Michael Graham

Outstanding Achievement Award Recipient

College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, October 7, 2022

As head of global plant breeding at Bayer, Michael Graham oversees one of the world’s largest plant genetics and breeding programs, with nearly 2,000 research and development scientists, leading global teams in over 30 countries focused on developing new corn hybrids, soybean varieties, and vegetable crops. Dr. Graham earned a bachelor of science in agronomy at the University of Minnesota (1987) before going on to receive his master of science in plant breeding at the University of Delaware (1990) and his doctorate in plant breeding from the University of Illinois (1993). Dr. Graham then went on to achieve early success as a traditional plant breeder from 1993 - 2007, publishing 10 peer-reviewed journal articles and receiving five U.S. and 12 foreign plant patents. Dr. Graham has worked to modernize the plant breeding process, and has passionately sponsored projects to help smallholder farmers in low- and middle-income countries. For example, Dr. Graham recently worked to expand Bayer’s partnership with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) to create the Modern Breeding Project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with a $1.2 million in-kind match from Bayer. In addition, Dr. Graham was the driving force for Bayer’s sponsorship of the Plant Breeding Center at the University of Minnesota through the Bayer Visiting Scholar in Plant Breeding and Genetics program. His efforts through the private sector were recognized in 2021 by the University of Minnesota as one of 50 CFANS Hunger Fighters in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Norman Borlaug’s Nobel Peace Prize.

Biographies are as-of time of award presentation.