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MCIA honors several at convention

By Carol Stender

Date Modified: 03/05/2013 9:14 AM

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FERGUS FALLS, Minn. — The Minnesota Crop Improvement Association honored several people for their work and support of MCIA and seed development.

Richard Magnusson of Roseau received MCIA's Achievement in Crop Improvement award; David Haugo of Waubun and James Hunzeker of Spring Grove the Honorary Premier Seedsman honors; and Mary Hanks and Jim Palmer the Honorary Premier Seedsman Awards.

Magnusson, the youngest in his family, traded his labor for the use of equipment and started farming whilein high school. With the earnings from his farm work and 4-H livestock sales, he paid for most of his college expenses.

In his youth, he helped Laddie Elling with research plots near the family farm.

He attended the University of Minnesota-Crookston and North Dakota State University and earned an agronomy degree. He returned to the family farm and joined his father and two brothers in a partnership.

The livestock were sold and the focus turned to a crops with an emphasis in seed production.

Magnusson has always had an interest in trying new crops and practices. They have produced a variety of seed crops including small grains, Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, timothy, reed canary grass and several native species.

He is a long-time MCIA member and served on the association's board for six years. He was named a Premier Seedsman in 2001.

Magnusson has also held leadership roles for the Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers and was chairman of the Minnesota Wheat Research and Promotion Council.

He is described as an advocate for farmers and seed producers and is known to make long trips to St. Paul to represent the interests of various organizations.

Magnusson continues to work closely with University of Minnesota researchers and the Minnesota Turf Seed Council to improve grass seed production in northern Minnesota.

He helped form and serves as board chairman of the RL Growers Cooperative. The grower group produces and markets grass seed products around the country and Europe.

David Haugo's family has been producing certified seed for more than 60 years. He started producing it as part of a high school project. He is a dedicated seed producer who has held leadership roles in many state and local organizations.

James Hunzeker and his partners started producing native seeds in 1984. Their company, Shooting Star Native Seeds, is known as a premier producer and supplier of native seeds in the Midwest.

Hunzeker has devoted many hours developing standards for seed production and the use of native construction and restoration projects.

Mary Hanks is the director of the Agricultural Marketing and Development Division at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. She has worked at the MDA for 20 years.

Jim Palmer is executive director of the Minnesota Soybean Growers and Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council. He helped establish several successful programs and initiatives beneficial to soybean farmers. Under his leadership both the MSGA and MSR&PC have been strong supporters of MCIA.