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AG e-news July 31, 2020

July 31, 2020 — 

News and events from the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences


The Bruce D. Campbell Farm and Food Discovery Centre has re-opened! Visitors must pre-book visits – no drop-in visitors allowed. To learn more about planning your visit including the COVID-19 safety protocols, check out They also have several Summer Fun Events planned – an Ice Cream Party on Saturday, August 15, Veggie Adventures on Saturday, August 22 and a Pizza Party on Saturday, August 29.  Spots are limited and pre-registration is required by emailing (indicate the number of guests in your party).



The University of Manitoba Spring Convocation 2020 ceremony took place virtually on June 29 and included diploma, degree and graduate program graduands. In total, 64 Diploma, 182 Bachelor of Science, 17 M.Sc. and eight Ph.D. students from the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences received their parchments. Pete Giesbrecht received the Governor General’s Bronze Medal, an award given to the graduate with the highest academic standing in the two-year Diploma Program in Agriculture. Noah de Rocquigny was the recipient of the President’s Medal, given annually to a student who combines scholarship with outstanding qualities of leadership.Human Nutritional Sciences student Ashley Haverstick received two honours – the University Gold Medal in Agricultural and Food Sciences for Awarded for highest standing in the Faculty’s undergraduate degree program and the Lieutenant Governor’s Gold Medal, given on the basis of scholarship, personal excellence and leadership. Program medals, given for highest standing in a degree program, were awarded to Hannah Keenes (Agriculture), Shania Miralda (Agribusiness), Yonatan Coodin (Food Science) and Victoria Waytt (Human Nutritional Sciences). (No Agroecology medal was given in 2020).  Don Flaten, Soil Science, was named Teacher of the Year in recognition of teaching excellence and contribution to the students’ program of study by the graduating class of Diploma students.  In place of the School of Agriculture awards banquet, a special live event was held in the evening of June 29 – watch at

Zhiwei (Bob) Zeng, Biosystems Engineering Ph.D. graduate, was awarded the University of Manitoba Distinguished Dissertation Award in the applied sciences category for his groundbreaking work in agricultural machinery engineering. Read more at

David Lobb, Soil Science, has been named a Fellow of the Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS). The Fellow Award is awarded “in recognition of SWCS members who have performed exceptional service in advocating the conservation of soil, water, and related natural resources. Fellowship is an honor bestowed upon the best in the conservation profession.”

Martin Nyachoti, Animal Science, was selected to receive the American Feed Industry Association – American Society of Animal Science Non-Ruminant Animal Nutrition Research Award – read more at

Bradley Feltham, Food and Human Nutritional Sciences Ph.D. student, has received the Prairie Indigenous Knowledge Exchange Network (PIKE-Net) Graduate Fellowship as well as FGS Doctoral Award for Indigenous Students.

We are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2020 Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences Support Staff Awards – Emily Gregorchuk, Office and Graduate Program Assistant, for her exceptional administrative leadership and support to the Department of Food and Human Nutritional Sciences and Taylor Friesen, Supervisor, Student Services, for her outstanding contributions and service to the Faculty, staff and students. All nominees and nominators were acknowledged at a special Dean’s Coffee on July 14. Congratulations to each of you – your support helps make the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences an outstanding workplace!

Karin Wittenberg has been appointed Dean Emerita, a recognition awarded by the University of Manitoba for her distinguished service as Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences. Read more at

The Faculty was pleased to announce the appointment of two Senior Scholars effective July 1, 2020 – Dr. Brian Amiro and Dr. Stefan Cenkowski.

The Department of Soil Science welcomes new faculty member Dr. Inoka Amarakoon as Assistant Professor effective July 1, 2020. Inoka holds a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture and an M.Sc. in Environmental Soil Science (non-thesis) from the University of Peradeniya (Sri Lanka), and an M.Sc. and a Ph.D. in Soil Science from the University of Manitoba. Inoka has held positions of post-doctoral research fellow and sessional instructor in the Department of Soil Science since 2016. She intends to develop a research program in the area of “organic contaminants in terrestrial and aquatic environments”.

The Department of Food and Human Nutritional Sciences welcomes new faculty member Dr. Nandika Bandara as Assistant Professor in Food Protein Processing and Bioproducts, effective July 1, 2020. Nandika is a certified food scientist, and material scientist with interdisciplinary research experience in food protein chemistry and technology, macromolecular chemistry, nanotechnology, biomimetics, and biobased/renewable polymer applications bioproducts and biomaterials. Nandika received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Peradeniya (Sri Lanka). He worked in the industry for a few years before moving to Canada for graduate studies in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science at the University of Alberta, completing his M.Sc. in Food Science and Technology and Ph.D. in Food Science & Bio-resource Technology. Nandika continued his postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of Alberta and the University of Guelph, and then joined the Department of Plant, Food & Environmental Science, Dalhousie University as an Assistant Professor in Food Bioscience before joining UM.

Samantha Nicole Tumlos is temporarily assuming the role of Recruitment, Job Placement and Cooperative Education Coordinator to replace Kalynn Spain during her maternity leave. She is a recent graduate of the UM’s Labour Studies program and a CPHR candidate with significant experience in the career, professional, and student development field. In addition to her extensive involvement in the student community, Samantha previously worked with Career Services where she worked as a student career advisor, work-study program coordinator, and career mentor program assistant. Samantha is excited to bring her knowledge and expertise to the faculty this coming year.

A collaboration between the University of Manitoba, Red River College and Keystone Agricultural Producersto create a agricultural safety training tool has produced a unique vehicle that will help predict, teach and demonstrate tractor roll overs. The Mini Roll Over Training Tractor or Mini ROTT was demonstrated at Glenlea Research Station on July 16. Read more at

The Department of Food and Human Nutritional Sciences is excited to report they received notice from the Partnership for Dietetic Education and Practice (PDEP) that the B.Sc. program in Human Nutritional Sciences (Nutrition Option; 2nd Degree; Dietetics preparation) received full seven-year accreditation status. A big thanks goes to the Dietetics Focus Committee, led by Christina Lengyel and including Semone Myrie, Kristin Hildahl-Shawn, Joyce Slater, Taylor Friesen, and undergraduate student representatives, supported by Emily Gregorchuk, for achieving this critical designation.

Doug Cattani, Plant Science, and Joanne Thiessen-Martens, Soil Science, presented to the Manitoba Organic Alliance summer tour on July 14 at DeRucyk’s Hilltop Farm in Treherne, MB.

Jim House, Food and Human Nutritional Sciences, presented a keynote talk entitled “Human Nutrition Research Outlook for Plant Proteins” at the Virtual 15th Plant-Based Foods & Proteins Summit on June 23, organized by Bridge2Food. Jim also participated in a panel discussion on July 23 at the International Life Sciences Institutte (ILSI) North America Annual Meeting (virtual) on the topic of Nutritional Sustainability. He provided a perspective related to alternative proteins in relation to a sustainable diet. 

Michael Eskin, Food and Human Nutritional Sciences, presented his AOCS Supelco Research Award lecture at the virtual AOCS Conference in June titled “A Long Lipid Journey: A Half Century of Research”. It has received over 1000 hits. Watch it at

Ryan Cardwell, Agribusiness and Agricultural Economics, made the online presentation “The Role of Information in Support for Agricultural Trade Policies: A Customised Survey Experiment” on July 30 as part of the Canadian Agricultural Economics Society summer seminar series –

Easton Sellers, instructor in the School of Agriculture, was recently appointed to the new Canadian Youth Agricultural Council. This group will serve as a consultative body to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, enabling on-going dialogue on food-related challenges and opportunities, sharing information and best practices, and advising on the strengths and weaknesses of policies and programs affecting the agriculture and agri-food sectors.He joins 24 others who represent a diverse mix of subsectors from across the agriculture and agri-food sector, as well as from every province and the north. More than 800 applications were submitted for the roles. Read more at

Ahmed Lasisi, Soil Science Ph.D. student, successfully defended his thesis on July 20 titled: “Efficacy of Urease Inhibitor with and without Nitrification Inhibitor in Improving Efficiency of Urea-based Fertilizers”.



Kyle Bobiwash, Entomology, was quoted in the article “Lack of bees, pollination limiting crop yields across U.S., B.C., study finds” on CBC News (July 29) –

Easton Sellers, School of Agriculture, was highlighted in the article “Two Manitobans Join New Canadian Youth Agricultural Council” on Portage Online (July 23) –

Michele Rogalsky, School of Agriculture, along with recent graduates Jill Martens and Shawn Williment, were interviewed for the article “A new crop of farmers” in Farmers’ Voice magazine (Summer 2020) –

Student Eric Olson was noted in several media reports for his 2018 discovery of an Indigenous artifact, modified bison shoulder blades which would have been used as gardening hoes –

The mini roll over training tractor unveiling on July 16 was featured by a variety of media –

The Soil Ecology Lab’s self-guided field days were featured in the article “Novel 4R Nutrient Stewardship Self-Guided Field Days created” in the Manitoba Cooperator (July 15) –

A number of media outlets highlighted the Faculty’s virtual convocation on June 29 –



Lasisi, AA, Akinremi, OO, Zhang, Q, Kumaragamage, D. Efficiency of fall versus spring applied urea-based fertilizers treated with urease and nitrification inhibitors I. Ammonia volatilization and mitigation by NBPT. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 2020; 84: 949– 962.

Cardwell, Ryan and P.L. Ghazalian. 2020. “COVID-19 and International Food Assistance: Policy Proposals to Keep Food Flowing.” World Development.

(The following paper was featured as a lead article in AJAE, and has an accompanying comment and reply to the comment – see all below)

Cardwell, Ryan and P.L. Ghazalian. 2020. “The Effects of Untying International Food Assistance: The Case of Canada.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics. 102(4): 1056-1078.

Barrett, Christopher B. 2020. “Comment on “The Effects of Untying International Food Assistance: The Case of Canada.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics. 102(4): 1056-1078.

Cardwell, Ryan and P.L. Ghazalian. 2020. “The Effects of Untying International Food Assistance: The Case of Canada – Authors’ Response to Comment.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics. 102(4): 1081-1082.

Pastorello, G., C. Trotta, E. Canfora, H. Chu, D. Christianson, Y-W. Cheah, C. Poindexter, J. Chen, A. Elbashand, M. Humphrey, P. Isaac, D. Polidori, A. Ribeca, C. van Ingen, L. Zhang, B. AMIRO, and 271 other authors. 2020. The FLUXNET2015 dataset and the ONEFlux processing pipeline for eddy covariance data. Scientific Data 7:225.

Eskin, N.A.M. 2020. Canola Oil: Canada’s Cinderella Crop. Journal of Food Science and Technology. Volume  34 , Issue 2. 49-51 (UK)

Asselin, S.R., A. Brülé-Babel, D.L. Van Tassel and D.J. Cattani. 2020. Genetic analysis of domestication parallels in annual and perennial sunflowers (Helianthus sp.): Routes to crop development. Front. Plant Sci. 11:834.


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