Panhandle Dry Bean Breeding Specialist Receives Omtvedt Award
Carlos Urrea, associate professor and dry bean breeding specialist at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center, recently was presented the Omtvedt Innovation Award from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
The award recognizes IANR faculty who demonstrate exceptional abilities and innovation.
Urrea’s dry-bean breeding research program focuses on selecting plants that are multiple-disease-resistant and have desirable qualities related to water efficiency, minimum tillage and more upright architecture, allowing direct harvesting. He has developed germplasm for black beans, Great Northern Beans, chick peas, and Great Northern cultivars.
The Omtvedt Innovation Award is made possible by Leone and the late Neal Harlan in honor of Irv Omtvedt, former vice chancellor of the University of Nebraska Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Urrea has been on the Panhandle Center faculty since 2005. His breeding lines include not only the most common market classes grown in the Panhandle, Great Northern and pinto, but also small red, cranberry, yellow, light red kidney, black, and calima market classes. In recent years Urrea’s work has focused on developing bean varieties with tolerance to drought and heat. He has developed three Great Northern and a pinto line which all have the potential for heat and drought tolerance along with multiple disease resistance.
In 2008 Urrea’s program released the Great Northern cultivar Coyne, which became commercially available in 2011 and within three years accounted for 25%-30% of the total Great Northern acreage in Nebraska, the nation’s leading producer. Several other breeding efforts are on the verge of producing new commercial cultivars.
Urrea collaborates with the USDA Agricultural Research Service Tropical Agricultural Research Station at Puerto Rico. He started a “shuttle breeding” program, in collaboration with Tim Porch of the US Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) Tropical Agriculture Research Station in Puerto Rico. He also collaborates extensively with CIAT, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture.
Urrea works closely with the UNL Food Center, on nutrient content. At the national level, Urrea works extensively with plant breeders, plant pathologists, agronomists, nutritionists and others at a number of land-grant universities as well as the USDA Agricultural Research Service. He coordinates the Cooperative Dry Bean Nursery (CDBN), a national trial of 22 breeding lines in at least 10 locations. He also coordinates the Western Regional Bean Trials in Colorado, Idaho, Washington and Nebraska.