Henry M. Beachell

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Henry M. Beachell (1906-2006) is recognized as the plant breeder at the International Rice Research Institute who developed the variety IR-8, so-called "Miracle Rice" because with fertilizer, pesticides, and irrigation, it produces high yields.[1] Beachell is now one of the two namesakes of Monsanto's Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Program, which provides scholarships for students to study wheat and rice breeding.[2]


Beachell was bron in Waverly, NE on September 21, 1906. As the son of a wheat-farming family, he studied agronomy at the University of Nebraska as an undergraduate. He went on to earn a master’s degree in plant breeding and genetics from Kansas State University in 1934. Upon graduating, he was unable to find a job working with wheat, so he instead worked on rice.[1]

In his early career, from 1931 to 1963, he worked for the United States Department of Agriculture developing long-grained rice varieties.[1] "He also helped form the Texas Rice Improvement Association, a private source of funding intended to sustain rice research at Texas A&M University."[3]

Beachell left the USDA to work at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines in 1963. He is credited for developing IR-8, which was touted as "Miracle Rice" when it was released in 1966. In 1972, he left the Philippines to work at an IRRI station in Indonesia, remaining there for 10 years.[3] He also consulted with RiceTec, Inc.. "In 1997... he worked with Cornell University and USDA researchers to establish a genetic seed bank for rice cultivars."[3]

"For his advancements in agriculture, he received the Japan Prize from the Science and Technology Foundation of Japan in 1987. In 1996, he was awarded a World Food Prize with another plant breeder, Gurdev Singh Khush, for research on rice."[1] He was also honored by the government of Korea in 1978. "He received the John Scott Medal and the Premium of the City of Philadelphia in 1969, the IRRI Award in 1972, and the Kansas State Medallion Award in 1998. He was awarded honorary doctorates from the University of Nebraska and Seoul National University."[3]

He died in his home in Texas on December 13, 2006, at the age of 100.[1]

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Jeremy Pearce, "Henry M. Beachell Dies at 100; Developed New Rice Plant," New York Times, December 28, 2006, Accessed December 4, 2011.
  2. "Monsanto's 2012 Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Program," IRRI, Novembe 22, 2011, Accessed December 4, 2011.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "Henry M. Beachell & Dr. Gurdev Singh Khush, World Food Prize, 1996, Accessed December 4, 2011.

External Articles