From the Foreword: Wheat may well be the most important source of food (or is second only to rice in importance) for an ever-growing world population. It has also become an important source of jobs for a wide assortment of workers. Its widespread production is the result of aggressive breeding for a combination of genetic characters for adaption to one or more of the multitude of every-changing soils, climates, and systems of management. As a result, modern wheat would be unable to perpetuate itself in nature and certainly could not produce the amount of grain necessary to meet world demands without the benefit of human nurturing. As in the past, future levels of economic production of wheat will continue to depend on how successfully the various private and public interests and involvements function in the development and production of new varieties and systems of management to meet the changing natural, economic, and political constraints on production. Research and extension must continually update our experimental tools, genetic resources, and management practices to provide growers with the necessary seed and plant health systems to ensure both a higher yield potential and the means to produce wheat more nearly at its potential. Growers must be even more innovative and develop the technical skills for more complicated management systems than in the past to remain competitive economically and do better to ensure both a clean environment and a wholesome grain product. The other critical partner is society, which must bear the responsibility for the institutions and political climate necessary to maintain economical production of our important sources of food.
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