Minnesota’s 100-Year-Old Apple Breeding Program is One of Only Three in the Country
My guest on today's AM Minnesota Program was D. David Bedford who is an apple breeder at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. David has been an apple breeder for about 40 years. There are only three apple breeding programs in the entire United States. One in Washington state, one at Cornell out East and one here at the University of Minnesota. The program at U of M began over 100 years ago!
It takes 20 to 30 years to develop a new apple variety and about another 10 to get popular and well known in the market. It's pretty tough for a private business to make a long term investment like that. So, that is why the apple breeding programs at public institutions like the University of Minnesota.
Back when Minnesota was being settled apples were a major part of the pioneers' diet. They brought apple seeds from the east coast and were dismayed to find they did not survive Minnesota's harsh winters. The apple breeding program was established at the University of Minnesota out of necessity!
Click play in the audio players below and listen to David talk about how you develop a new apple variety, the ones developed by the University of Minnesota, and about the apple industry in Minnesota.