Prairie Post (East Edition)

Dr. Surya Acharya receives 2021 Canadian Beef Industry Award For Outstandin­g Research and Innovation

- For further informatio­n, contact: Tracy Herbert Extension and Communicat­ions Director Beef Cattle Research Council 306-850-5026 | herbertt@beefresear­ch.ca

By beef research 4, BCRC

An innovative and industry-engaged forage breeder has been granted the 2021 Canadian Beef Industry Award for Outstandin­g Research and Innovation.

Dr. Surya Acharya received this award today at the 2021 virtual Canadian Beef Industry Conference to recognize the positive impacts of his research on beef industry advancemen­t.

“Dr. Acharya is respected and appreciate­d by academics and producers alike,” said Matt Bowman, chair of the Beef Cattle Research Council and a producer from Thornloe, Ontario. “His work addresses real industry obstacles with solutions that consider producers’ needs through direct communicat­ion with stakeholde­rs.”

Dr. Acharya is a research scientist and forage breeder at Agricultur­e and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) in Lethbridge, Alberta, where he specialize­s in breeding legumes. His current research focuses on developing new cultivars of legume species with improvemen­ts in yield, nutritiona­l quality and persistenc­e, among other traits. His unique approach to plant breeding incorporat­es a considerat­ion of multiple factors to best serve the needs of end-users, including beef producers. Indeed, many of Dr. Acharya’s past cultivars are appreciate­d for their practical use in solving industry challenges, such as his AC Oxley II and AC Veldt cicer milkvetch varieties, both of which are much quicker to establish than predecesso­rs. Similarly, he assisted in the developmen­t of the online Forage U-Pick tool, which aids western Canadian producers in choosing appropriat­e forage species for their operations.

Dr. Acharya’s most recent project aims to enhance the lipid content of legume vegetative tissues to improve their energy content for grazing livestock. Using convention­al and genomic breeding techniques, his team has been able to select for plants with approximat­ely five percent lipid content, compared to virtually none in the original plants. His project will have environmen­tal benefits by using convention­al breeding to reduce methane production through increased digestibil­ity, which will allow western Canadian alfalfa producers to export to nations that avoid the GMO designatio­n.

“This project is another example of Dr. Acharya’s commitment to offering practical benefits to industry through considerat­ion of a variety of important factors, making him an exemplary recipient of the Canadian Beef Industry Award for Outstandin­g Research and Innovation,” Bowman added.

To best address industry needs, Dr. Acharya has actively sought out producer input through attendance at a variety of industry events and by directly asking for feedback through agricultur­al media. He is actively involved in industry and academic conference­s and regularly publishes producer-targeted articles detailing his recent work. He also has offered his time to multiple journals, as president of the Internatio­nal College of Nutrition from 2005 to 2007 and as the current chair of the Alberta Forage Industry Network. As the author of more than 180 scientific manuscript­s, five books, eight book chapters, 16 review articles, and contributi­ons to more than 285 other publicatio­ns, he is an expert at communicat­ing with both producer and scientific communitie­s.

While Dr. Acharya has received much recognitio­n for innovation­s in forage breeding, perhaps his greatest accomplish­ment has been developing more than 25 commercial­ly released perennial forage and native grass species. His native grass cultivars are still used in reclamatio­n projects, while his legume varieties have helped producers mitigate bloat risk and solve challenges with salinity and hardiness.

Dr. Acharya is an adjunct professor at the University of Manitoba, University of Saskatchew­an, China Agricultur­al University and the University of Lethbridge, as well as a guest professor at Inner Mongolia Agricultur­e University. He holds a Master of Science in Agricultur­e focusing on Agricultur­al Botany from Orissa University of Agricultur­e and Technology and received a Ph.D. in 1979 from the University of Saskatchew­an in Crop Science.

The Canadian Beef Industry Award for Outstandin­g Research and Innovation is presented annually by the BCRC on behalf of Canada’s beef industry stakeholde­rs. The award recognizes scientists and academics who are actively involved in strong research programs aligned with industry priorities, continuall­y engage with industry stakeholde­rs and demonstrat­e their passion and long-term commitment through leadership, teamwork and mentorship. Nomination­s are accepted by the BCRC from industry stakeholde­rs and must be accompanie­d by letters of support from industry stakeholde­rs and scientific colleagues. The recipient is selected by a committee comprised of beef producers, industry experts and retired beefrelate­d researcher­s located across the country. The award was establishe­d in 2015. See past recipients at http://www.beefresear­ch. ca/about/award.cfm.

Nomination­s for the 2022 award must be submitted to the BCRC by May 1, 2022. Eligible nomination­s from previous years will be considered for the 2021 award, which will be presented at the Canadian Beef Industry Conference in August 2022.

 ??  ?? Pictured from left to right: Beef producer Darren Bevans, BCRC Science Director Reynold Bergen, BCRC Executive Director Andrea Brockleban­k, beef producer Doug Wray, 2021 Canadian Beef Industry Award for Outstandin­g Research & Innovation recipient Dr. Surya Acharya, beef producer and BCRC Vice Chair Craig Lehr, AAFC Forage Breeder Hari Poudel, beef producer and BCRC Council Member Graeme Finn and AAFC Forage Agronomy Technician Brandon Eisenreich.
Pictured from left to right: Beef producer Darren Bevans, BCRC Science Director Reynold Bergen, BCRC Executive Director Andrea Brockleban­k, beef producer Doug Wray, 2021 Canadian Beef Industry Award for Outstandin­g Research & Innovation recipient Dr. Surya Acharya, beef producer and BCRC Vice Chair Craig Lehr, AAFC Forage Breeder Hari Poudel, beef producer and BCRC Council Member Graeme Finn and AAFC Forage Agronomy Technician Brandon Eisenreich.

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