News Releases

Soil Conservation Council of Canada honours Manitoba researcher

Indian Head, Sask., March 30, 2010:

An Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada researcher has been honoured for his leadership in soil conservation and sustainable agriculture in Canada. Dr. David McAndrew of the Morden Research Station, Morden, Man. is the newest inductee into the Canadian Conservation Hall of Fame, an award which recognizes deserving Canadians for their outstanding contribution to soil conservation.

"One of Dr. McAndrew's most notable accomplishments was the creation of three producer directed research farms in 1992 to address soil conservation in Western Canada," says Don McCabe, president of the Soil Conservation Council of Canada (SCCC). "He worked with producer organizations in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba in collaboration with Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) for the creation of the three farms to demonstrate soil conservation, wildlife conservation and beneficial management practices."

The research farms have demonstrated the benefits of soil conservation practices and have influenced farming practices in Western Canada. Results on row spacing, seed row openers and crops in zero tillage systems have been used by producers to implement zero tillage as a common cropping practice. The farms have also demonstrated how zero tillage increases on-farm biodiversity and waterfowl production.

"There's no question that significant progress has been made on the soil conservation front over the past twenty years," says McCabe. "At the same time, there is still much more work required to address long term soil sustainability issues. That's why it's so important to celebrate 'soil champions' such as Dr. McAndrew who represent the goals and success of the soil conservation movement."

McAndrew's other studies have produced new information on landscape reclamation of eroded soils, greenhouse gas emissions and crop protection product residues. He continues to work on innovations to cropping systems. The management techniques developed from McAndrew's more current research allows for the inclusion of pulse crops and soybeans in diversified cropping systems. Crop diversification is an important tool in sustainable agriculture.

"The legacy of Dr. McAndrew's work with respect to establishment of the research farms has rippled throughout agriculture in Western Canada,'" says McCabe. "The farms have promoted soil conservation with respect to zero tillage, reduced input management and environmental stewardship. The research farms reflect his vision of dynamic agricultural research based on communication between producers, researchers, extension workers, wildlife agencies and the public."

Established in 1990 by SCCC, the Canadian Conservation Hall of Fame recognizes the contributions of Canadians to the conservation ethic in Canada. "Nominees for induction need not be farmers or those directly employed in agriculture or soil conservation related activities," says Glen Shaw, executive director of SCCC. "They can also be foresters, 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 the face and voice of soil conservation in Canada. Over the course of National Soil Conservation Week, held this year April 18-24, "soil champions" will be highlighted on the SCCC Web site at "It's our way of saluting the efforts of just a few of the many producers who have adopted more sustainable soil management practices," says McCabe. "These producers took a chance on these practices at a time when they were not as accepted as they are today."

For more information, contact:

Don McCabe, President
Soil Conservation Council of Canada
Ph: (709) 229-4439
Glen Shaw, Executive Director
Soil Conservation Council of Canada
Ph: (306) 972-7293
Jean-Louis Daigle, Executive Director/Directeur général
Eastern Canada Soil and Water Conservation Centre/
Centre de conservation des sols et de l'eau de l'Est du Canada
Saint-André (Grand Falls), NB
Ph: (506) 475-4040