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Digital Library of South Dakota

About this collection

Edgar McFadden was a scientist who made breakthroughs in wheat genetics in South Dakota and Texas. He conducted an aggressive breeding program in wheat, oats, corn and barley. From a single seed he developed a spring wheat variety that was immune to stem rust. Aptly, he named it ‘Hope’. Hope wheat was the first successful mating between common wheat and an ancestral wheat species, an accomplishment that most scientists of the time believed was impossible. This accomplishment set the stage for greater wheat production during World War II, the recovery years afterward, and the Green Revolution. After graduating in 1918 from South Dakota State with a B.S. degree in Agriculture, McFadden began a career with the USDA Bureau of Plant Industry and later became an enabling colleague with Norman Borlaug during the Rockefeller Foundation wheat improvement program in Mexico from 1944 to 1955.

 
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