Executive Committee

President Alireza (Ali) NavabiPresident elect photo Ali shirt and tie

Dr. Alireza (Ali) Navabi is an associate professor in the Department of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph. Dr. Navabi started his career as a research officer in the highlands of Central Iran after obtaining his Bachelor of Science degree in Agronomy and Plant Breeding from Shiraz University in 1992. He later on moved to NorthernIran to work in a Winter/Facultative wheat breeding program. He completed his Masterof Science in Plant Breeding in 1997 and moved to Edmonton Alberta to start his PhD in Plant Breeding in 1998. His PhD research involved an international collaboration with the International Centre for Wheat and Maize Improvement (CIMMYT) in Mexico, working on genetics of resistance to rust diseases of wheat. He completed his PhD in 2003 and started working as a post-doctoral research associate with the University of Alberta Wheat Breeding Program.  Dr. Navabi joined Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) at the Greenhouse and Processing Crops Research Centre, Harrow, Ontario in 2008 as a dry bean breeder/geneticist. In this role he was co-located in the Department of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph, where he served as an adjunct professor and associated graduate faculty. Later on, in 2008, Dr. Navabi accepted his current position with the University of Guelph and was appointed the Grain Farmer’s of Ontario Professor in Wheat Breeding. Over the years, Dr. Navabi has been involved in national and international research projects with a central focus on plant breeding and genetics. Since 2009, Dr. Navabi has served in different capacities in Editorial board of the Canadian Journal of Plant science including as Editor in Chief of the journal up to December 2015.


Helen Booker President Electphoto Helen

Helen Booker is a flax breeder developing cultivars for production in Western Canada. Her research program centres on understanding the genetics of traits of economic importance in flax. She co-developed a course on Tropical Crops of the World and coordinates a course on Global Plant Genetic Resources.  Helen Booker was raised in Southern Ontario. She received a BSc and an MSc from the University of Guelph and a PhD in plant science from the University of the West Indies, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Canada’s seed bank, Plant Gene Resources Canada (PGRC), Saskatoon Research Centre (AAFC). She then worked as a Research Associate in Cereal Breeding at the University of Alberta. Her move to the University of Saskatchewan in 2009 brought the opportunity to apply her training in plant breeding and experience with other self-pollinating crop plants (legumes and wheat) to the only university-based flax breeding program in Canada. Helen Booker as co-breeder with Gordon Rowland has released five new flax cultivars, including CDC Glas (registered in 2012), CDC Neela (registered in 2013), CDC Plava (first Northern Adapted variety; registered in 2015), and CDC Melyn (first high omega-3 yellow linseed variety) and CDC Buryu (both registered in 2016). Moreover, she coordinates regional pre-registration and Saskatchewan provincial variety testing for flax.

Helen has authored or co-authored 19 published peer-reviewed papers, 2 published cultivar descriptions, and contributed to a book chapter. Since 2013, she has worked as an associate editor for the Canadian Journal of Plant Sciences. She has been a member of the Canadian Society of Agronomy (CSA) since 2010 and was the Western Director CSA 2012-14. She was also on the committee for CSA Awards in 2013. She holds the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture (SMA) Strategic Research Program (SRP) Chair for the Flax Program and, since her appointment, has served as a director at large on the Board of the Flax Council of Canada (FCC) and as a Scientific Advisor to the SaskFlax Development Commission (SFDC).

Past President Tarlok Singh Sahota

Dr. Tarlok Singh Sahota, President electDr. Tarlok Singh Sahota, Director of Research and Business, Thunder Bay Agricultural Research Station (TBARS), Thunder Bay, Ontario, has been heading the TBARS since January 2004. Dr. Sahota has generated a lot of valuable agronomic data. As a result of Dr. Sahota’s research and public outreach, area producers adopted a number of crops/crop varieties and beneficial nutrient management practices, diversified and expanded their operations and initiated new small scale commercial activities. Originally from a family farm, Dr. Sahota has Master’s and Doctorate degrees in Agronomy with distinction, from the famous Punjab Agricultural University Ludhiana, India. Dr. Sahota has undertaken International Course for Development Oriented Research in Agriculture (ICRA), Wageningen, The Netherlands (7 months course meant for young agricultural professionals). He has over 30 years experience in agricultural research, extension and development spread over four continents and 11 organizations. Highlights of his career include establishment of a 10101 acre commercially viable contract mint farming program for A. M. Todd Company USA and management of large scale commercial farms in Nigeria, including a fresh produce export project. Dr. Sahota served as a member of an International Panel for the Second External Review of ICRA, The Netherlands and has worked in multinational and multidisciplinary teams. He has several other awards and honors to his credit. Dr. Sahota has been an Ontario CCA since 2007, has published over 110 extension articles in Ontario and has made over 50 research presentations at Canadian Society of Agronomy (CSA), Plant Canada, American Society of Agronomy, and farmers’conferences in Ontario/Canada & USA in the recent past (total over 300 publications to date). Dr. Sahota is a member of the CSA and the American Society of Agronomy for many years now and has been an Eastern CSA Newsletter Page 3 June 2014 Director of the CSA for the second term. He is a life member of the Indian Society of Agronomy and Indian Society of Soil Science. Since 1993, Dr. Sahota has held senior management positions reporting directly to the board of directors, has headed multimillion dollar projects/divisions and has served on the board of directors of a commercial organization, marketing agricultural inputs. Dr. Sahota was nominated for the CCA Award of Excellence in 2013 and he has been appointed Adjunct Professor with the Faculty of Natural Resources, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay for the term (retroactive) July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2017.

Dr. Sahota was nominated for the Innovative Hero of the Year Award Thunder Bay in May 2015. He was selected as one of the seven delegates for a professional visit to Seinajoki, Finland by the City of Thunder Bay in June 2015. Dr. Sahota has a number of other awards to his credit including an Award of Honour by the Alumni Association of the Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, India in February 2015.

Secretary Treasurer Yvonne Lawley

Secretary Treasurer Yvonne LawleyDr. Yvonne Lawley joined the Plant Science Department at the University of Manitoba as an assistant professor in 2011. Since that time, Yvonne has been a CSA Western Director. Yvonne’s area of research is agronomy and cropping systems. To date her research has focused on the agronomy of soybeans and corn as well as new uses for cover crops in conventional cropping systems. Yvonne received her PhD in soil science from the University of  Maryland (2010), an MSc in plant science from the University of Saskatchewan (2004), and a BSc in agronomy from the University of Manitoba (2002). Prior to joining the University of Manitoba, Yvonne was a Research Agronomist at North Dakota State University’s Carrington Research Extension Center.

Western Director Douglas Cattaniphoto Cattani

Doug has been involved primarily with perennial horticultural, forage and now perennial grain and oilseed crops over the past 30 years. I completed my undergraduate and Masters degrees at the University of Manitoba and PhD at Wageningen University, the Netherlands. I have been employed in academia, government and private industry and have worked in both Canada and the United States. I am currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Manitoba with teaching responsibilities at the diploma, undergraduate and graduate levels in the areas of genetics and breeding and agronomy of forage production. The areas of research that I am currently involved in are: herbaceous perennial crop development and agronomy (food, feed and forage); genetics as related to perennial crops; plant  developmental morphology as it relates to both crop establishment and productivity; seed production and quality of herbaceous perennial crops; and the utilization of herbaceous perennials in the both agricultural and non-agricultural environments. I am also interested in the utilization of native plant materials for agricultural purposes, both as food crops and for ancillary purposes (e.g. N2-fixation). I have been involved with the Invasive Species Council of Manitoba since 2008 and am currently the vice-chair for 2016-2017. I was formerly the community leader (2013-2014) for the Perennial Grains community of the Global Agronomy section of the American Society of  Agronomy. I believe in strong professional societies to foster professional development, for networking and to provide for the development of the next generation of agricultural professionals in Canada.

Western Director Bill Biligetu

West Dir Bill Biligetu photoDr. Bill Biligetu is an Assistant Professorship in Forage Crop Breeding with the Crop Development Centre at the University of Saskatchewan. Dr. Biligetu completed a Bachelor of Science in Grassland Sciences and a M.Sc. in Rangeland Management from the Inner Mongolia Agriculture University, Inner Mongolia, China. He then moved to Saskatchewan and obtained his Ph.D in Perennial Forage Management and Physiology from the University of Saskatchewan.  Dr. Biligetu worked in perennial forage breeding program as a NSERC post-doctorate researcher at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Semiarid Prairie Agriculture Research Centre for more than three years. He also worked as a Regional forage specialist with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, where he delivered forage extension service to producers.  He is a member of Canadian Society of Agronomy since 2005, and is excited to serve as a Western Director for the period 2015-2017.

Eastern Director David HookerIMG_0002 hooker,david

David is an Associate Professor in the Dept. of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph, based at Ridgetown Campus. David acquired his B.Sc.(Agr) in 1991, M.Sc in 1993 and Ph.D. in 2000 at the University of Guelph. David is a cropping systems specialist, with research interests that include genetics (interactions with management), plant nutrition, soil management and pest management. The goal of his lab is to improve production and economic efficiencies and sustainability of corn, soybean, and wheat production using an applied systems hypothesis-driven approach. David has published 28 peer-reviewed manuscripts (8 authored by former graduate students), and in the past 5 years, he has given 15 scientific conference presentations, and co-authored one book chapter on cropping systems diversity. Since 2011, David has advised two graduate students and co-advised another to completion of their M.Sc. As of May 2016, David advises or co-advises five graduate students, plus he is on the committees of five other graduate students. David has taught over 2,300 diploma students through five courses since 2009. David founded the Ridgetown Campus Soil and Crop Club in 2014. David received the Distinguished Extension Award from the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) in 2015. David is a member of the Ontario Corn Committee (OCC), Ontario Cereal Crop Committee (OCCC) and the Ontario Soil Management Research Sub Committee (OSMRSC). During the past 5 years, David has spoken at dozens of field day presentations, was the lead speaker in more than 20 media productions, and he has given over 100 scientific presentations to industry and grower groups. David likes to use Twitter to disseminate information. As of May 2016, he has over 4,900 followers with a reach of over 850,000 per year. David’s effectiveness in research, teaching and extension is augmented with extensive on-farm experience, as he continues to farm approximately 600 acres in Elgin County in SW Ontario.

Eastern Director Caroline Halde

Caroline HaldeCaroline Halde is an Assistant Professor in Agroecology at Université Laval. Dr. Halde’s research interests are multidisciplinary and include agronomy, weed ecology, soil fertility, organic agriculture, and international cooperation. Growing up on an organic dairy and grain farm near Montréal, QC, she has developed a passion for agriculture, innovation, and applied agricultural research very early on. She has received a B.Sc. in Agronomy from Université Laval (2007), a M.Sc. in Agriculture from Dalhousie University (2009), and a Ph.D. in Plant Science from the University of Manitoba (2014). Her Ph.D. research focused on the use of cover crop mulches for weed control and reducing tillage in organic farming systems in the Canadian Prairies. She has also completed postdoctoral studies in sustainable agriculture at Cornell University (2014-2015), working on weed ecology in organic farming systems under the supervision of Dr. Matthew R. Ryan. She has a keen interest in improving the science of organic agriculture. In her spare time, Caroline enjoys cooking, working on the family farm, travelling, and daydreaming about doing a second Ph.D. in physics. As an Eastern Director for the society, she wishes to strengthen the link between CSA and French-speaking agrologists in Eastern Canada, by translating the CSA website to French and by actively promoting the society in universities in Eastern Canada.

Student Representative Gucharn BrarBrar Pest Man Award

Gucharn was born and raised in the most fertile region of India, Punjab, also known as ‘bread basket’ of India. Being raised in a farming family, his interest was sparkled in agricultural sciences while he was in my higher secondary grade. After qualifying and clearing a competitive exam, he was able to pursue my Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (honors in Crop Protection) from Punjab Agricultural University, India with highest distinction as a result of which, he was awarded ‘ASPEE’ Gold Medal. After, Bachelors degree, he moved to the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) for a Masters in Plant Science (expertise: host-pathogen interaction and resistance breeding) with Dr. Randy Kutcher. During his M.Sc, he served as Social Coordinator and Faculty Liaison on the Plant Sciences Graduate Student Executive (PSGSE) at U of S, where he was involved in organizing various social activities, attended all faculty/staff meetings to represent graduate students. In March 2015, he started my Ph.D in at U of S in wheat breeding and genetics (expertise: resistance breeding for FHB) with Drs. Pierre Hucl and Randy Kutcher. Presently, he is serving as Industry Liaison in the PSGSE, and was able to raise a total of $8,500 for travelling to a graduate student symposium from industries/agencies. In addition to serving on PSGSE, he is serving as a Student Rep on the Canadian Phytopathological Society’s (CPS) Strategic Planning Committee since August 2014, where he played an important role in framing the working plan of the society from student perspective. He is also serving as a Rep on the Education Committee of CPS, and for the first time in society, he organized graduate student educational video competition and introduced award in the society. He is actively involved as a member of organizing committee, scientific program committee, fundraising committee for 2016 Annual CPS meeting in Moncton, NB. Other than societies, he served as member and judge of the organizing committee of the Saskatoon Regional Science Fair for 3 years. he is also serving as a peer-reviewer for various journals namely ‘Plant Disease’ (reviewed 6 papers/disease notes), ‘Journal of Plant Registrations’ (reviewed 2 papers), and ‘African Journal of Biotechnology’ (reviewed 3 papers). For his excellence in academics, research, leadership, and service, he was able to get 16 different scholarships (4 major worth >$200,000; but he had to decline two because of University policy) and ‘Outstanding M.Sc. graduate student award’.

Editor of CJPS Brian Beres

Brian Beres, CSA PresidentDr. Beres is a research scientist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Lethbridge Research Centre in Alberta. Dr. Beres started his career path as a teacher in southern Alberta after obtaining Bachelor’s degrees in Education and Geography. However, the allure of scientific research, which he was exposed to as a summer student at AAFC, inspired him to change career paths whereupon he obtained a Master’s and PhD from the University of Alberta. Dr. Beres established an agronomy program in 2000 and leads several multidisciplinary projects developing innovative and integrated crop management systems. Dr. Beres publishes in the areas of agronomy and crop science and has been the author or co-author of 46 peer-reviewed research articles and 1 book chapter. He is a member and President-elect of the Canadian Society of Agronomy, active member of the American Societies for Agronomy, Crops and Soils, and currently serves as an Associate Editor for the Canadian Journal of Plant Science. Dr. Beres and his co-authors were the recipients of the 2013 Canadian Journal of Plant Science Best Paper Award. He maintains close ties with both producer organizations and several national and multinational private companies that have a stake in crop production systems and life sciences research. Dr. Beres has several international collaborations and represents Canada on the Research Committee of the International Wheat Initiative. Dr. Beres is the past-Chair of the Prairie Recommending Committee for Wheat, Rye, and Triticale and led this cross-sectorial group through a review of the current registration process to ensure any impediments to the pace of delivering new genetics to the marketplace were removed.