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No-till researcher nominated to Canadian Conservation Hall of Fame

Posted: March 27, 2014

Dr Guy Lafond, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada researcher and soil conservationist, has been honored posthumously for his lifetime of achievement and leadership in no-till development and agronomy research by the Soil Conservation Council of Canada (SCCC). Lafond was inducted into the Canadian Conservation Hall of Fame in Ottawa, March 26, 2014.

Lafond was a research scientist with the Indian Head Research Farm of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for nearly 30 years. He passed away April 2013. He is survived by his wife of 32 years Enid Oddleifson, his son Eric and daughter Gaetane.

Throughout his career Lafond provided strong leadership and guidance to extension and research aimed at soil conservation and sustainable practices in agriculture. "Few people have made a greater contribution to the wide spread adoption of direct seeding in Western Canada than Guy Lafond," says Paul Thoroughgood, SCCC vice president, who presented Enid Oddleifson with his award.

Lafond obtained his master's degree from the University of Manitoba and PhD from the University of Saskatchewan. A native of Manitoba he worked at the University of Saskatchewan's Crop Development Centre in 1984. In 1985 he moved his family to the research farm at Indian Head. His area of research included agronomy of no-till, cropping systems, precision farming, cereal, oilseed and pulse production, soil, fertilizer and land management.

"Guy was one of the leading and most distinguished conservation agriculture researchers in Canada. He was a no-till pioneer," says Don McCabe, president of SCCC. "Guy was a friend to everyone and shared his knowledge in the United States, China, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Australia and Europe."

Lafond received many awards. They include: Manitoba-North Dakota Zero Tillage Association Award of Outstanding contribution to the development of zero till and direct seeding; The Weed Science Society of America Award of Excellence; Saskatchewan Soil Conservation Association Award of Merit; and the 5NR National Science Award, Fluid Fertilizer Foundation Scientist of the Year.

He was also named a Fellow of the Canadian Society of Agronomy in recognition of his work in direct seeding, precision agriculture and conservation practices. He was named by No-Till Farmer editor as one of the Top 40 "Legends" of no-till development for dryland agriculture. He was also a Diamond Jubilee Medal recipient, Canadian Society of Agronomy Distinguished Agrologist and will be inducted into the Saskatchewan Agricultural Hall of Fame later in 2014.

One of Lafond's greatest passions was transferring research information to farmers. He developed an e-journal in conjunction with the Saskatchewan Soil Conservation Association as a way to transfer research to famers. He could often be seen on a farmer's air seeder or combine solving a technical issue. Lafond played a leading role in establishing the Indian Head Agricultural Research Foundation that continues to conduct applied research for farmers.

The Canadian Conservation Hall of Fame was established in 1990 by SCCC to recognize the contributions of Canadians to the conservation ethic in Canada, says Glen Shaw, executive director of SCCC. "Nominees for induction can be farmers or those directly employed in agriculture or soil conservation related activities, but also scientists, extension workers, educators, writers or anyone who has made a significant contribution through their dedication to promoting conservation. Their accomplishments and contributions may be on a national, provincial, regional or local level."

SCCC is a leading player in National Soil Conservation Week, held April 20 -26, 2014. For information on soil conservation visit the SCCC Web site at www.soilcc.ca.