Dr. Keith Downey - 2016 Canola Influencer Award Recipient
For the 25th anniversary of SaskCanola, we created an award to honour outstanding individuals who have been instrumental in the success of the Saskatchewan canola industry over the years. The recipients of this award have made distinguished and exceptional contributions of knowledge, education and ongoing efforts to promote canola.
Congratulations to Dr. Keith Downey, 2016 recipient of the Canola Influencer Award!
Who better to receive this award first than one of the ‘fathers of canola’, Dr. Keith Downey. Keith is truly an oustanding Canadian. He is known around the world as Mr. Canola for his leadership role in the development of this crop. Dr. Downey was born and took his early education in Saskatoon. He and his wife Edna have five children and a number of grandchildren. Keith’s BSA and MSc degrees were obtained from the University of Saskatchewan. He has spent his entire career as a scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, initially as an alfalfa breeder at Lethbridge and since 1957, as a rapeseed/canola breeder at Saskatoon. Forty years ago, rapeseed was an insignificant crop in Canada. It was cultivated in Europe for industrial oil and in Asia as a low quality oilseed crop. Through the efforts of Dr. Downey and his colleagues, canola was bred from rapeseed in the early 1970s to have a superior nutritional profile and much less erucic acid. Fast forward to present day, canola retains its spot as the top revenue-producing crop for Canadian farmers. The economic impact is huge. Keith is best characterized as an excellent scientist, a leader and a collaborator.