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NDSU wheat breeder to receive Agribusiness Award at Harvest Bowl

Renowned NDSU wheat breeder and geneticist Richard Frohberg will be honored with the prestigious Agribusiness Award at NDSU’s 40th annual Harvest Bowl dinner and awards program Friday, Nov. 8, at 5:30 p.m. at the Ramada Plaza Suites, Fargo. The annual award recognizes individuals who have distinguished themselves in the field of agriculture and business in the state of North Dakota and beyond.

The festivities continue Saturday, Nov. 9, when the Bison football team plays Southern Illinois University.

The Harvest Bowl program also annually recognizes the success and dedication of outstanding agriculturists in 53 counties in North Dakota and 10 counties in Minnesota. More than 2,000 agriculturists have been recognized and, additionally, more than $120,000 in scholarships has been awarded to NDSU student athletes with agricultural backgrounds.

Frohberg was nominated by Ken Grafton, vice president, dean and director for agricultural affairs. Grafton wrote, “Dr. Frohberg was an exemplary plant breeder; his high level of performance and character distinguished him and the plant sciences department for its excellence in plant breeding and genetics, and brought recognition to NDSU throughout the state, nation and world.”

Frohberg began his career at NDSU in 1964 and became the principal investigator of the hard red spring wheat breeding program in 1966, a position he held until he retired in 2002. During his tenure, 25 varieties were released from Frohberg’s program, and an additional nine varieties were released after his retirement.

During a typical year during much of Frohberg’s career, more than 8 million acres of North Dakota farmland were planted to hard red spring wheat. According to Grafton, 70 to 80 percent of those acres were sown with varieties Frohberg created. “The significance of Dr. Frohberg’s research program is further emphasized when it is considered that on the average, during most of his career, 40 percent of the farm income in North Dakota was derived from the sale of hard red spring wheat,” Grafton wrote.

Among the many varieties attributed to Frohberg are “Butte 86,” “Reeder,” “Amidon,” “Fortuna,” “Parshall,” sawfly-resistant “Ernest,” “Glenn” and scab-resistant “Alsen.”

Grafton noted Frohberg also believed in sharing germplasm from his discoveries for the betterment of all. “Dr. Frohberg’s elite material was the source of desired agronomic, disease and quality traits for spring wheat production regions throughout the world,” Grafton wrote.

Frohberg, who lives in Fargo, earned his bachelor’s degree at Kansas State University, and his master’s degree and doctorate at Iowa State University. He is now a professor emeritus at NDSU.

His numerous honors include the 1987 Outstanding Agriculturalist Award from Alpha Zeta Fraternity, 1993 Distinguished Service Award from the North Dakota Crop Improvement Association, 1993 NDSU Faculty Economic Development Award, 1995 Excellence in Research, Senior Faculty from the NDSU College of Agriculture, 1999 Honorary Kernel by the North Dakota Grain Growers, the 2000 NDSU Research Foundation Fred L. Waldron Award and the 2001 Greater North Dakota Association Agricultural Award.

“The long and productive research career of Dr. Frohberg has benefited the entire state economically, but also benefited humanity,” Grafton wrote. “He released varieties that were in great demand by wheat producers in the state and region and met the requirements of the bread making and milling industries throughout the world.”

For more information about the 2013 Harvest Bowl, visit www.ndsualumni.com/netcommunity/page.aspx?pid=272, call 800-279-8971 or email Marilyn Doeden at marilyn@ndsualumni.com.

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