Studies in soil science, ag practices earn national scholarships

Joanne Thiessen Martens and Chelsea Sutherland.

A University of Manitoba PhD student has earned a national scholarship toward her work on struvite — a naturally produced mineral found in waste water — as a source of phosphorus fertilizer in organic cropping systems.

Joanne Thiessen Martens was announced Aug. 27 as the recipient of the Canadian Foundation for Food and Agricultural Education’s (CFFAE) Karl C. Ivarson Soils Scholarship for 2020.

Since returning to Canada in 2003 from a three-year volunteer stint working with organic fruit and vegetable growers in Brazil, Thiessen Martens has focused on agricultural research, extension and education, specifically on nutrient management for organic farming systems, the CFFAE said in a release.

After completing her doctorate, Thiessen Martens hopes to “pursue a career in research and extension using a co-design approach that integrates new scientific understanding with farmers’ experiential knowledge,” the CFFAE said.

The CFFAE also announced Chelsea Sutherland, a masters’ student at the University of Saskatchewan, as the recipient of the Douglas McRorie Memorial Scholarship.

Sutherland’s research interests include the “positive economic and environmental contributions of innovative agricultural technologies,” the CFFAE said. “The goal of these projects was to identify ways to improve upon the present knowledge-gap between consumers and the agricultural industry, with the intent of building greater consumer trust in the food system.”

Sutherland today is involved in a large crop-rotation survey of farmers in Saskatchewan to document changes in management and production practices over the past 25 years.

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