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James Hancock, World-Renowned Blueberry Breeder

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James Hancock, professor of horticulture in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and MSU AgBioResearch is an expert blueberry breeder. He has released four of the most popular Northern Highbush blueberry varieties in the world: Draper, Liberty, Aurora and Huron.

Hancock’s innovations with these varieties of Northern Highbush blueberries represent highly productive means of generating flavorful and long-lasting blueberries. Approximately 20 million plants of these four varieties have been sold. Michigan has been the No. 1 blueberry-producing state for the last 70 years, partly due to the Hancock varieties.

handful of blueberries“The idea of breeding blueberry varieties came to me in about 1990. I’d been at MSU about 20 years then. But, I decided that the time was right to develop new varieties, and there were a number of good reasons for that.

“I have been flabbergasted by the success of the MSU blueberry varieties. We hit a tremendous period of luck. It turns out that about the time we were releasing the new varieties, the blueberry industry in the world was just exploding.”

Read an interview with Hancock here.

Feature story, “Building a Better Blueberry” here.

Visit Hancock’s website at http://www.hrt.msu.edu/jim-hancock 

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