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Alberta Barley Awards Top Scholars and Recognizes Future Innovators

CALGARY, ALBERTA -- (Marketwired) -- 06/09/14 -- Alberta Barley is proud to present the first annual Alberta Barley Scholarships.

Top graduate students Alireza Akhavan, Larisa Jancewicz and Laurel Perrott are the first recipients of the awards targeted to dedicated students studying agriculture in Western Canada.

"We are pleased to recognize academic excellence in agriculture science, and to support these students in their studies," said Alberta Barley Chairman Matt Sawyer. "Their research has the ability to maximize the potential of barley and actively grow our industry."

Each Alberta Barley Scholarship is a $2,000 award presented to an outstanding student with a real interest in agriculture. The award was established in order to encourage and assist young scientists in achieving their educational and research goals.

"We received many outstanding proposals from young researchers," said Alberta Barley Research Committee Chairman Richard Mueller. "The successful proposals were selected based on their potential to benefit farmers in the near future."

Feed barley research was a key component of the successful applications, which included: diversity in the population genetics of net blotch, a disease that affects barley in Western Canada; the use of near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) to track the efficiency and utilization of barley grain in feedlot cattle; and the intensive agronomic practices required to maximize feed barley yields.

"Innovation and further research into feed barley are a top priority for Alberta's barley farmers, as they will have a significant impact on our key barley and beef markets going forward," said Mueller, adding that 80 per cent of Alberta barley goes to the feed market.

"Continued advancements in barley research are essential for the beef industry to remain competitive," said Karin Schmid, Beef Production Specialist with the Alberta Beef Producers.

"With 70 per cent of Canada's cattle feeding capacity located within Alberta, improving the qualities of barley feed grain has concrete economic benefits to barley and cattle producers in this province."

Research is Alberta Barley's top investment in growing the industry's profitability.

"Alberta Barley is committed to growing the feed, malt and food sectors, and investing in young scientists ensures research in these areas is ongoing," said Sawyer.

As recognition for the scholarship recipients' achievements, Alberta Barley is hosting an awards ceremony and luncheon on June 13, 2014.

The ceremony will begin at 11:45 a.m., followed by a luncheon and media availability at the Red Deer Holiday Inn South.

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