Wheat breeder new CDC head

One of Canada’s most productive plant breeding and varietal development organizations has a new manager.

The Crop Development Centre at the University of Saskatchewan announced June 15 that wheat breeder and geneticist Curtis Pozniak will begin a five-year term as CDC director on July 1.

Pozniak, a faculty member of the university’s College of Agriculture and Bioresources since 2003, received his bachelor of science in agriculture degree from the U of S in 1999 and a PhD in plant genetics and breeding in 2002.

He also serves as the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture Strategic Program chair in durum and high-yield wheat breeding and genetics.

“The CDC has been remarkably successful, releasing more than 450 new crop varieties and contributing significantly to the agricultural economy of Saskatchewan and Western Canada,” said Pozniak.

“As the new director, I will continue to work with our funders, partners and producers to advance our core vision to be the premier field crop breeding organization in Western Canada.”

Pozniak’s name is well-known to farmers, agricultural researchers and plant breeders, both in Canada and around the world.

At home, he leads an extensive research program and has released 15 new Canadian crop varieties since 2003.

Internationally, he played a key role in multinational effort to sequence the durum wheat genome and is a recognized leader in the application of wheat genomics in cultivar improvements, with more than 140 research papers published in peer-reviewed journals.

“We are thrilled to have such an exemplary CDC researcher take on this important role,” said Mary Buhr, dean of the U of S College of Agriculture and Bioresources.

“Curtis has provided our producers with numerous popular varieties of durum wheat and been a leader in global science breakthroughs such as cracking the wheat genetic code. His multi-faceted excellence will lead the CDC to continuing innovations in developing crops the world needs.”

Pozniak will replace Pierre Hucl, who has served as centre’s interim director since January 2020, following the departure of Kofi Agblor.

Contact brian.cross@producer.com

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