Sad news and glad news

We begin with the sad news: Charlie Brown, former oat breeder at the University of Illinois, passed away last Friday, June 1st. His funeral will be held this Friday, June 8th. More information about that and about Charlie can be found here. Charlie was also honoured with the Distinguished Service to Oat Improvement Award. It was Charlie who bred cv. ‘Ogle’ – one of the most famous and well-used oat varieties! After he retired, he helped Fran Webster run the Quaker Oats Consortium. That was the group (and I was part of it!) that produced some of the first molecular markers and genetic maps for oat. Charlie truly made great contributions to our community (and society, in general).

In happier news, Melania Figueroa has been honoured for her contributions! She was recently presented with the American Phytopathological Society’s Syngenta Award “for an outstanding recent contribution to teaching, research, or extension in plant pathology”.

Continuing with the plant pathology theme, please note that Katie Liberatore is no longer coordinating activities relating to the Cereal Rust Bulletin. We wish Katie the best of luck with her new endeavours, and welcome Sam Gale, who’ll be taking over from Katie.

I recently sent out an update from the Practical Farmers of Iowa. If you’d like to keep up-to-date with their news and activities, you can sign up for updates here. The most recent issue of the ScanOats newsletter (#6, May) is here.

NAMA’s “Weekly Grind” newsletter reports the following:
Last week the Senate Appropriations Committee considered and approved their FY2019 Agriculture Appropriations package. Included in the report was language providing an additional $1 million for oat research at ARS. The House Agriculture Appropriations bill approved earlier in May included the same language and funding level. NAMA has been meeting with members of Congress over the past several months on the importance of additional funding for oat research within ARS and supported the inclusion of the language in both bills. Additionally the bill provided $2.97 billion in discretionary funding for FDA, a $159 million increase over FY2018 enacted levels. The bill also provided $1.716 billion for Food for Peace (PL480) and $210.255 million for the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program.”

There is a new report by Weikai Yan and Judith Frégeau-Reid in our own “Research Reports” section. Older information, in the form of proceedings from previous International Oat Conferences, is also available now. Many thanks to Gabe Gusmini and Lisa Wiggins from PepsiCo, who arranged to have the original IOC books scanned!

There are two items in our “Community news” section: my Web Harvest for April and May, and a reprint of an article by Neal Robertson, former World Porridge Champion. Don’t miss the articles in the Web Harvest about the upcoming Irish Porridge Championships!

For those of you still waffling (oat waffles, maybe?), you can still join everyone at the American Oat Workers Conference in Seattle later this month. I hope to see many of you there!