For immediate release
September 22, 2021


MGGA & MGF Welcomes Winifred Asbjornson Plant Sciences Endowed Chair


Great Falls – Montana Grain Growers Association (MGGA) and Montana Grains Foundation (MGF) applaud the selection of Dr. Venugopal Mendu to be seated in the Winifred Asbjornson Plant Sciences Chair and an Associate Professor at Montana State University this coming January.

“We welcome Dr. Mendu and look forward to working with him concerning cereal grain promulgation of new varieties and genetics within our own state.” MGGA President Mitch Konen said. “We are proud to have such a prestigious position within our state and land grant university.”

“I am very happy that we now have a person named to fill the position of the Endowed Plant Science Chair. This research program will focus on plant science research to help find solutions for the greatest economic challenges facing Montana’s grain producers” MGF Chair Dale Schuler said. “This research program has great potential to compliment the work of the wheat breeders and others in the Plant Science and Plant Pathology Department at MSU. This has been a long process to get to this point, and I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in making this a success.”

Dr. Mendu is currently an Associate Professor at Texas Tech University. He received his BS in agriculture and MS in genetics and plant breeding from A.N.G.R Agricultural University in India and a PhD from the University of Kentucky in plant physiology/molecular biology. He is a highly productive researcher who utilizes genomic, genetic, molecular, genome editing, and breeding technologies in his research program. The Montana Plant Science Chair is a position funded in part by the cereal grain industry to support expanded research capacity critical to Montana grain growers.

Recognizing that the depth of research at Montana State University must expand to meet current and future crop science challenges, leaders of the Montana Grains Foundation partnered with the MSU Alumni Foundation to perpetually endow the first Chair in the 120 year history of the College of Agriculture. Montana grain producers, along with the Foundation, the Montana Grain Growers Association, the Montana Wheat & Barley Committee and several agribusinesses around the state donated in support of the endowed chair.


The Montana Grain Growers Association is a commodity specific organization representing the interests of Montana wheat and barley growers. We use the contacts and experience gained over the past 60+ years to affect the laws, regulations and rules that we farm by. We are recognized as an influential commodity organization in our state and country and we use that influence to make things happen.