AgBioResearch Dry Bean Breeder Named CSSA Fellow

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James Kelly, crop and soil sciences researcher, has been named fellow of the Crop Science Society of America. (view larger image)

James D. Kelly, AgBio crop and soil sciences researcher, has been named a fellow of the Crop Science Society of America (CSSA). It is the highest recognition bestowed by the CSSA, awarded to no more than 0.3 percent of the organization’s active and emeritus members annually.

Kelly directs the MSU dry bean breeding and genetics program, using molecular markers to assist in selection for enhanced yield, plant architecture, processing quality, drought tolerance and disease resistance. He is serves as faculty coordinator of the Saginaw Valley Dry Bean and Sugar Beet Research Farm, one of 14 MAES field stations.

Kelly pioneered the development of basic molecular tools to enhance the efficiency of bean breeding that are now widely used by bean breeders throughout the world. He has released 34 dry bean varieties in 11 commercial seed classes that have helped diversify bean production in Michigan and contributed to lower production costs.

“This is a very well-deserved honor,” said Doug Buhler, MAES associate director. “Jim is a world leader in dry bean breeding and genetics research and his contributions have benefited people in Michigan and around the world.”

Kelly’s international work includes serving as principal investigator for the Pulse Collaborative Research Support Program, which has resulted in the release of six successful bean varieties for Mexico and four varieties for Ecuador. He is also president of the Bean Improvement Cooperative (BIC), a volunteer organization promoting the exchange of information and materials for the improvement of bean production worldwide.

Kelly received a bachelor’s degree in botany and a bachelor of agriculture degree in agricultural botany from Queens University of Belfast, Northern Ireland, and master’s and doctoral degrees in plant breeding and genetics from the University of Wisconsin. He has been an MSU faculty member since 1980. He received the Distinguished Faculty Award from MSU in 2007. Kelly also has been honored by the Michigan Crop Improvement Association with an Honorary Membership Award, the Meritorious Service Award and the Distinguished Achievement Award.

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