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Mark A. Carleton

Mark A. Carleton


Mark Carleton, a plant pathologist from Kansas, is inducted for his role in the Great Plains commercial production of hard red winter wheat. He is also credited with founding the durum wheat industry in America.

As a youngster growing up in Kansas, Carleton observed extensive destruction of wheat crops by drought and “black stem rust.” He discerned that wheat seed brought over from Russia by Mennonite immigrants better withstood drought and disease.

Carleton joined the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 1892 and was the Director of the Division of Cereal Crops and Diseases. While working for the USDA, he toured Siberia, Russia in search of drought and disease resistant wheat varieties. Two wheat strains he brought back, Kubanka Durum and Kharkov Hard Red Winter Wheat, were forerunners of today’s most important varieties. He retired from USDA service in 1918.

Carleton was also a member of the Botanical Society of America, the American Phytopathological Society, the American Genetic Association, the Kansas Academy of Science, and Botanical and Biological Societies of Washington. He was a Fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science and received the distinguished French Order Merite Agricole. Mr. Carleton was the first president of the American Society of Agronomy and remained a lifetime honorary member.

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