Dr. Yousef Papadopoulos Receives 2022 Canadian Beef Industry Award for Outstanding Research and Innovation
A leader in forage development and sustainable livestock production has been awarded the 2022 Canadian Beef Industry Award for Outstanding Research and Innovation. Dr. Yousef Papadopoulos was honoured at the Canadian Beef Industry Conference, held in Penticton, British Columbia.
Dr. Papadopoulos is a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at the Atlantic Food & Horticulture Research Centre in Truro, Nova Scotia. He is also an adjunct professor at Dalhousie University and Saint Mary’s University. Dr. Papadopoulos’ work focuses on forage breeding, pasture improvement and reducing the inputs required for forage establishment to improve environmental sustainability. He received his Master’s of Science focused on crop production and management through the University of Guelph in 1982 followed by a PhD in crop breeding focused on the genetics of plant disease resistance in 1987. He returned to the classroom to receive his Master’s of Business Administration from Saint Mary’s University in 1999.
Collaboration with producers, researchers, industry and government has been a priority for Dr. Papadopoulos throughout his career. Extension and partnerships have been defining themes and have allowed him to expand resources and improve the effectiveness of AAFC’s program delivery. Dr. Papadopoulos is known across North America for his contributions to forage development and ruminant livestock sustainability.
Dr. Papadopoulos is most recognized for his development of legume varieties. He is responsible for leading research in the development of the alfalfa variety, AAC Trueman, which was registered in 2018. AAC Trueman is drought tolerant but can also tolerate flooding. This added layer of resilience sets it apart from other varieties of alfalfa, creating value for beef producers across Canada. He also led the charge for a breeding trial on birdsfoot trefoil which resulted in the variety AC Langille, a high yielding, early spring cultivar registered in 1995. Dr. Papadopoulos credits his success in the field to his family and his team which is why both cultivars are named after esteemed research assistants from the Nappan Research Farm.
“Dr. Papadopoulos is a prime example of why awards like this exist,” says Amy Higgins with the Maritime Beef Council. “He has a unique ability to be plunked into the middle of a group of producers and be able to speak in a language that they understand as well as having the equal ability to be plunked into a group of his research peers and can communicate in an eloquent manner. He is well respected in industry and research circles alike. I respect [his] approach to research in that it can be directly transferred to the field. For example, they held off on bringing the new alfalfa variety to market until they could properly trial it in the field to ensure it performed. I think this is a great example of the strong integrity he possesses.”
Over the course of his career, Dr. Papadopoulos has served as part of numerous beef and forage organizations and committees such as The North American Trifolium Society, Canadian Seed Growers’ Association, the Atlantic Field Crop Committee, the Nova Scotia Beef Commission’s Pasture and Development Committee and the Agricultural Institute of Canada. He also chaired a committee that completed the development of a cost-recovery system for evaluating alfalfa cultivars in Atlantic Canada.
“He [sees] the industry in a complete way, integrated from top to bottom, complex and complicated in a challenging but exciting way,” added Bill Thomas, a retired forage agronomist from Truro, Nova Scotia. “Through this lens he brought research to life but perhaps, more importantly, he made research understandable at the farm gate. He’s so respected on the land for believing that farmers are the real testers. Far too often, research has a life of its own, sadly, hidden away in a world of reports and language and access. Yousef crossed the divide between science and life on the land – what a gift.”
As a researcher, teacher, and mentor, Dr. Papadopoulos has more than 60 peer-reviewed publications, has trained over 15 graduate students and has influenced a generation of researchers now working in public and private institutions across Canada and in the US. He is recognized for his extensive knowledge of forages, agronomy and plant breeding and for his communication skills which have led to numerous speaking invitations at conferences and academic meetings as well as producer training events.
The Canadian Beef Industry Award for Outstanding Research and Innovation is presented annually by the BCRC on behalf of Canada’s beef industry stakeholders. The award recognizes scientists and academics that are actively involved in strong research programs aligned with industry priorities, continually engage with industry stakeholders, and demonstrate their passion and long-term commitment through leadership, teamwork, and mentorship. Nominations are accepted by the BCRC from industry stakeholders and must be accompanied by letters of support from industry stakeholders and scientific colleagues. The recipient is selected by a committee comprised of beef producers, industry experts and retired beef-related researchers located across the country. The award was established in 2015. See past recipients at BeefResearch.ca.
Nominations for the 2023 award must be submitted to the BCRC by May 1, 2023. Eligible nominations from previous years will be considered for the 2023 award, which will be presented at the Canadian Beef Industry Conference in August 2023.
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