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Jerry Miller Receives ISA’s Pustovoit Award

Monday, September 1, 2008
filed under: Research and Development

Dr. Jerry Miller, retired sunflower research geneticist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service, was among this year’s recipients of the prestigious V.S. Pustovoit Award presented by the International Sunflower Association. The award was presented during the 2008 International Sunflower Conference held in Cordoba, Spain, in June.

Other recipients were Antonio Hall of Argentina, Luka Cuk of France, Ferenc Viranyi of Hungary and Viktor Burlov from the Ukraine.

The Pustovoit Award is named after the famed USSR (Russian) sunflower breeder V.S. Pustovoit, who is credited with creating the black oilseed sunflower over a 20-year period from the 1930s to the 1950s. Including the 2008 contingent, the award has been bestowed on just 29 individuals since its inception in 1980. Previous U.S. winners include Murray Kinman, Charles Heiser, Gerhardt (Gary) Fick and Florin Stoenescu. Canadians Eric Putt and Wally Sackston also are recipients of the award.

Miller, who grew up on a wheat farm near Sidney, Neb., received B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Nebraska and his Ph.D from North Dakota State University. Following two years working in private industry, he returned to NDSU to work on hybrid wheat seed production and breeding.

In 1976 Miller joined the USDA-ARS Oilseed Research Unit in Fargo as a sunflower and flax geneticist. During his career, he released 225 germplasm lines and genetic stocks and authored 216 scientific publications. Among Miller’s many accomplishments was his leading role in the development of NuSun® mid-oleic sunflower and in the introduction of herbicide resistance into sunflower.

A past president of the International Sunflower Association, Miller was one of the principal organizers of the 2004 International Sunflower Conference, held in Fargo. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy and the Crop Science Society of America.

In 2007 Miller received the National Sunflower Association’s Gold Award, the highest recognition within the U.S. sunflower industry, for his numerous contributions to sunflower improvement during his 31-year USDA career.

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