Seed of the Year West Announces Winner

January 8, 2014 / Saskatoon

Seed of the Year West Announces Winner

Seed of the Year West is proud to announce that Laird Green Lentils has been selected as the 2013-14 winner. The Laird green lentil was developed by Dr. Alfred E. Slinkard of the Crop Development Centre (CDC) at the University of Saskatchewan. Laird was the first lentil variety to be licensed in Canada. The release of Laird in 1980 was the single most important factor contributing to the rapid expansion of the lentil industry in Canada. The variety name Laird has become the international standard for the large green lentils. A number of pulse growers are still growing Laird today, 35 years after being released. All subsequent large green lentil varieties developed in Canada have Laird lentil in their ancestry.

Seed of the Year is designed to provide recognition to publicly-developed varieties that have made a significant contribution to the economy, agriculture, and the Canadian public in general. Although the name, Seed of the Year, indicates the contribution in a particular year, the program is much broader reaching and considers total lifetime achievement and contribution. It is important to recognize the value of our public plant breeding programs, as well as encourage the entry of new plant breeders to the industry.

Part of the western award is a $4000 scholarship, awarded to a student enrolled in a western Canadian university and currently completing a Masters or Ph.D. in plant breeding or genetics. As the breeder responsible for Laird, Dr. Slinkard was asked to review and select the scholarship award winner. “I am honoured to be involved in the 2013-2014 0Seed of the Year program,” said Dr. Slinkard. “All applicants were outstanding academically and technically, a testament to the high quality and esteem with which the three Prairie Colleges of Agriculture are held,” added Dr. Slinkard.

Gurcharn Singh Brar was selected as this year’s scholarship winner. Gurcharn is in his second year of graduate studies at University of Saskatchewan. His research is aimed at characterizing race and population structure of wheat stripe rust in the Western Canada. “I am grateful for this award, farming is a noble profession and I have always wanted to help the farming community with my
research outputs,” said Gurcharn.

The Seed of the Year award will be present to Dr. Slinkard on January 13, 2014 at in Saskatoon just prior to the start of the Sask Pulse Growers AGM. Seed of the Year West would also like to
acknowledge its sponsors: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Alberta Barley Commission, Canterra Seeds, Cargill, Canadian Seed Growers Association, FP Genetics, Viterra, Richardson International,
SeCan, and Western Grains Research Foundation. We also wish to thank the judges and other applicants.

For more information on Seed of the Year, as well as application forms for next year please visit


For further information, contact:

Mike Espeseth
Western Grains Research Foundation


Todd Hyra
SeCan, Western Business Manager