Tribute to Carl Johnson - 2007




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Rice Research Board Chairman, Tom McClellan



Thank you, Carl!

After a remarkable 34-year career at the Rice Experiment Station (RES), Calrose medium-grain plant breeder Carl W. Johnson will be retiring in July 2008. His accomplishments will help prosper the California rice industry for generations.

He came to work at RES for the California Cooperative Rice Research Foundation (CCRRF) in 1974, after receiving his Ph.D. in agronomy and plant genetics from the University of Nebraska. Johnson earned his bachelorís degree in agronomy from Kansas State University and his masterís degree in agronomy from North Dakota State.

Dr. Johnson devoted his entire professional career to developing improved rice cultivars for the California rice industry. During his employment, RES has released 38 rice varieties to California growers. Of the 14 Calrose type medium-grain varieties, his primary responsibility, several have been particularly successful. Industry standard M-202 was released in 1985 and is still grown on more than 30% of the California rice acreage. More recent releases, M-205 and M-206, which combine high yield potential and improved milling, are now grown on comparable acreages. M-208, with resistance to the race of rice blast disease found in California, marks another accomplishment.

Dr. Johnson played a major role in the release of 10 premium-quality medium grains, short grains, and waxy varieties and was a contributor to 10 long-grain releases from RES, as well as several germplasm releases. He was instrumental in obtaining Plant Variety Protection for CCRRF varieties and holds three utility patents on rice cultivars, and two additional patents pending on a cultivar and a plant height mutant allele. The return to California rice growers credited to improved varieties during Dr. Johnsonís tenure at RES is conservatively estimated at more than $1 billion.

Dr. Johnson has certainly been a well-recognized member of the U.S. rice research community and a strong advocate of ďin the field plant breeding.Ē He is a member of many honorary societies and has received well-deserved recognition for his professional accomplishments, including the California Rice Industry Award in 2004 and the Distinguished Service Award form the Rice Technical Working Group in 2008.

Rice Field Day wonít be quite the same without Carlís booming, authoritative voice and good humor telling growers how it is from the back of a flatbed truck. We express our deepest gratitude to Carl and wish him all the best in retirement.


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