ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The University of Minnesota on Thursday awarded its annual Siehl Prize for Excellence in Agriculture to a longtime state agriculture commissioner, an economist who works to improve agricultural productivity around the world, and a wheat farmer with a long record of community service.

This year’s winners are former Agriculture Commissioner Gene Hugoson, applied economics professor Philip Pardey, and wheat farmer Bruce Hamnes, the university’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences announced as part of National Agriculture Week.

Hugoson served as agriculture commissioner for 15 years in three different administrations. His priorities were expanding markets for agricultural products and improving the protection of the state’s food supply.

Pardey works to alleviate hunger through his strategic analyses of science policy and agricultural investment options for development foundations, governmental and non-governmental agencies. He’s co-founder of HarvestChoice, a Gates Foundation-funded initiative that works to boost agricultural productivity and address food needs in developing nations.

Hamnes, from the town of Stephen, has served on agricultural lobbying and advisory groups. He has helped lead research initiatives of the Minnesota Wheat Council and Wheat Growers and with national organizations to expand international wheat markets.

The three will be honored in a campus ceremony May 24. Recipients receive a $50,000 award, plus a sculpture and a lapel pin especially designed by Minnesota artist Thomas Rose.

The Siehl Prize was created in the early 1990s with a gift from New Ulm-area livestock breeder and businessman Eldon Siehl., The college says he 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.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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