Recognizing those who have come before in any field is a practice that reminds an industry how it got where it is today.
The number of agricultural graduates is growing. As the field’s demands rise and the current crop of practitioners ages, the opportunities expand.
Every year the University of Saskatchewan’s ag grads recognize some of their own for contributions to the industry.
This year, Jim Bessel and Barb Stefanyshyn-Cote were awarded life memberships in the organization.
Stefanyshyn-Cote is a Nuffield scholar and farmer from Leask, Sask.
After many years of farming, livestock nutrition consulting and operating a farm inputs business, she and husband John sold their farm at Leask and moved to the Saskatoon area.
A well-known public speaker and former Outstanding Young Farmer award winner, she lectures at the U of S and operates an agri-tourism and liquor distillery near Sask-atoon.
Bessel has spent more than 40 years in agriculture, beginning in dairy farming and field crops and later as a full-time agrologist. For many years he was the go-to agrologist for many producers when it came to canola in the province, serving as a research and extension agrologist with the Canola Council of Canada. He has received the Queen Elizabeth Medal Diamond Jubilee Medal for his service to the industry
Bessel serves on the provincial council of the Saskatchewan Institute of Agrologists and continues to consult as an agrologist.
In addition to these U of S ag grads, a Waterloo graduate was also given the honour.
Mary Buhr, dean of the agriculture college and a researcher and professor of reproductive biology, is well known for her support of the industry and academia at home and around the world. A strong supporter of 4-H, she is known for her local perspectives on a global industry.
“We take the opportunity to recognize those who have made a significant contribution to our agriculture. It is very few, so it really is an honour for those who have it,” said Irene Ahner, an ag grad and producer from Shaunavon, Sask.
Added Ewald Lammerding, a grad from Saskatoon: “The number of (U of S) grads is really large. The college has had such a positive influence on the industry, especially in Canada’s largest agricultural province, that the recognition with the award carries a lot meaning.”