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Well known SW Sask. crop scientist earns Platinum Jubilee medal

Posted on 5 April 2023 by Prairie Post

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Dr. Ron DePauw is an internationally recognized scientist who worked out of Swift Current. 

 He recently earned a Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee at a ceremony in Swift Current.

Bv Wheat constitutes one of Canada’s largest agricultural crops with farm-gate receipts of $6-7 billion and value-added processing of $7-8 billion annually. For the past 23 years, about 40% to over 60% of all wheat grown in Canada derives from cultivars that Ron and the Swift Current Research and Development Centre team developed. Ron has had an enormous impact on the genetics of the Canadian wheat industry. 

Dr DePauw played a major technical science role in the design and implementation of the producer levy to support wheat variety development which started in 1995. DePauw and his team used these funds and innovative science to develop over 70 wheat cultivars which incorporated environmentally friendly genetic resistance to control a multitude of diseases and insects, thereby providing higher economic returns while saving farmers and the environment from exposure to harmful chemicals. The seed sector has called him the “billion-dollar man” for the incremental value these cultivars delivered. The Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission had an economic analysis performed on the returns to research of the producer levy for wheat varietal development for the period 1995 to 2020.  The producer’s benefit to cost was an astounding 32.6 to 1.

For his many significant contributions, he has received numerous awards including the Order of Canada, Saskatchewan Order of Merit, Gold Medal Professional Institute of Canada, an Honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Saskatchewan, Canadian Agriculture Hall of Fame, and awards from several other Saskatchewan and international organizations.

DePauw was a member of the Independent Steering Committee to the GLOBAL WHEAT Program of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research managed by CIMMYT.  He serves on the Borlaug Training Foundation Board which collaborates with CIMMYT to train the next generation of hunger fighters. 

Wheat is one of the most widely grown crop in Canada and generates $6 to $7 billion of direct farm receipts and additional $7 to $8 billion in value added processing. Ron actively participated in the registration of 69 wheat and six triticale cultivars. For the past 23 years, 40% to 60% of all wheat grown in Canada derived from cultivars that he and the Swift Current Research and Development Centre team developed.  Cultivars developed by Ron and his team exemplify the use of environmentally friendly and low input-cost genetic resistance to control a multitude of diseases and insects. 

The Jubilee has published 265 peer reviewed manuscripts, 11 book chapters, and over 1000 miscellaneous publications including conference abstracts.

He has provided leadership to numerous Government and non-Government committees in Canada and worldwide. He has been invited to review international wheat projects and mentor young international and national wheat researchers. 

In 2015, he started his own consulting company, Advancing Wheat Technologies. As science advisor to SeCan Association, his role includes working with breeders, public and private to bring new genetics to the market-place.

From 1970 to 1972, he worked on a wheat breeding project sponsored by Canadian International Development Agency in Kenya, administered by the University of Manitoba.  Ron worked for Agriculture and AgriFood Canada for 42 productive years excelling through leadership and innovation in the wheat industry. 

In 1972, he married Else Marie. They have three children and three grand children. He has received numerous awards including the Order of Canada, Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee, Saskatchewan Order of Merit, Gold Medal from the Professional Institute of Canada which has only been awarded seven times to someone in agriculture, and an Honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Saskatchewan.

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