National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Research and Business Development Action Team (RBDAT) members Gary Davis and Pam Johnson attended a recent NCGA workshop in Alexandria, Va., aimed at laying out a framework for the future of corn genetic research.

Davis and Johnson discussed with government, industry and academia representatives on how to utilize the collective resources of all sectors to efficiently generate and move maize genetic technology from the lab to the field

“This initial workshop was developed in order to put together a robust plan to show policymakers that the maize genetic community is organized, and investment in corn research will allow U.S. producers to provide food, fuel, feed and fiber to all markets,” said Johnson.

The NCGA has been successful in increasing funding for the National Science Foundation’s National Plant Genome Initiative from $40 million in 1998 to more than $100 million in 2006. With this increase, the sequencing of the corn genome is under way and due to reach a major milestone within the next two years.

“The driving force behind this meeting is to keep funding strong for research in corn,” said Davis. “In doing so, we must have a scientifically driven plan — receiving the buy in of all stakeholders — focused on applying research to the field in a timely manner and flexible enough to accept the ever-changing advances in genetic technologies.”

The results from this meeting will be submitted to the entire maize research community for comment and be the foundation for programmatic and funding programs in the future. There will also be a push to create an international consortium on research related to maize to better leverage U.S. resources.