National Wheat Improvement Committee
The purpose of the National Wheat Improvement Committee (NWIC) is to fortify the nation’s wheat improvement research capacity.
Historically, the NWIC has primarily been an organization of public wheat breeders. In 2011, it underwent a restructuring to allow for more stakeholder involvement, including more participation from wheat farmers.
(For more about the new structure, see the NWIC organizational chart here.)
NWIC’s activities have also shifted in response to the changing political and research environment. Past NWIC activities have focused on seeking additional Congressional appropriations for wheat through Congressionally-directed spending and other additions to the USDA research budget.
As federal funding for agriculture research decreases and more private companies become involved in wheat research, the new NWIC structure should allow for representation from stakeholder groups and private scientists, including on subcommittees focusing on advocacy and public-private researcher relations.
The group recently completed leadership elections, selecting Dr. Brett Carver, wheat breeder from Oklahoma State University, as its new chair and Dr. Paul Murphy, small grains breeder at North Carolina State University, as vice chair.
To facilitate work of the organization, NAWG has agreed to formally serve as the secretariat of NWIC, assisting the group’s volunteer leaders in day-to-day activities of the organization.
This new role builds on a longstanding relationship between the two groups; among other things, NAWG and NWIC sponsor a research fly-in each winter to educate Members of Congress about the importance of a strong public research system.