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Tom Isleib: A profile in courage

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• North Carolina State University Plant Breeder Tom Isleib provided peanut varieties that helped growers in the Southeast weather record rainfall this year.

• After suffering a severe stroke, North Carolina State plant breeder tom Isleib continues to work to produce new and better peanut varieties.

• New high oleic peanut varieties are on tap for North Carolina peanut breeder Tom Isleib.

Jordan who is the peanut specialist in North Carolina, noted that Isleib’s contribution to the peanut industry has never been more important than this year. “Without Bailey and Sugg, which came from his breeding program, a lot of peanut growers would have been overwhelmed with disease pressure because of the excessive rain we had pretty much throughout the state this year,” Jordan says.

Just by visiting with Tom Isleib recently during back to back field days in North Carolina and Virginia, a person would surely be impressed by his passion for developing new peanut varieties to help growers.

If anything his pride in having provided Bailey and Sugg to growers is exceeded by his passion for two new high oleic varieties, Sullivan and Wynne that are currently under evaluation in Maria Balota’s PVQE (Peanut Variety and Quality Evaluation) program at Virginia Tech.

Already gearing up for the future, Isleib says he’s confident virtually all the Virginia type peanuts grown in the future will be high oleic varieties. In addition to Sullivan and Wynne, he says he is also looking at a high oleic Bailey variety.

From literally thousands of potential varieties, Isleib has years labored in relative anonymity to find the perfect ones that combine production characteristics that growers need to produce top yields and one that buyers want for use in myriad peanut products.

Just surviving such a medical disaster is reason enough to be grateful, but Tom Isleib has taken on his recovery and return to a high level of professional performance as something akin to a pursuit of the Holy Grail.

His story is truly a profile in courage and one that peanut growers across the country should recognize and reward.

rroberson@farmpress.com

 

 

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