"U I-WSU Huffman" new wheat variety created in remembrance of former student

MOSCOW, ID - Last summer, a University of Idaho alumnus passed away suddenly in his sleep at the young age of 22-years-old.

Today, his family and peers honored his life by presenting a new variety of wheat that he helped create to the public. Rachel Dubrovin brings us the story behind the U I--WSU Huffman variety.

The University of Idaho's newest variety of wheat is much more than just a crop

"We've taken germplasm that's partly developed at WSU and partly developed at the University of Idaho, combined those unique traits of each one of them, and released it as a variety," said U of I College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Associate Dean of Research Donn Thill.

The "U I--WSU Huffman" variety is a collaboration between the two universities on the Palouse, and it's a tribute to U of I alumnus Bradley Huffman who passed away suddenly in June 2013 at only
22-years of age.

"He had a keen eye, he was just an extremely enthusiastic individual," said U of I Professor of Plant Breeding and Genetics Doctor Jack Brown. "And it was a tremendous loss to us all."

On Tuesday, the Huffman family joined local farmers for a field day to commemorate Bradley Huffman's life.

"He had an interest in genetics and plant breeding from a very young age," said Father Doug Huffman. "Even back in junior high, he was buying books on plant breeding and studying these things."

"Never made any attempt to go to any other college but University of Idaho to study agriculture," said Mother Julie Huffman. "That was what he wanted to do."

And learn about the variety he helped develop.

"As a soft white winter wheat, this new variety Huffman has amongst the best quality of any samples that went through our quality lab last year," said Brown.

U of I Professor of Plant Breeding Doctor Jack Brown said it's a high-yielding variety, and it's resistant to two diseases that can devastate wheat crops.

"It was actually designed specifically to be super-resistant to C-stripe or Cephalosporium stripe, it just as a package, it comes together, it's got great stripe rust resistance as well," said Brown.

Doctor Brown said this variety can help farmers be more profitable, and the profits from the royalties will go to a Bradley Huffman Scholarship fund for U of I students in the College of Agriculture.

"This variety helps people to remember Brad, and the scholarship associated with it will help other students who can come through here and hopefully follow in his footsteps as far as pushing agriculture forward," said Doug Huffman.

Wheat researchers at the U of I hope to have this wheat seed available for sale within the next couple years.