The word of the day is "Collaboration"

Some people love to collaborate and share ideas, and one of those people was Vern Burrows, former oat breeder at AAFC. I am sorry to tell you that Vern passed away on November 8th, in his 91st year. An article celebrating his life can be found in the "Hall of Fame" section under "Obituaries". You can also read the obituary published in the Ottawa Citizen. While his health had declined significantly in recent years, Vern was able to watch the video of the first “Speaking of Oats…” (SOO) webinar, and was very pleased that Gehl, one of his hulless lines, is being used in the PanOat genomics project.

The next SOO webinar will be held this Thursday, November 19th, at 11 am EST. The title is "Oat Updates from the North American Millers' Association and the Canadian National Millers Association" and it will be presented by Dale Nellor (NAMA) and Gord Harrison (CNMA). If you would like to attend, please register here.

Thursday is International Whole Grain Day, and the International Whole Grain Initiative is presenting a webinar on "Building Healthy, Sustainable and Resilient Food Systems" just before SOO. The day before, on November 18th, Avena Foods will also be presenting a webinar, this one on "Healthy Innovations in Meat Products, Plant-Based Alternatives and Coatings".

Looking at whole grain products, the Swedish company Fazer Kvarn recently won the 2020 “Livsmedelspriset” or “Food Prize” for their “Havreris” product, which translates as “oat rice”. (It actually sounds very much like "Rice of the Prairies", which Vern Burrows helped develop!)

Moving away from food to waste products, the Fazer company in Finland is also up for an award (article in Finnish). They are building a new plant to produce xylitol from oat hulls. It is the first of its kind in the world, as the raw material will come from the company's own production of what is usually considered to be a waste material.

A wide variety of interesting articles, as well as information concerning upcoming meetings, can be found in the November issue of the Prairie Oat Growers Association’s 'Oat Scoop' newsletter. Some of Aaron Beattie’s work at the University of Saskatchewan is the subject of one of those articles, which seems fitting, as Aaron was recently chosen to receive the 2020 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Outreach and Engagement. Congratulations, Aaron!

If you are an American graduate student who’s working with material from the U.S. National Plant Germplasm System, then you, too, can win an award. The National Association of Plant Breeders is holding a contest to see who can create the best video describing their work with plant genetic resources.

The Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI) recently received a $1.1 million grant to help farmers in five states improve fertilizer and manure management with small grains. PFI’s annual general meeting will be held in January, as will a conference on "Intercropping for Sustainability", presented by the Association of Applied Biologists. Both of these will be virtual meetings.

During December and into January, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) will be holding a set of three webinars concerning Digital Sequence Information (DSI) as it related to genetic resources. Earlier this month, DivSeek held a webinar concerning the use of DOIs in plant breeding, and the video for that webinar can be seen here.

I wish you all a happy International Whole Grain Day on Thursday and hope to see you at the SOO webinar!