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AG e-news December 20, 2019

December 20, 2019 — 

News and events from the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences


December 21-January 1 – The University of Manitoba will be closed for the holiday break. Most university buildings will be locked during this period. If you will be working on campus it is recommended that you follow any working alone policies your department or faculty may have in place. For those of you wanting to stay fit, the Active Living Centre will be open until December 23, from December 26 to 31, and then reopen for the new year on January 2. See more details about what is open and closed at

Wednesday, January 22 – The fourth seminar in the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences Seminar Series will be presented by Carla Taylor, Food and Human Nutritional Sciences, at 3:30 pm in the Carolyn Sifton Theatre, Rm 130 Agriculture Building.  Topic is TBA. Refreshments at 3:00 pm in the atrium.

February 6-7 – The 2020 Manitoba Soil Science Society Annual General Meeting will be held at the Holiday Inn South, 1330 Pembina Hwy, Winnipeg. Details are available at

February 14-16 – This February, the University of Manitoba is participating in a global sustainability event. The Invent For The Planet 2020 event is a 48-hour Intensive Design Experience at different universities around the world on a single weekend to solve high-impact, global problems. The event will be held in multiple locations across the globe simultaneously (>30 universities, spanning time zones from Sydney to Oregon, coordinate by Texas A&M University). A video review of the 2019 edition is at In contrast maybe to other hackathons there is a stronger focus on building, prototyping and physics products. The Faculty of Science is working with the Office of Sustainability, Asper, TTO, North Forge and an expanding list of other partners on putting this together. Weekly planning meetings are being held at 8:30am on Friday mornings in 317 Allen (physics & astronomy). They have extended the invitation to students of our Faculty as well. Anyone interested is welcome to join them.

March 5-6 – The 2020 Prairie Organics: Think Whole Farm conference coming up in Brandon, Manitoba will highlight two full days of presentations, a large tradeshow and pre-arranged B2B meetings. Early-bird registration is now open. For more information you can email prairieorganicconference [at] gmail [dot] com or visit



Digvir Jayas, Distinguished Professor in Biosystems Engineering and Vice-President (Research and International), has been honoured with the Sir John William Dawson Medal from the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) in recognition of his important contributions through his research into stored-grain ecosystems. Jayas has been a world leader in research on stored-grain ecosystems for more than three decades. His work reduces losses in grain quality and quantity during storage in agricultural systems around the globe. He has authored or co-authored over 900 articles including 400 peer-reviewed manuscripts in his field, and these help form the basis upon which storage recommendations are made globally. He received the honour at the RSC Celebration of Excellence in Ottawa in late November.

Ryan Cardwell, Agribusiness and Agricultural Economics, presented a seminar entitled “Untying the Knot to Lengthen the Rope: How Untying Affected Canadian Food Assistance” in the Department of Economics & Finance at the University of Guelph on November 29.

Trust Beta, Food and Human Nutritional Sciences, was invited to attend Frontiers of Engineering for Development symposium: “From feeding people to nourishing people” held in Madagascar at the Hotel IBIS Antananarivo from November 27 to 29 and organized by the Royal Academy of Engineering. The Academy is a delivery partner of the UK government’s Global Challenges Research Fund, which supports cutting-edge research to address development challenges in the global south and helps achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Frontiers of Engineering for Development is one of the programmes run under this initiative. The symposium consisted of three interactive sessions on Agricultural Revolution, Healthy Diets, and Food Loss and Waste. Trust Beta was one of the three speakers on “Healthy Diets: Can we improve nutrition globally by eating more sustainably?” The symposium culminated with a linking-up session where participants were invited to apply for the Frontiers of Engineering for Development seed funding, where awards of up to £20,000 are available to help kick-start a new interdisciplinary collaboration.

Rob Currie, Entomology, was an invited speaker at the Alberta Beekeepers meeting in Edmonton on November 5. 

Rob Currie was presented with an award by the Red River Apiarists Association on November 12  in recognition of outstanding service to support their organization  and the industry (the Red River Apiarists) through research and teaching in beekeeping.

Annemieke Farenhorst, Soil Science, presented on “A closer look at pesticides and water” at the Association of Alberta Agricultural Fieldmen in Banff, AB, on December 3.

Annemieke Farenhorst, Jennifer Dengate (Sociology) and computer science undergraduate student Ari Nabong at the University of Manitoba, as well as University of Calgary professor Laleh Behjat and undergraduate student Linh Tran in computer engineering collaborated on a project called “Advancing Data Analytics and Machine Learning Applications for Decoding Gendered Language in Job Advertisements related to STEM Professions”. Both students presented their collaborative work at the Undergraduate Research Symposium at the University of Calgary and the Undergraduate Research Poster Competition at the University of Manitoba. Linh Tran was one of the award winners at the poster competition at the University of Calgary.

We’ve learned that Michelle Carkner, Plant Science, and the UM Participatory Plant Breeding project will be featured in a Universities Canada advertising campaign targeting new and returning parliamentarians underlining the vital role universities play in building a stronger Canada. The campaign includes airport ads in the Ottawa airport in late January to early February, features on, social media, and postcards.

The Bruce D. Campbell Farm and Food Discovery Centre hosted a very successful Breakfast on the Farm with Santa on November 30. See some photos from the event, which drew over 70 guests –

The National Centre for Livestock and the Environment (NCLE) hosted 40 urban and rural Grade 11 students at Kelburn Farm during their week-long BioInnovations program in October, delivering hands-on learning in nutrient and biodiversity approaches to improve agro-landscapes featuring interactive stations on habitat for beneficial insects, sustainable cattle production systems, closing nutrient loops with urban nutrients, and cropland 4R adaptive N management. This marks the seventh consecutive year of the UofM-BioInnovation week partnership. Thank you to our program development and delivery team: Christine Rawluk, National Centre for Livestock and the Environment, Michael Killewald, Entomology, Brittany Byron and Emma McGeough, Animal Science, Jess Nicksy, Plant Science, Joanne Thiessen-Martens and Mario Tenuta, Soil Science, and John Heard, Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development.

This past fall National Centre for Livestock and the Environment hosted 35 Asper School of Business MBA students enrolled in the Business Administration course Managing for Sustainable Development for a half-day program on sustainability considerations and actions in Canadian agriculture. Christine Rawluk organized the session which had students engaging first hand with dairy and egg farmer leaders, as well as our organic and beef systems research teams. Thank you to Manitoba Egg Farmers, Dairy Farmers of Manitoba, Martin Entz and Natural Systems Agriculture graduate students as well as Deanne Fulawka, Brittany Byron, Rhea Teranishi, and Sydney Fortier with the Sustainable Beef Systems research program, and Glenlea Research Station staff.

Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences faculty, staff and graduate students took part in a roundtable session with Architecture students in October sharing their expertise and insights with students designing a futuristic Winnipeg food system. Faculty roundtable participants were Christine Rawluk, Anita Brule-Babel, Kim Ominski, Mario Tenuta, Joe Ackerman and graduate students Emily Boonstra and Jess Nicksy.

Christine Rawluk hosted Biosystems Engineering graduate students at the Glenlea Research Station in October, discussing swine, dairy and beef production and the ways in which research at the National Centre for Livestock and the Environment is improving the sustainability of these production systems.

The Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals hosted the chief operating officer and R&D manager from Botaneco, a Calgary-based protein extraction company, on November 28.



David Lobb, Soil Science, and his father Don were highlighted in the article “Producers urged to test research results on their own farms” in the Western Producer (December 19) –

Ryan Cardwell, Agribusiness and Agricultural Economics, was quoted in the article “Farmers caught in WTO crossfire” in the Manitoba Co-operator (December 19) –

David Lobb, Soil Science, was quoted in the article “Why Tillage Erosion Is Bigger Than Wind and Water Erosion” in Successful Farming magazine (December 18) –

Yvonne Lawley, Plant Science, was featured in the Manitoba Co-operator article (December 17) entitled “The learning curve of cover crops” – – and in the article “Finding the value of cover crops for Western Canada” in Country Guide (December 2) –

Michelle Carkner, Plant Science, and the Participatory Plant Breeding program were noted in the article “Make your own seed initiative enters its ninth year” in Grainews (December 10) –

The CBC reached into its archives to feature a story from the National (November 28, 1984) entitled “The 1984 version of data-driven farming” with Daryl Kraft, Agricultural Economics, and a view into the future of big data in agriculture. Check out the very young Peter Mansbridge as well! –



Mao, Q., Xu, X., Cao, S., Gan, R., Corke, H., Beta, T., Li, H. Bioactive compounds and bioactivities of ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe). Foods 2019, 8 (6), 185.

Cattani, D.J. 2019. Potential of perennial cereal rye for perennial grain production in Manitoba. Canadian Journal of Plant Science 99:958-960. https://doi:10.1139/CJPS-2019-0160



The Faculty is seeking applicants for two academics positions: an Assistant Professor in soil fertility and agronomy, and an Assistant/Associate Professor in cereal breeding and genetics. Deadline to apply for both positions in January 31. Links to both positions available at

Call for Nominations! The Certificate of Merit is presented by the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences and the School of Agriculture in recognition of leadership with agricultural organizations and outstanding service to the community at large. Each year two Certificates of Merit are presented, normally, one to a graduate of the Agriculture Diploma program, and one to a graduate of the Agriculture Degree program. Nominations are considered by the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences Executive Committee and must be received no later than January 13, 2020. More information about the nomination process including a list of previous recipients can be found at

Are you interested in caring for trees and shrubs on your property? Or are you considering becoming a professional arborist? There are still spaces available in the Manitoba Arboriculture course offered by the University of Manitoba which covers tree biology, plant classification and identification, soil science and tree worker safety.  Registration deadline for the inclass option is Friday, December 20 and January 17 for online option.  More information at

Attention Grad Students! The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) is a research communication competition that challenges graduate students to consolidate their ideas and research discoveries so they can be presented concisely to a non-specialist audience. Deadline is January 15 and the heats take place end of February, with the final on March 24. First place prize is $2,500 and a chance to present at the Western Regional Competition. You can find out more information at

Employee Emergency Response Information – If you have a disability—whether temporary or ongoing—that could affect your ability to safely exit the workplace, please complete the Employee Emergency Information Worksheet ( so that a personalized emergency response plan can be developed to meet your needs in an emergency. All information will be kept confidential and shared only with specific individuals and with your consent. Please note that this applies to all disabilities; whether permanent or temporary, visible or invisible. Faculty and staff with a disability should submit this worksheet by January 3, 2020 to ensure adequate time to provide everyone with a personalized plan prior to May 1, 2020, when the standard comes into effect. If your abilities or work location change, you must fill out a new Employee Emergency Information Worksheet so that Human Resources and the Environmental Health and Safety Office can ensure your information and emergency plan is appropriate and current. Visit the Human Resources website for more information about the standard and the new emergency response process and to access the Employee Emergency Information Worksheet.  Additional accessibility resources can found on the U of M’s Accessibility Hub.

Science Exposed is a science photography contest organized by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) with cash prizes open to students and academics. Read more: Contest closes: January 13, 2020.



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