Dr. Jamie Sherman, associate professor and plant breeder with the Montana State University, was recently elected to the role of vice-chair of the National Barley Improvement Committee (NBIC). The NBIC is an organization representing the U.S. barley community of growers, researchers, processors, users, and allied industries that advocate for sound farm policy and research funding at the federal level. Leadership for the committee is provided by the American Malting Barley Association (AMBA). Sherman will serve as the vice-chair for two years and will assume the chair role in 2024 at the conclusion of current chair’s term, Corey Mosher. Mosher is a crop farmer from New York state and has been producing barley for the craft malt and beer industry.
Sherman has built a barley breeding program at Montana State University focused on the needs of the growers in Montana and of the malting barley industry. She has been especially interested in developing improved varieties that can be resilient to the challenges that a changing climate presents. Sherman, who has been a member of the committee since 2014, noted she is “looking forward to continuing to work together to improve barley for the whole supply chain and build support for that work.” She added she is “particularly excited about the new initiative planned to overcome challenges barley faces around the country.”
The primary activity of the NBIC is an annual legislative fly-in where the committee travels to Washington, D.C. to present industry priorities to their congressional members. The primary ask for the upcoming federal fiscal year is full funding of the Barley Pest Initiative, a collaborative effort to tackle over 20 insect and disease pressures through improved breeding and management practices. It currently receives $2 million of the $5.3 million requested annually. Tentatively, an additional $1 million has been written into both the Senate and House FY23 budgets. Visit the NBIC website to learn more about their work.