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USDA Research Center in Stuttgart Commemorates 25 Years of Contributions to the Rice Industry

Contact: Jessica Ryan

STUTTGART, Ark., Aug. 2, 2023 – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center (DBNRRC) held an open house today to commemorate 25 years of research accomplishments and scientific breakthroughs in rice research.

The event was launched by key Agricultural Research Service and University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture leaders, including Sanah Baig, Deputy Under Secretary for USDA’s Research, Education, and Economics, and Dr. Deacue Fields III, Vice President for Agriculture, University of Arkansas System, providing remarks.

“Since its establishment in 1998, USDA’s DBNRRC has been the epicenter for cutting-edge research on rice,” said Baig. “Co-located with the University of Arkansas in Stuttgart, researchers from both organizations ensure that rice – a staple food crop for billions of people around the world –is increasingly climate-smart, nutritious, affordable, and appealing to consumers. By helping producers grow in a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable manner, our research also helps U.S. rice production successfully compete in the national and global marketplace.”

DBNRRC scientists, along with research partners from universities across the country, play vital roles in sustaining the U.S. rice industry by identifying rice genes that improve yield, quality, disease resistance, stress tolerance, and by developing improved breeding material that can then be used to develop new cultivars.

x Biological science technician LaDuska Sells shows visitors the laboratory during the 25th anniversary celebration of the Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center in Stuttgart, Arkansas. (University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture photo by Ryan McGeeney)

Major research accomplishments by DBNRRC scientists include:

Scientists also conduct research on increasing pest resistance and stress tolerance in rice cultivars.

“Blast disease, sheath blight disease, bacterial panicle blight disease, and false smut disease are the four significant constraints of rice production in the United States and worldwide,” said Dr. Yulin Jia, acting research leader and center director at DBNRRC. “These diseases are being studied by DBNRRC scientists to help the U.S. rice industry remain competitive in the global marketplace.”

The research center also rejuvenates and characterizes a collection of about 19,000 rice germplasm lines and cultivars from 114 countries.

Following the opening remarks, academic leaders from the University of Arkansas and Colorado State University, rice producers, and other industry experts shared highlights of the partnership and research achievements.

On Aug. 3, the DBNRRC staff will also jointly host a Rice Field Day with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture at the research center, which is geared toward rice producers and consultants according to Dr. Jean-François Meullenet, senior associate vice president for agriculture research and director of the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station.

The Agricultural Research Service is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific in-house research agency. Daily, ARS focuses on solutions to agricultural problems affecting America. Each dollar invested in U.S. agricultural research results in $20 of economic impact.