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Alberta honours pulse innovator

Jan. 27, 2016 - The Alberta Pulse Growers (APG) selected esteemed pulse researcher Ken Lopetinsky as the winner of the second annual Alberta Pulse Industry Innovator Award.

"Each year APG recognizes a person whose progressive thinking and tireless efforts helped build Alberta's pulse industry into the flourishing industry that it is today," said APG Chair Allison Ammeter. "I cannot think of a more deserving recipient for the award to be bestowed upon during the International Year of Pulses than Ken Lopetinsky. He is considered one of the fathers of Western Canada's modern day field pea industry, and influenced many of the researchers who continue to develop improved pulse genetics."

Lopetinsky was raised on a mixed livestock and grain farm near Star, Alta. After earning a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture with distinction in 1973 at the University of Alberta, he joined Alberta Agriculture as a district agriculturist, and later as forage and special crops specialist, pulse and special crops specialist, and pulse research agronomist until his retirement in 2008. In 1976, Lopetinsky received education leave and completed his Master of Agriculture (soil science) in 1977. In 1983, Lopetinsky became involved with the Alberta Pulse Growers Association, which later became the Alberta Pulse Growers Commission.

Throughout his career, Lopetinsky worked closely with producers, industry representatives and other researchers on applied research projects including field pea and faba bean variety development, fertilization, herbicides, seeding depth, land rolling, crop rotations, direct seeding and the value of pulse crops in rotation. He co-authored and co-edited the publication Pulse Crops in Alberta, which was awarded a certificate of excellence by the American Society of Agronomy. Lopetinsky mentored numerous agrologists over the course of his career, and many still work in the industry today.

Lopetinsky said that he was honoured to learn that he was chosen as the recipient of the second annual Industry Innovator Award sponsored by ATB Financial.

"I am surprised and humbled to receive this award," Lopetinsky said. "I have to give a lot of credit to the team over the years because it has been said that 'you're only as good as your team'. The pulse industry came through with full support, and that was very, very rewarding."

The Alberta Pulse Growers Commission represents 5,000 growers of field pea, dry bean, lentil, chickpea, faba bean and soybean in Alberta. Our vision is to have Alberta pulses recognized by consumers as environmentally friendly, healthy, nutritious, and recognized by all producers as being an essential element in a sustainable cropping system.