Across the nation, there is great concern about the growing need for well-educated plant breeders to meet the demands of industry, academia, and government. Currently, U.S. academic institutions are graduating fewer than two-third the number of the entry-level M.S./Ph.D. plant breeders needed per year to fill the nation’s job vacancies. Several major companies are reporting difficulty in recruiting sufficiently qualified personnel for plant breeding positions.

In response to this need, in 2008 the Department of Crop Sciences, together with faculty from the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, established the Illinois Plant Breeding Center as part of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois.

Recently, at least three of the largest seed companies in the U.S. announced plans to double research outputs in the next five years. This will require major expansion in the workforce, further increasing the demand for new M.S./ Ph.D. plant breeders.

Our Mission
> Educate future generations of plant breeders (i.e. those involved in all areas related to cultivar improvement and seed product development) and provide on-going support through continuing education.
> Conduct research that encourages a multi-disciplinary team orientation, and fosters educational goals of relevance, quality, and impact at the Illinois/U.S./global levels.

Our Vision
> Supply skilled and innovative plant breeders for the seed industry and the public sector, and become the premier education/research institution for plant breeding in the U.S.
> Represent a new standard in plant breeding education by focusing on the use of new types of genomic information in cultivar improvement.
> Become the national model for education and research in plant breeding.