National Small Grains Collection In Aberdeen


By Michelle Costa

Aberdeen, Idaho (KMVT-TV) - Did you know that a very special collection can be found right in the Gem State?

The National Small Grains Collection is located in Aberdeen, Idaho.

There are only a dozen like it in the entire nation.

The collection represents global diversity of thousands of small grains.

Harold Bockelman is the Supervisory Agronomist and Curator of the National Small Grains Collection in Aberdeen.

"This is something I really enjoy. I've been doing it for 20 years now and I know the collection well, what's in it and where it comes from. There is always something new and different,” said Harold Bockelman, National Small Grains Collection.

There are 140–thousand small grains in the collection right now; it's a number that continues to grow.

"The small grain crops.. wheat, barley, oat, rye, triticale and rice. These materials have been collected over the last 110 years from around the world,” said Bockelman.

The collection is for breeding and research.

They freely distribute seed to scientists worldwide.

"There are threats to the crops especially diseases and insects that keep changing and we need a diverse collection to be able to look for resistance to something or a new trait that often occurs from seed from other places. We have safety backups so the seeds we have at this location are physically backed up so if some tragedy happened here, this seed is not lost, it can be restarted,” said Bockelman.

A plan for the future, in case the unimaginable happens.

The collection was officially organized in 1948 in Maryland.

It was moved to its present location at Aberdeen in October 1988.

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