SASKATOON — The man who created the $1.3-billion Canadian lentil agri-industry has been honoured with the Pulse Legacy Award from the Saskatchewan Pulse Growers (SPG).
Dr. Alfred E. Slinkard, 82, professor emeritus with the University of Saskatchewan, was presented with the award during a Food Day Canada dinner in Saskatoon, attended by Food Day Canada founder Anita Stewart and the media, which celebrated local cuisine.
“As soon as Dr. Slinkard came to Canada [in 1970] he started processing or breeding lentils in hopes that it would eventually be a crop, and now we’sre the largest producer on the planet, which is pretty astounding,” said Stewart, adding that Slinkard’s dedication to the Canadian industry will not be forgotten.
Carl Potts, executive director, SPG, also commented on the accolade: “Dr. Slinkard is widely known as one of the founders of the pulse industry here in our province,” the executive director said. “His lifelong commitment to pulses has been instrumental to the successful and growing industry we are a part of today.”
A native of Rockford, Wash., Slinkard joined the University of Saskatchewan in the 1970s, working in the Crop Development Centre. Recognizing potential for pulse crops in Saskatchewan and Canada, he encouraged producers to develop the SPG to represent them. There are now 17,000 pulse producers in the province of Saskatchewan, exporting $1.3 billion pulses per year.