is refreshing; everything is new once again.

As we welcome summer, it is amazing to think that these small corn seeds in the soil may grow into plants that tower above me in such a short period of time, but today they are just little seedlings. Little seedlings that may grow to be three meters, but little seedlings nonetheless.