The Saskatchewan Pulse Growers have named retired weed scientist and agronomist Eric Johnson as the 2023 Pulse Promoter.

The Pulse Promoter Award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the pulse industry.

Trent Richards, Chair with SPG says they are pleased to recognize Eric’s contributions to and achievements in the pulse industry in Saskatchewan. 

"His legacy has left a significant impact on agronomists and pulse growers, who have benefited from his research and project outcomes."

Johnson’s career began in 1982 as an Extension Agrologist and Soils and Crop Specialist with Saskatchewan Agriculture, he then moved to the Agriculture and Agri-Food Research Farm at Scott, where he screened potential herbicides for pulse crops, which led to 130 minor use registrations across a variety of crops. Additionally, he led research on non-chemical weed management in pulses, including mechanical weed control.

He later joined the Department of Plant Science at the U of S where he assisted in conducting field research for SPG-funded weed control projects led by Dr. Willenborg and joined Dr. Shirtliffe’s Agronomic Crop Imaging Lab where he led projects evaluating trifludomoxazin for weed control, as well as integrated management of broadleaf weeds in pulses.

Johnson retired in March of 2023 and leaves a legacy of 140 co-authored publications, years of mentoring younger agronomists, and a reputation for exemplary collaboration among researchers and scientists.

In accepting the honor, Johnson noted his work with the Pesticide Minor Use Program saying without it he probably wouldn't have had the opportunity to screen as many herbicides and it wouldn't have led to a number of registrations over the past 20 years. 

"Certainly I can't take credit for all those herbicide registrations and pulses over the past 20 years. The chemical companies registered them themselves, but in most cases having another impartial set of eyes doing the research just provided them with some confidence to pursue registration."

Johnson says the award means a lot to him because it came from producers.