Dwight Kanter, a longtime rice breeder and research professor with the Mississippi Agricultural & Forestry Experiment Station, has retired. Tim Walker assumed Kanter’s duties.
Kanter moved from Nebraska to Mississippi State University’s Delta Research and Extension Center in 1988 to continue the efforts begun by the station’s early breeders. He spent 14 years breeding rice in Vietnam, the Philippines and Bangladesh while employed by the International Rice Research Institute located at Los Banos, Philippines. Kanter developed six varieties of rice: CL162, Rex, Litton, Pace and Priscilla. Litton, Pace, and Priscilla were all named after small Mississippi Delta towns.
Developing a rice variety to the point of having enough seed for commercial production can take 10 to 12 years. Kanter maintained about 100 advanced breeding lines and thousands of early generation progeny.
Kanter’s successor, Walker, has worked in Stoneville since 2002 and holds a doctoral degree in agronomy from MSU. He said he plans to continue on the foundation that was started by previous MSU rice breeders, including Ben Jackson and Kanter.
Walker helped Kanter develop and release two rice varieties, Rex and CL162. In addition to his breeding responsibilities, he is researching ways to optimize plant nutrition and agronomic practices. Recently, Walker was named Rice Researcher of the Year at the National Conservation Systems Cotton and Rice Conference. In May he was named to the Leadership for the 21st Century, or Lead21 program, for land-grant institutions.