New wheat variety honors Sen. Bob Dole

Bronze Star. World Food Prize. Congressional Gold Medal.

There are many accolades that former Sen. Bob Dole, R-KS, has gathered over his lifetime of service.

But now he can add “wheat variety namesake” to the list.

Syngenta and the Kansas Wheat Commission announced Jan. 31 the release of a new hard red winter wheat variety honoring Kansas’s favorite son, “Bob Dole.”

The wheat was developed at Kansas State University and will be available through AgriPro brand for the 2018 fall planting season. The release is possible through a public-private partnership among Syngenta, the Kansas Wheat Commission and Kansas Wheat Alliance.

According to the news release, the Bob Dole variety features a good disease package with leaf and stripe rust tolerance as well as fusarium head blight tolerance. Even more important will be the expected excellent end-use quality characteristics combined with good grain and forage yield. The variety could do well in dual-purpose systems in central Kansas and Oklahoma.

As a son of Russell, Kansas, Sen. Dole built a reputation for putting farmers and hungry people first. Dole reached across the aisle to Democratic Sen. George McGovern of South Dakota to create the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program. This food aid program, under the 2002 farm bill, coordinates U.S. ag commodities, financial and technical assistance to provide school children, mothers and infants more than 22 million meals in more than 41 foreign countries. In 2008 Dole and McGovern were honored with the World Food Prize.

More recently, on Jan. 17, Sen. Dole was honored with the Congressional Gold Medal for his service to the nation as a soldier, legislator and statesman.

“I am honored to be the namesake of this new wheat variety that will be grown in America’s Heartland,” Dole said in the press release. “Wheat feeds people across the country and throughout the world, so I am particularly humbled that my name is attached to such a fundamental source of global nutrition. I believe in the value of this partnership between Syngenta and the Kansas Wheat Commission—an alliance that will ensure continued access to quality food.” 

Jennifer M. Latzke can be reached at 620-227-1807 or [email protected].