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USask professor emeritus to be inducted into Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame

Dr. Bruce Coulman (PhD), a University of Saskatchewan (USask) alumnus and professor emeritus in the College of Agriculture and Bioresources will be inducted into the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame for his significant contribution to Canadian agriculture.

Coulman is a highly regarded leader and award-winning forage crop researcher whose remarkable career has significantly advanced Canada's forage and livestock industries and contributed towards increasing Saskatchewan's international reputation.

"We are proud of Dr. Coulman's many outstanding contributions to the sustainability and growth of Saskatchewan and Canadian agriculture," said Dr. Angela Bedard-Haughn (PhD), dean of the College of Agriculture and Bioresources. "His forage varieties will continue to benefit livestock and forage producers, the agriculture sector, and the environment for many decades to come."

Coulman's legacy includes the development of 24 novel forage crop varieties in nine different species, some of which were the first of their kind. These varieties have been widely adopted by livestock producers as they have helped to address major constraints – like feed quality – faced by producers.

He developed industry-leading varieties of crested wheatgrass (Goliath and Newkirk) and the world's first bloat-reduced alfalfa (AC Grazeland). The introduction of the low bloat causing alfalfa cultivar in mixture with grasses significantly impacted the beef industry, as it allowed livestock producers to reduce pasture bloat by over 60 per cent.

Coulman pioneered the first hybrid bromegrass, a dual-purpose grass suitable for both hay and pasture, widely seeded in Western Canada and the northern United States.

At USask, Coulman served as an adjunct professor for 12 years before becoming a professor in 2005. He was head of the Department of Plant Sciences from 2005 to 2013 and had a significant role in building the successful forage breeding program at the USask Crop Development Centre.

"Dr. Coulman has achieved numerous accomplishments, with several of his groundbreaking forage varieties playing a pivotal role in advancing Saskatchewan's and Canada's forage and livestock sectors. His teaching, training, and mentorship of the next generation of scientists will ensure his legacy for many years to come," said Dr. Curtis Pozniak (PhD), director of the Crop Development Centre at USask.

As an internationally renowned and highly published scientist, many of Coulman's journal articles, book chapters and presentations are posted in the public domain, which ensures access for knowledge seekers who do not have access to subscription-based journals.

In addition to his plant breeding work, Coulman has taught, mentored, and supervised numerous students and researchers, many of whom are now serving in the industry as leaders, researchers, and agrologists.

Throughout his career, Coulman was engaged with producers and built long-lasting relationships throughout the forage industry. He served various agricultural associations and was a founding member of the Saskatchewan Forage Council (SFC) and the Saskatchewan Forage Seed Development Commission (SFSDC). Coulman helped create a foundation and culture enabling producer leadership and opportunities for diversification of crop production systems.

Coulman's contributions to sustainable agriculture and food systems reach far beyond the Canadian border. He made significant international contributions, notably in quiet leadership, working with people, understanding their problems, building networks, and through teaching and mentorship, helping others develop solutions to problems.

Coulman's exemplary research innovation, leadership, service and stewardship in Saskatchewan's forage industry and Canadian grassland agriculture has been recognized nationally and international. He has received numerous awards including the Canadian Plant Breeding & Genetics Award from the Canadian Seed Trade Association in 2008 and the Leadership Award from the Canadian Forage and Grasslands Association in 2015.

He was recognized for his outstanding contribution to agronomy by the Canadian Society of Agronomy receiving a Fellowship in 1997 and later as Distinguished Agronomist in 2020. Coulman was also inducted into the Saskatchewan Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2024.

While Coulman retired from a prolific and impactful 42-year career in forage breeding in 2019, the legacy he leaves will continue to benefit Saskatchewan and Canadian agriculture into the future.

The Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame honours and celebrates Canadians who have made remarkable contributions to the agriculture and food industry. Coulman, along with three other agriculture champions, will be formally inducted during a ceremony on November 2, 2024.


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