Henry Beachell

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Dr. Henry M. Beachell (September 21, 1906 – December 13, 2006) was an American plant breeder. His research led to the development of hybrid rice cultivars that saved millions of people around the world from starvation.

Born in Waverly, Nebraska, Beachell and his family moved to a corn and wheat farm in western Nebraska. In 1930 he earned an agronomy degree from the University of Nebraska, where he was a member of FarmHouse fraternity.[1] After graduate study at Kansas State University, Beachell worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Texas. There, he created nine rice varieties, which eventually accounted for more than 90 percent of the U.S. long-grain rice production.

Beachell has been called the most important person in rice improvement in the world. As farmers planted higher yielding rice, nutrition improved in many Asian countries, and farmers increased their incomes. Beachell has received many international awards, including the 1996 World Food Prize. As a centenarian, Beachell consulted with Rice-Tec, the only commercial hybrid rice-breeding program in the U.S, up until his death.


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Honorary titles
Preceded by
Hans Rudolf Herren
World Food Prize
Succeeded by
Smith and Adkisson