MCIA Presents Annual Awards

On January 12, 2022, Minnesota Crop Improvement Association presented its highest honor, the Achievement in Crop Improvement Award, to seed producer Wayne Capistran. The award, presented annually since 1972, recognizes exemplary service to the seed industry as well as outstanding leadership in agriculture.

MCIA also recognized five Premier Seed Grower awardees, Duane and John Pazdernik, Larry Rivard, Richard (Dick) Stangler, and Harmen Tande. Each year since 1928, MCIA has presented this award to recognize individuals or partners involved in quality seed production, active in MCIA, and who provide excellent service to the seed industry. Journalist Andrea Johnson and University of Minnesota Professor Kevin P Smith were the recipients of MCIA’s Honorary Premier Seedsman Award, which recognizes individuals not directly involved in seed production but who have actively supported the seed industry, MCIA, and their local community. MCIA has presented this award annually since 1930.

The awards were presented at the Minnesota Crop Improvement Association’s 119th Annual Meeting. The virtual event was hosted at MCIA’s office in St. Paul, Minnesota, January 12, 2022.

Following are brief profiles of each awardee. More detailed coverage will be provided in the spring issue of the Minnesota Seed Grower.

Achievement in Crop Improvement Award

Wayne Capistran

Wayne Capistran, of Crookston, has a passion for producing high quality certified seed. His dedication to quality has made Capistran Seed a very successful business.

Capistran’s participates in MCIA’s Seed Certification, Organic Certification, and Approved Facility programs. The Capistrans represent several seed companies and conduct their own variety test plots. Wayne’s straightforward, honest approach has earned him the respect of seed companies and customers alike.

Wayne is a member of the Polk County Crop Improvement and the wheat, soybean, and sugar beet grower organizations. Wayne and his wife Nancy have three children and their son Kevin is a key part of the family business.

Premier Seed Grower Award

2022 Premier Seed Grower Award recipients: Duane Pazdernik, John Pazdernik, Larry Rivard, Richard (Dick) Stangler, and Harmen Tande

Duane and John Pazdernik, of Waubun, have been growing and conditioning certified seed for over 30 years. Together, the brothers have a combined 100 years of farming experience. The Pazderniks often attend the Prairie Grains Conference, Small Grain Updates, and local county crop meetings. Their customers are neighbors and friends, and they truly value those relationships.

Larry Rivard, of Grand Forks, has been in the seed industry for over 50 years. His father, Bert, was a founder of Rivard’s Quality Seeds in Argyle. There, Larry learned to condition certified seed. Today, his business, Rivard’s Turf and Forage, is part of the MnDOT Approved Vendor Program. Larry has been active in various organizations.

Richard (Dick) Stangler, of Kilkenny, in Le Sueur County, has spent his entire life working with seed. He is the third generation in the business and works with his son Nick and daughter Becky. He participates in MCIA’s Seed Certification, Approved Facility, and the Noxious Weed Seed–free Forage and Mulch programs. He grows and conditions soybeans, oats, wheat, and cover crops seed.

Harmen Tande, of Moorhead, has been a certified seed grower for over 40 years. Ernie Krabbenhoft of Sabin encourage him to start growing seed. His primary seed crop is spring wheat, and he takes great pride in producing high quality seed. He has been active locally in the Clay County Crop Improvement and the county soybean growers group.

Honorary Premier Seed Grower Award

2022 Honorary Premier Seed Grower Award recipients: Andrea Johnson and Dr. Kevin Smith

Andrea Johnson, of Appleton, has been writing about agriculture for over 30 years. She grew up on a farm near Canby and cultivated her interest in writing. Andrea joined the Farm & Ranch Guide in 1998 and helped launch the Minnesota Farm Guide. A great supporter of MCIA, Andrea authors a significant article each year for the Minnesota Certified Seed Guide. Her work highlights MCIA and the Minnesota seed industry.

Dr. Kevin Smith has been the barley breeder at the University of Minnesota since 1998. His breeding work now includes winter, two-row, and hulless barley. In addition to barley, he re-booted the oat breeding program, which produced MN-Pearl, and is breeding silflower, a perennial oilseed. The Smith research team works closely with MCIA, including planting and care of the MCIA small grain grow-outs. Kevin also teaches classes and advises several graduate students.