Canola Award of Excellence
The Manitoba Canola Growers Association would like to acknowledge the accomplishments of individuals and organizations who contribute to the sustained growth and prosperity of Manitoba’s canola industry. At MCGA, we have developed an annual award to be given to an individual who has made a contribution to the canola industry. Any individual or organization involved in the growing, production or marketing of canola is eligible to be nominated. Researchers and educators of canola, as well as chefs and media personalities who promote canola are also eligible.
2019 – Dr. Cynthia Grant
Adequate plant nutrition is required for optimal crop production. It’s thanks to research scientists like Dr. Cynthia (Cindy) Grant – former Senior Research Scientist in Soil Fertility Management with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada of the Brandon Research and Development Centre – that soil fertility and crop nutrition best practices have evolved, making crop production more economic and sustainable for producers.
On account of her contributions, Dr. Grant was recognized with the 2019 Canola Award of Excellence from the Manitoba Canola Growers Association.
“It is a real honour to receive the Canola Award of Excellence,” says Dr. Grant. “Canola is one of the major crops for Manitoba and for the prairies, and it’s always been close to my heart because it was developed at the University of Manitoba and with Agriculture Canada. Most of the work that I did through the years has had a canola component because it is such an important crop in the rotation.”
Dr. Grant and her research teams investigated themes like how to manage sulphur for canola production in no-till compared to conventional till; how canola would influence the following crops in the rotation and vice versa in terms of nutrient cycling; how side-banded nitrogen affects canola yield, stand density, maturity, number of green kernels and chlorophyll content; and how nutrient management influences the fatty acid profile of canola.
Research priorities were based on managing nutrients through soil, agronomic and fertilizer management practices right through to their impact on crop quality. “We looked at the environmental effects of fertilizers (specifically nitrogen, phosphorus and sulphur) and making fertilizers more economic for producers,” said Grant. “We wanted to determine how a nutrient would affect canola both in the year it was applied, as well as in the crops following in sequence.”
Dr. Grant is passionate about the importance of teamwork and the ability to effectively work together in research and extension to look at farming as a whole and change the way people manage their farms.
“Dr. Cynthia Grant is a world-renowned soil fertility and crop nutrition researcher who is highly respected by industry, farmers, and public agencies, alike,” says Don Flaten, Professor, Dept. of Soil Science, University of Manitoba. “As a result, she has received a wide variety of international, national, regional and local awards for her agricultural research and extension contributions. Beyond her individual accomplishments, Cindy is also widely regarded by me and many other private industry, academic and government scientists, extension staff and practitioners as an outstanding collaborator … a natural team player. Throughout all of these accomplishments during her career, Cindy has always displayed an exceptional blend of brilliant technical knowledge, combined with an excellent balance of creativity and common sense. She’s made huge contributions to the development of nutrient management for canola growers in Canada, so I am delighted to see her being recognized with the Canola Award of Excellence.”
Grant earned her B.S.A., M.Sc., and Ph. D. degrees from the University of Manitoba and began her career as an Information Officer at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Brandon Research and Development Centre. Next, she became a soil fertility researcher where, for the majority of her career, she focused on soil fertility and nutrient management for sustainable crop production.
Dr. Grant lives on a family farm north of Minnedosa with her husband. She is an avid golfer, strong fan of Rockin’ the Fields in Minnedosa and loves to read, kayak, fish and camp. No shortage of activities to keep her busy since her retirement in 2015.
Previous Award Recipients
The meteoric rise of canola all started on a handful of plots in Western Canada with growers like Murray McConnell, recipient of the 2018 Canola Award of Excellence from the Manitoba Canola Growers Association (MCGA).
McConnell farms near Teulon, Manitoba, only about 40 kilometres from where Baldur Stefansson, one of the fathers of modern canola, lived. The McConnell family had been in the seed business since 1938, so it was natural for Stefansson to reach out with his new project in the late 1970s.
2017 – Dr. Carla Taylor
The Manitoba Canola Growers Association has awarded Dr. Carla Taylor with the 2017 Canola Award of Excellence for her contributions to the canola industry. Dr. Taylor, and her collaborator Dr. Peter Zahradka and their team of trainees and staff at the Canadian Centre for Agri-food Research in Health and Medicine, have been researching the health benefits of canola oil for more than a decade.
2016 – Mairlyn Smith
Mairlyn has been using and promoting canola oil for decades – for very personal reasons. “My dad was diagnosed with heart disease in the 1970’s (age 50) which started me off being interested in the correlation between healthy eating, healthy lifestyle and heart disease.” The diagnosis meant changes in her dad’s diet, including lowering saturated fats by using canola oil – he is now a healthy 93.
2015 – Bruce Dalgarno
Visionary, Genuine, Perseverance are a few words to describe Bruce Dalgarno and his commitment to the canola industry. But for Bruce, it’s his passion that drives him to make a difference. His dedication to the canola industry was recognized on February 17, 2015 at Crop Connect in Winnipeg, MB at the gala banquet…
2014 – Dave Hickling
Dr. Dave Hickling was recognized for his work with canola meal. “You’ve heard of that one litre more per cow per day thing? Ya, I came up with that,” says Hickling with a little more than a touch of humility in his voice…
Ken is a canola pioneer in more ways than one. He was the inaugural president of the Manitoba Canola Growers in 1970, (known as the Manitoba Rapeseed Growers Association at the time) and worked alongside the likes of Bladur Stefansson, to eventually introduce canola, the first variety of rapeseed, to agriculture.
Chef Mary-Jane Feeke is about to add one more title to her venerable list that already includes pastry chef for Manitoba’s culinary Olympic team, teacher and owner of Benjamin’s Gourmet Foods in Selkirk.
Dr. Scarth received her doctorate from the University of Cambridge in plant breeding and genetics in 1981. After a post-doctoral fellowship with Agriculture Canada, Dr. Scarth joined the Department of Plant Science at the University of Manitoba. Dr. Scarth worked with Dr. Baldur Stefansson in the canola breeding program from 1982 until his retirement.
Charlie was born in Carman, MB on November 27, 1941. He received his grade school in the one room school in Homewood. His secondary schooling was in St. John’s Ravenscourt in Winnipeg and Western Military Academy in Alton, IL, USA. He received his Diploma in Agriculture from the University of Manitoba.
2009 – Jim Green
Jim Green is a partner in G-Six Farms Limited, a family farm operation, comprised of brothers Doug and Don and parents Russ and Mona. G-Six Farms produces grains, oilseeds and pulses, and is located 8 miles North-East of Brandon.
Dawn holds a degree in agriculture from the University of Manitoba. Over a 30 year career, she has provided communications consulting services in the field of agriculture to agribusiness and commodity groups. She also managed several farmer associations. Dawn provided consulting services to the Canola Council of Canada for two years before joining the council as its communications co-ordinator. In 1987, she left the position to become the MCGA’s first staff person as executive manager.
Max Polon holds a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Degree (Lieutenant Governor’s Gold Medal recipient) from the University of Manitoba. He assumed responsibility for the family farm in 1969 while being employed part-time by the Special Programs Branch of the Manitoba Department of Education. Max began farming full time in 1980 and presently operates the family farm and pedigreed seed business.
During a long and productive career at the University of Manitoba, Dr. Baldur Stefansson made a major contribution to Canada, Canadians, and people around the world through his outstanding work in developing canola. Baldur, often referred to as the “father of canola”, was born at Vestfold, Manitoba, to Gudmundur and Jonina Stefansson, a pioneer Icelandic family. He was a modest individual with a keen sense of purpose.
Any individual or organization can make a nomination. The process is simple – obtain a nomination form through the MCGA website or by calling 204-982-2122. Each entry must include:
- Completed nomination entry form
- Short biographical sketch of the nominee
- Statements detailing the nominee’s dedication and/or contribution to the canola industry
- Additional background information which may prove helpful to the judges
- High quality photograph of the nominee
- Presentation of this award will take place at the MCGA Annual General Meeting.
For additional information on the Manitoba Canola Growers Association or the Manitoba Canola Growers Award of Excellence, please feel free to contact us by phone (204-982-2122) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).