Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Agricultural Economics (MS)

Degree Level



Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness


Lawton Nalley

Committee Member

Hans de Steur

Second Committee Member

Alvaro Durand Morat


plant breeding;private sector;public sector


Plant breeding has been effective in addressing food insecurity by increasing agricultural yields and productivity. Historically, public plant breeding programs have long-term, integrated approaches to plant breeding research, germplasm enhancement, and variety development, but as funding is reduced the future is less certain as to areas of focus. This survey builds off those before it and asks the next logical question, if a divergence between private and public breeding is taking place, what aspects should each sector focus on? The impetus of this study was to ask opinions of plant breeders globally regarding the direction they believe the public and private sectors are moving in the future and to find the significant differences across subsets of the data. Survey distribution resulted in 822 total responses from plant breeders working in public and private sectors across the world. The respondent was asked to identify which attribute (biofortification, disease resistance, yield enhancement, pest resistance, etc.) their sector should pay the most and least attention to in the future. From a series of 6 choice questions, the preference shares of the attributes are found according to various subsets. Disease resistance was found to have the largest preference share in the private sector but climate change for biotic/abiotic stress had the largest preference share in the public sector. The preference shares of climate change for biotic/abiotic stress were statistically different across the public and private sectors, but not when comparing major and minor crops. The findings of this study show the direction and priorities of the public and private sectors as well as provide insight on the areas that are losing attention within plant breeding.