At the International Congress of Genetics in New Delhi in 1983, I stressed the need for a conservation continuum, beginning with revitalizing conservation of domesticated plants by farm families in all countries, and extending to the establishment of an international genetic resource repository maintained under permafrost conditions. Since then, thanks to the spread of participatory breeding and knowledge-management systems involving scientists and local communities, on-farm conservation and gene banks have become integral parts of national biodiversity conservation strategies. For example, there are now over 125,000 genetic strains of rice, of which over 100,000 are in a cryogenic gene bank maintained by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines. This gene pool is invaluable for adapting one of the world’s most important cereal grains to the consequences of global climate change.
Si monumentum requiris circumspice.
Meet Tom Barse, a Maryland farmer and brewer:
We used to sell hops to local breweries until we opened Milkhouse Brewery at Stillpoint Farm, in 2013, where we now use all of the hops we grow. A few years back, at an agricultural conference at Linganore Wine Cellars, I met Dr. Ray Ediger, a retired veterinarian living in Utica in Frederick County. He told me about an old hop plant growing on his farm that had been there for years, and wanted to know if I was interested in checking it out.
Tom continues, “I went out to Ray’s farm and was amazed to see this enormous hop plant that had taken over his chicken coop, fence, and other farm buildings. Fellow hop growers Brad Humbert, Del Hayes, and I went out and picked some of the hops in early October – which is extremely late for a harvest in Maryland.
We thought we had something pretty cool, so working with Janna Howley and Kevin Atticks at Grow and Fortify we were able to get a USDA/MDA grant to research the hop and make beer. We donated the germplasm to the USDA plant bank and have received a USDA PI number (plant introduction).
That PI number is 700807, and you can see it right there on the beer bottles.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a genebank accession number quoted on a commercial product like that. Thanks to Dr Peter Bretting of USDA for the headsup.
LATER: Oh yes I have :)