Siehl Prize for Excellence in Agriculture announces 2016 laureates

March 16, 2016

An internationally renowned bee expert, the former leader of one of Minnesota’s most diversified dairy companies and an innovative leader in pork production are this year’s recipients of the prestigious Siehl Prize in Agriculture.

The prize is awarded annually by the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. Recipients are chosen in three categories: knowledge (teaching, research and outreach); agribusiness; and production agriculture. This year’s winners are:

Marla Spivak (knowledge):  Her tireless advocacy for bees and what they do for the world’s food supply has made her a well-known speaker, but at its core her work is about understanding how bees behave, breeding new lines of disease resistant bees and finding the causes behind Colony Collapse Disorder and other threats to bees.  She’s been a U of M faculty member since 1992 and thanks to her leadership a new bee and pollinator research center will open on the U’s St. Paul campus later this year.

Mark Davis (agribusiness):   The former chairman and CEO of Davisco Foods International started as a milk truck driver for his family’s creamery and eventually led the company’s expansion into a multinational agribusiness. Davisco is known for its innovations in the dairy industry, including new products and markets as well as a state-of-the-art dairy educational partnership with the U of M’s College of Veterinary Medicine at its farms near New Sweden, Minn.

Don Buhl (production agriculture):  The Tyler, Minn., pork producer has been a leader in state and national pork organizations over the past three decades, helping to develop programs for people new to the industry and to expand U.S. pork exports. He began farming in 1976 and has grown operations significantly since then. He was a founding member of the “Pipestone System,” a production model aimed at allowing independent family farms to remain competitive through shared ownership and increased efficiencies.

The 2016 Siehl Prize laureates will be honored at a ceremony in McNamara Alumni Center on the university campus on Thursday, May 26.  Their names were announced today as part of the celebration of National Agriculture Week.

The Siehl Prize was created in the early 1990s by a generous gift from New Ulm-area livestock breeder and businessman Eldon Siehl, a dedicated philanthropist who had a lifelong interest in agricultural systems. Siehl was concerned that people were losing touch with their agrarian roots and wanted his gift to ensure that achievements in agriculture would be recognized and celebrated.  Recipients receive a $50,000 award as well as a sculpture and lapel pin designed by Minnesota artist Thomas Rose especially for the Siehl Prize.
 
Media note: Photos of this year’s laureates are available at http://z.umn.edu/siehl16

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