McPhee Moves to MSU

BOZEMAN - Jan 15/17 - SNS -- Kevin McPhee has joined Montana State University to develop a pulse crop research program that will reflect Montana's growing pulse industry in dryland agriculture.

McPhee, a professor of plant sciences and pulse crop genetics and breeding, said he's excited about joining MSU and the university's existing network of statewide research stations with the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station and a host of private and public Montana agricultural producers.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Montana is America's top producer of pulse crops, with more than 1.1 million acres currently in production. That's compared to Montana's 5 million acres in annual wheat production, according to the USDA, and Montanans have planted about 500,000 acres each of pea and lentil this year.

McPhee will ultimately be responsible for developing pulse varieties that are best suited for Montana's variable landscapes and climates. Given Montana's growing pulse industry, MSU is glad to perform this work, according to John Sherwood, head of the MSU Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology in the College of Agriculture.

McPhee has a bachelor's degree in plant sciences from the University of Wyoming, in addition to a Ph.D in plant sciences from the University of Idaho. For the last eight years, he has been a professor of plant science and genetics with North Dakota State University. From 1995-1998, McPhee served as a post-doctoral research associate with the USDA Research Station in Pullman, Washington and continued as the station's research geneticist from 1998-2008.

McPhee has released six dry-pea varieties, three dry-pea germplasm, seven lentil varieties and three chickpea varieties. McPhee is the past-president of the North American Pulse Improvement Association, editor-in-chief for Pisum Genetics, and associate editor for Crop Science. McPhee also serves as secretary for the Pisum Crop Germplasm Committee, an international association of pea breeders and geneticists, holds memberships on the Cool Season Food Legume Crop Germplasm Committee, Research Support and Planning Committee of the North American Pulse Improvement Association and is a former member of the International Pulse Quality Committee and the Science Advisory Board for Saskatchewan Pulse Growers Association.