Sander "Sandy" Ludeman (left) and Donald Helgeson (right) were two winners of the 2010 Siehl Prize for Excellence in Agriculture.
University of Minnesota announces 2010 Siehl Prize For Excellence in Agriculture laureates
Media Note: Embargoed until 12 noon, Tuesday, March 16
Photos and biographical details of all three winners are available and the recipients may be available for interviews after the announcement. To arrange an interview, contact Becky Beyers.
MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (03/16/2010) —A tireless promoter of soybeans, the leader of one of Minnesota's best-known food companies and a world-renowned scientist and teacher at the University of Minnesota are this year's recipients of the prestigious Siehl Prize For Excellence in Agriculture.
The prize is awarded annually by the University of Minnesota's College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. Recipients are chosen in three categories: knowledge (teaching, research and outreach); production agriculture and agribusiness. This year's winners are:
- Sander "Sandy" Ludeman (production agriculture), a farmer from Tracy, Minn., who led the drive to create the National Soybean Checkoff, the commodity self-funding program that has dramatically increased awareness and production of soybeans around the globe over the past two decades.
- Donald Helgeson (agribusiness) of St. Cloud, who along with his brother Jerry bought the family's small hatchery in the 1950s and grew it into what's today known as Gold'n Plump Poultry. The largest fully integrated chicken producer in the Upper Midwest, Gold'n Plump breeds and hatches its own chickens, mills its own feed, and processes its products in company-owned plants.
- Ronald Phillips (knowledge), one of the University of Minnesota's most distinguished faculty who is known for his groundbreaking discoveries in plant genetics and genomics. His was the first laboratory to regenerate corn plants from cells in tissue culture, a contribution that allowed for development of genetic engineering in cereal crops.
The recipients were announced today at the Minnesota state Capitol, as part of the celebration of National Ag Week. They will be honored at a ceremony in May.
The Siehl Prize was created in the early 1990s by a generous gift from New Ulm-area livestock breeder and businessman Eldon Siehl, a dedicated philanthropist who had a lifelong interest in agricultural systems. Siehl was concerned that people were losing touch with their agrarian roots and wanted his gift to ensure that achievements in agriculture would be recognized and celebrated. Recipients receive a $50,000 award as well as a sculpture and lapel pin designed by Minnesota artist Thomas Rose especially for the Siehl Prize.