Dr. Lawrence Root (L.R.) Waldron was North Dakota´s first wheat breeder. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from the fledgling North Dakota Agricultural College in 1899. In 1905 the ND Legislature approved funds for a branch station at Dickinson. Waldron was hired as the first superintendent. Tasks included breaking the land, building barns and a house, and initiating research on various crops. He did significant work with alfalfa, publishing two bulletins followed by a paper on alfalfa production that so impressed the director of the experiment stations that he was hired as NDAC´s first spring wheat breeder. He was to study the inheritance patterns in wheat and to develop new varieties. His breeding program was the first of its kind at NDAC which used scientific procedures with the parent selected to develop varieties rather than just the selection of individual plants from a field as had been done since the beginning of time. This pioneer plant breeding program was the first scientific approach to plant breeding and developing new varieties. It was the forerunner of all subsequent and very successful plant breeding programs at NDSU.
Much of Waldron’s research and life´s work was influenced by the stem and leaf rust epidemics that plagued North Dakota wheat farms. During his career as North Dakota´s spring wheat breeder Dr. Waldron released numerous varieties, including "Kota" and "Ceres" in 1926, "Bison" and "Komar" were released around 1927 and "Rival" was released in 1939. His most successful wheat, "Mida", released in 1944, was grown in 5.5 million acres in 1949. It was from a cross of Manitoba, Minnesota, and North Dakota wheats. The economic impact of his varieties on North Dakota farms and ranches and the overall impact of his breeding efforts on the economy of North Dakota are in the billions of dollars. Dr. Waldron was a prolific writer, turning out 85 papers for scientific and technical publications. He also wrote more than 100 articles for the Dakota Farmer. After his death in 1954, his work carried on. "Waldron", a new North Dakota release in 1969 carried Mida lineage on both sides of its family tree.
Year Inducted: 2007