COLLEGE STATION – Dr. Jackie Rudd, Regents Fellow and Texas A&M AgriLife Research wheat breeder in Amarillo, has been named a 2016 Faculty Fellow by AgriLife Research.
AgriLife Research established the Faculty Fellows Program in 1998 to acknowledge and reward exceptional research faculty within the agency.
“Dr. Rudd heads the renowned Texas A&M AgriLife hard winter wheat breeding program for the High Plains and Rolling Plains of Texas,” according to the award presentation. “Called the best U.S. wheat breeder in our modern time, he is said to have changed the landscape of the Texas wheat industry.”
Since arriving in Amarillo from South Dakota State University in 2001 as an associate professor of wheat breeding, Rudd has provided extraordinary leadership to the statewide wheat breeding program through varietal development and releases, according to his nomination.
He was promoted to professor of wheat breeding at AgriLife Research-Amarillo and in the Texas A&M soil and crop sciences department in 2009, and has developed the vision for the statewide wheat breeding and genetics program.
The first wheat cultivars released under his tenure at AgriLife Research were TAM 111 in 2003 and TAM 112 in 2005. Gaining rapid popularity with wheat producers, these currently are the predominant varieties grown in Texas and western Kansas, according to the nomination.
Rudd has said drought tolerance, stripe rust resistance, greenbug resistance, wheat streak mosaic virus tolerance, high yield and excellent bread-making quality are some of the reasons for this high rate of adoption.
The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service conducted an economic impact study in 2009 and concluded that the adoption of higher yielding wheat varieties resulted in an increase in net returns for growers in Texas of $20.2 million.
Since that study, new varieties that have been licensed and will begin to show adoption in the next few years are TAM 203, TAM 304, TAM 401 and TAM 113.
Rudd’s program has also gained recognition in wheat genetics and genomics, and his team’s research has led to collaboration with Bayer CropScience. He is involved with growers, seedsmen, and the milling and baking industries, and he travels worldwide representing the U.S. wheat industry.
He was named a Texas A&M Regents Fellow in 2013. The Texas Wheat Producers Board and Association named him the “2010 Wheat Man of the Year,” and the TAM varieties he helped develop were recognized as the highest quality wheat in 2007 with the Wheat Quality Council “Best of Show” award.