RUPERT – In appreciation for outstanding service to the Idaho barley industry, the Idaho Barley Commission presented Gongshe Hu with the 2018 Idaho Barley Service Award during the commission’s Oct. 25 board meeting in Rupert.
Hu is a barley breeder with the USDA Agricultural Research Service at the National Small Grains Germplasm Research Facility in Aberdeen.
“Gongshe has contributed greatly to the advancement of the Idaho barley industry through the development of new cultivars of both malting barley and food barley varieties,” IBC Chairman Wes Hubbard said in a news release. “We appreciate his dedication, skill and collaborative work within the barley industry to develop and release varieties to improve the industry and help growers throughout the Pacific Northwest and Intermountain regions.”
Idaho is the No. 1 barley producing state in the country and currently grows 34 percent of the nation’s crop, according to IBC Administrator Laura Wilder.
“Gongshe’s barley germplasm research program and the release of new cultivars which have become well established through major commercial production have helped expand contract barley acreage in Idaho and provided opportunities for growers to be successful,” she said.
Wilder noted that Hu’s ARS program previously released two successful food barley cultivars, Transit and Kardia, and just received approval to release the new food variety Goldenhart last month.
Goldenhart is a spring two-row hulless food barley and has now been released with a limited amount of Foundation class seed available this fall from the University of Idaho Foundation Seed office to licensed producers with some additional experimental seed available for field testing.
Hu’s barley breeding program has also developed cultivars of great interest to the malting industry, including the recently released Gemcraft, Wilder said.
“Gongshe is extremely hard-working and passionate about developing varieties to help growers with the agronomic challenges they face, as well as varieties to meet the rising demand for high-fiber food barley for domestic and international markets and quality malt for the brewing industry,” she said. “His contributions have been incredibly important to the overall success and growth of the Idaho barley industry and we look forward to his future work to further benefit the industry.”