Perspectives Newsletter Spring 2017

For the 2017-2018 term, several elected and appointed positions are opened and must be renewed. The CSBE / SCGAB received only one nomination per post, which leads us to a simple ratification vote during the AGM. Thanks to the candidates who volunteer to keep our Society active!

We look forward to seeing you at the CSBE/SCGAB AGM to be held on Monday, August 7, 12 p.m. at the Canad Inns Polo Park in Winnipeg.

Here are the candidates:

Elected Council Members


Suresh Neethirajan


“CSBE had a successful history and is currently sailing in rough seas. With grounded optimism, through engagement, purposeful dialogue and meaningful actions revitalization is possible. It is time for us to be disruptive and do things that are unconventional and bold. Let us push ourselves to avoid an exit strategy. It is impossible to say what will happen in the next few years, but the culture of CSBE has to be dynamic enough to face the future. Let us talk and walk the talk.”

Download the full bio


Vice-President Regional

Hugh Fraser

hugh fraser

Hugh Fraser is pleased to be CSBE VP Regional for the next two years. He received undergrad and master degrees from the University of Guelph in agricultural engineering. He retired after a 35 year career with Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) at Vineland, where he was the provincial engineering specialist for horticultural crop protection and post-harvest handling. He’s been a member of CSBE since 1980 and recently was Ontario Regional Director in 2014-2015. He is from a dairy farm in the extreme southwest corner of Quebec along the south shore of the St. Lawrence River.

Hugh has authored 16 papers at CSBE/ASABE technical meetings; 25+ OMAFRA factsheets; was provincial co-lead for the 2017 Minimum Distance Separation (MDS) Document; is an international expert on wind machines for cold injury protection; and has appeared as an expert witness over a dozen times on issues dealing with normal farm practice and on-farm nuisance complaints. Hugh is the only person in Ontario who has witnessed first-hand the raising or producing of every single type of animal or crop grown in the province from alpacas to zantedeschia (calla lilies). In 2015, Hugh started the consulting business OTB Farm Solutions: Outside-the-Barn bright solutions for farming in the urban shadow. He has been busy, because it is difficult farming in heavily urbanized Southern Ontario.

Hugh’s hobbies include; walking 2000 km annually with his wife; playing hockey; curling; and constructing/selling hockey-themed duct tape wallets (yes..a goofy hobby, but Leaf fans will buy anything). He will publish a book in 2018 entitled; Swing Beam Barns of Niagara: Stories about 50 barns built over 50 years between 1825 and 1874 by 1st and 2nd generation United Empire Loyalists, late-Loyalist Americans, and immigrants from the British Isles.


Vice-President Industry

Paul ONeill


My name is Paul ONeill, P.Eng.  I grew up on Vancouver Island, this was a wonderful experience. As a teenager and early 20’s I worked Sawmills and Pulpmills. With an interest in engineering and agriculture I attended University of Alberta, graduating with a degree in Ag Engineering in 1990. After graduating I worked at the U of A for Dr. Ken Domier and Dr. Lars Bach as a research engineer working on flax straw and OSB panels. In 1992 I started working for Beaver Plastics as a Research Engineer and in sales, becoming the Manager of Grower Products in 1994.

Beaver Plastics is recognized leader in reforestation growing blocks, Styroblock containers, and in alfalfa seed production Megablock nest. Using these products as base has allowed me to direct work in other important North American commercial agriculture industries. Some of the successful new developments include new growing blocks for field transplant vegetables, Hortiblock growing trays, new and improved Lettuce Rafts for hydroponics and aquaponics and recently RFID tagged EPS Langstroth Brood Boxes and Produce Boxes.

I enjoy spending time with my wife of 27 years Patricia and my daughter Monica. I only lost my wedding ring once while working with flax straw. To keep sane I ski, swim, walk, mountain bike and play classical guitar, recently bought an accordion.   

Life has taught me to listen and focus on the task at hand.


Regional Director Alberta

Karen Yakimishyn (pending her acceptance)

Karen Yakimishyn




René Morissette
Accepted to renew for a 2-year term.

CIGR representative

Stéphane Godbout
Accepted in anticipation to renew until the CIGR conference in 2020 (Québec City).

Journal Editor

Ranjan Sri Ranjan
Accepted to renew for a 1-year term.

Committee Membership

Awards Committee (2 members)

Valerie Orsat

Lope Tabil

Nominating Committee (2 members)

Israel Dunmade

Harry Huffman (pending his acceptance)

Published in Notices to Members
Tuesday, 20 June 2017 11:11

Message from President Vijaya Raghavan

Vijaya RaghavanTwo thousand seventeen is an important year for all of us in Canada as we are celebrating 150 years of Confederation.  In Montreal this is doubly an important year where we are celebrating the city’s 375th birthday.  At this time we can also reflect on the historical perspective of our society.  The CSBE is strongly built on the solid foundation of traditional Agricultural Engineering and we are moving forward swiftly to address the challenges of the Food / Energy / Environment nexus following a systems approach which is being practiced in a sustainable way by our broad membership community.  In recent times, Forbes magazine forecasted that our profession is one that will be in high demand in the future, thus giving a positive outlook for recent graduates in our discipline.

The 2016 annual conference which took place in Halifax was where we began our journey for 2016-2017.  Our society is squarely addressing the issues of the involvement of undergraduates and graduates to attract them to becoming members of our society and to taking ownership through involvement in various activities over the past year.  We have moved forward with genuine input from our students in our next conference.  The preparation for the 2017 Annual Conference from August 6 to August 10 in Winnipeg, Manitoba is well underway under the leadership of President-Elect Danny Mann.  This is a joint conference with the CIGR Section VI Bioprocesses (Postharvest Technology & Process Engineering) Group, whose membership is meeting with us from different countries around the globe.  I take this moment to welcome them whole heartedly to Canada.  We look forward to your active participation in technical, scientific, and social activities during the conference.  The events are planned in such a way to provide the necessary platform for networking throughout.

As reported earlier, in 2016-2017 our members have actively participated in the International Annual Meeting of the ASABE in Orlando, Florida; the Northeast Agricultural and Biological Conference (NABEC) in Orono, Maine; the Global Initiative Conference on Engineering and Technology for Food Security held in Stellenbosch, South Africa; and the Engineering Institute of Canada (EIC) meeting in Ottawa.

Vice-President Chella and Vice-President Ike have had a special meeting with the Regional Directors to rekindle activities at the regional level.  This activity was welcomed by all the Regional Directors and there are positive results at various locations.  This is an excellent beginning and it should be sustained. 

With the approval of the council, an MoU was signed with the Council of Engineering and Technology (CET - India).  The 5th CIGR International Conference (2020) will be held in Quebec City.  The CSBE will work with the local organization committee to move this initiative forward as per our council’s approval. 

Before closing, I take this moment to thank our Society Manager, John Feddes, all the council members, the Awards Committee and its Chair Ying Chen, the Fellows Committee and its Chair Ramesh Rudra, and the CSBE Foundation and its President Ramesh Rudra. My appreciation also goes to our Treasurer Franklin Kains, the Journal Editor Sri Ranjan, and the Webmaster René Morissette.  Thank you all for your support and for a great year!  

Vijaya Raghavan
CSBE-SCGAB President



Deux mille dix-sept est une année importante pour nous tous au Canada alors que nous célébrons les 150 ans de la Confédération. À Montréal, c'est une année doublement importante où nous célébrons le 375e anniversaire de la ville. Profitons de ce moment pour réfléchir sur la perspective historique de notre société. La SCGAB est solidement construite sur la base du génie agricole traditionnel et nous avançons rapidement pour relever les défis du lien Alimentation/Énergie/Environnement suite à une approche systémique pratiquée de manière durable par notre large communauté de membres. Il y a quelque temps, le magazine Forbes prévoyait que notre profession serait très en demande, ce qui donne une perspective positive aux nouveaux diplômés de notre discipline.

La conférence annuelle de 2016 qui a eu lieu à Halifax a été l'endroit où nous avons commencé notre voyage pour 2016-2017. Notre société s'attaque directement aux enjeux de la participation des étudiants de premier cycle et des diplômés pour les inciter à devenir membres de notre société et à s'acquitter de leur participation dans diverses activités au cours de la dernière année. Nous avons considéré tous les commentaires de nos étudiants pour l’organisation de notre prochaine conférence. La préparation de la Conférence annuelle du 6 au 10 août 2017 à Winnipeg, au Manitoba, est en cours sous la direction du président élu Danny Mann. Il s'agit d'une conférence conjointe avec le groupe CIGR Section VI Bioprocesses (Postharvest Technology & Process Engineering), dont les membres nous proviennent de différents pays. Je prends ce moment pour les accueillir chaleureusement au Canada. Nous attendons votre participation active aux activités techniques, scientifiques et sociales pendant la conférence. Les événements sont prévus de manière à favoriser le réseautage.

Comme indiqué précédemment, en 2016-2017, nos membres ont participé activement à la réunion annuelle internationale de l'ASABE à Orlando, en Floride; la Northeast Agricultural and Biological Conference (NABEC) à Orono, dans le Maine; la Global Initiative Conference on Engineering and Technology for Food Security tenue à Stellenbosch (Afrique du Sud); et la rencontre de l’Engineering Institute of Canada (EIC) à Ottawa.

Le vice-président Chella et le vice-président Ike ont eu une réunion spéciale avec les directeurs régionaux pour relancer les activités au niveau régional. Cette activité a été accueillie par tous les directeurs régionaux et il y a des résultats positifs à divers endroits. C'est un excellent début et il devrait être maintenu.

Avec l'approbation du conseil, un protocole d'accord a été signé avec le Council of Engineering and Technology (CET - Inde). La 5ème conférence internationale CIGR (2020) se tiendra à Québec. Le CSBE travaillera avec le comité d'organisation locale pour faire avancer cette initiative conformément à l'approbation de notre conseil.

Avant de terminer, je prends ce moment pour remercier notre directeur de la société, John Feddes, tous les membres du conseil, le comité des prix et son président Ying Chen, le comité des prix et son président Ramesh Rudra, la Fondation CSBE et son président Ramesh Rudra. Mon appréciation s'adresse également à notre trésorier Franklin Kains, à l'éditeur de journal Sri Ranjan et au webmestre René Morissette. Merci à tous pour votre soutien et pour l’excellente année!


Vijaya Raghavan
Président de la CSBE-SCGAB


Published in Editorial

 We have put together an interesting technical conference that consists of keynote speakers, invited speakers, concurrent technical sessions (approximately 100 oral presentations), and a poster session (approximately 70 posters). The conference also includes professional development workshops and technical tours. We are hoping to have good industry representation at the conference as well. 

The conference website provides many more details:  


We hope that you will consider attending the conference. You can register online at regular rate until July 14. Please feel free to share this notice with other colleagues who may be interested in the conference. 


Highlights of the Conference

Download the preliminary program


Upcoming deadlines

Online Registration Closes:   July 14, 2017
Deadline for Hotel Reservations:   July 1, 2017
Conference dates:   August 6-10, 2017


Professional Development Workshop

- Project Everest:  New Heights in Leadership and Project Management by Alan Mallory, P.Eng (Download the full presentation)
- Teaching and Learning with Technology – Learn to use Apps to enhance your Academic life

Keynote/Invited Speakers

“Cannabis production”
“Food to health continuum and changing trends in how the public views food and food processing”
“Emerging opportunities in the Canadian food industry”
“Smart utilization of food component interactions and processing technologies in the delivery of consumer foods with nutritional, functional and sensory advantages”
“Novel nanostructured thin film technologies for food adulterant detection, chemical sensing and controlled drug release”
“Trends in Agriculture – an Equipment Manufacturer’s Point of View”
“Biomass to Bioenergy Processes: A Utilities perspective”
“Future opportunities and risk in food processing: focus on pork production”
“Initiatives of the Composites Innovation Centre in the area of bio-fibre and bio-composites”
“Innovation in bio-fibre and bio-products”
“Ecological Engineering at world’s only whole-ecosystem freshwater research facility”
“Innovation in sensing and control in post-harvest storage systems”

Guest Speaker at Awards Banquet

Diana Nicholson (Biosystems alumni from 2006), recipient of the 2016 University of Manitoba Young Alumni Award for her work with Doctors Without Borders during the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone


Concurrent Technical Sessions

Session 1A:  Biopolymers:  Production & Properties
Session 1B:  Sustaining Water and Soil Quality
Session 1C:  Grain & Food Storage:  Infestation Management and Future Prospects
Session 2A:  Biomass as a Sustainable Feedstock for Solid Fuel
Session 2B:  Soil & Water:  Mitigating Environmental Impact
Session 2C:  Grain & Food Storage:  Fundamentals and Techniques
Session 3A:  Biodiesel, Biogas and Pre-treatment
Session 3B:  Soil & Water:  Modelling and Implications
Session 3C:  Agricultural Structures
Session 4A:  Bio-Fibre and Biomaterials:  Production and Characterization
Session 4B:  Functional Foods, Nutrition and Consumers
Session 4C:  Bioprocessing: Innovations in Food Processing
Session 5A:  Innovative Approaches to Bioenergy Production
Session 5B:  Biological Wastewater Treatment
Session 5C:  Agricultural Machinery and Technologies
Session 6A:  Animal Housing
Session 6B:  Food Safety in Traditional and Non-Traditional Sources of Protein
Session 6C:  Food Processing:  Thermal and Non-Thermal Approaches

Technical Tours to University of Manitoba

Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals (RCFFN)
Alternative Village
Canadian Wheat Board Centre for Grain Storage Research (CWBGSR)
Manitoba Institute for Materials (MIM)

Sponsorship Opportunities
Sponsorship opportunities have been devised to allow you to both advertise your organization and send delegates to attend the conference. Booth space will be available at the conference as a means for industry to promote products and/or services or for recruitment purposes. Contact Don Petkau (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) to learn more about the sponsorship opportunities that are available.

The date of the conference has been selected to coincide with Winnipeg’s famous Folklorama festival (www.folklorama.ca), the world’s largest and longest-running multicultural festival. We will facilitate a VIP tour for conference attendees on the Monday evening of the conference (not included in conference registration fee) as an opportunity for additional networking with conference attendees. Furthermore, we hope you might consider spending a couple of extra days in Winnipeg to attend other Folklorama venues, watch talented young athletes during the Canada Summer Games (www.2017canadagames.ca), or visit the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (www.humanrights.ca).


Get 10% discount on Winnipeg City Pass

To add to the enjoyment of your visit to Winnipeg, you may purchase a Winnipeg City Attractions Pass to take advantage of 8 top attractions within the city. We have arranged for conference delegates to receive free local delivery and 10% discount; please use coupon code 2017AGM to receive this special rate.


Winnipeg City Pass

Published in Notice of Meeting
Monday, 19 June 2017 13:12

Competitions during the AGM

Photography Contest

photograph web

The photography contest is open to both students and professionals. The pictures and write up are to be focused on the theme of the conference: Food, fuel, fibre, and sustainability. 

Entries will be accepted starting June 1, 2017, until August 1, 2017. Entries submitted before or after the Entry Period will not be eligible. 

The top three entries for each of the two categories shall be selected by vote during the CSBE 2017 conference. Each of the winners will receive prizes, and the first-place student will receive $100. The awards will be presented to the winners during the CSBE Awards Ceremony on August 8, 2017.

To enter the contest, complete the entry form then send your photography to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Example Layout 1 (PDF)Example Layout 2 (PDF)Example Poster Submission (PDF)

Photography Contest Rules (PDF)

Published in Winnipeg 2017
Monday, 19 June 2017 13:09

Recongition for Dr. Shahab Sokhansanj

ShahabDr. Shahab Sokhansanj has been recognized for his contributions to the development of the "2016 Billion-Ton Report: Advancing Domestic Resources for a Thriving Bioeconomy" published by the U.S. Department of Energy.  The inscription on the “Distinguished Achievement Award” plaque states “The Award is presented to Shahab Sokhansanj for producing the outstanding scientific analysis in DOE’s Billion Ton 2016 Volume 1 report that are being used to guide our country’s development  of strategies to achieve its goals for a robust bioeconomy.” 

May 25, 2017, Signed Stan Wulschlager, Director, Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory. 

Congratulations Dr. Shahab!

Manitoba School Science Symposium (MSSS) is the yearly provincial showcase event for school students to display their scientific knowledge, and CSBE/ SCGAB once again made it's presence at MSSS by awarding one project each from senior and intermediate category which are related to bioengineering field. This year, 25 projects out of 450 displayed projects found to be related to bioengineering field.  Evan Chan from Grand Park High School won the intermediate category award for the project “Developing an Interdigitated Capacitive Sensor to Evaluate the Quality of food solutions” and Jacob Harvey from Grant Park High School won the senior category award for the project “Medium optimization for bioplastic in non-sterile conditions using Pseudomonas Putida”.  

Congratulations to these young talents!

int winner
Evan Chan - 2017 CSBE/SCGAB award Winner- Intermediate category

senior award
Jacob Harvey - 2017 CSBE/SCGAB award Winner- Senior category

Published in Manitoba Regional News
Monday, 19 June 2017 11:58

News from Université Laval

Sécurité alimentaire et développement fruitier dans la région de Cienfuegos: production, transformation et conservation

Le 4 avril 2017, le Ministère de Relations Internationales et de la Francophonie de Québec (MRIFQ) a subventionné un projet entre la Faculté des Sciences Agraires (FCA) de l'Universidad de Cienfuegos (UC) et la Faculté des Sciences de l’Agriculture et l’Alimentation (FSAA) de l’Université Laval pour initier des recherches en vue de l’amélioration de la sécurité alimentaire de cette région cubaine en intervenant dans les objectifs particuliers suivants: 1) la diversification de la production fruitière, 2) l'amélioration des technologies post-récoltes, 3) le développement des procédés de transformation et de conservation des fruits.

Piloté au Québec par la professeure Cristina Ratti (SGA-ULaval) et à Cuba par le Doyen de la FCA (UFC) Enrique Rafael Parets Selva, ce projet comptera avec l’aide du Dr Alain Olivier et Mme Flore Fournier (ULaval) ainsi que le Dr Vijaya Raghavan (McGill) pour la partie québécoise, et les professeurs Yhosvanni Perez, Reinaldo Perez Armas, José Ramon Mesa, Damisela Acea del Sol, Wilfredo Padron et Fernando Miranda pour la partie cubaine. Grâce à ce projet nous espérons renforcer l'expertise des professeurs cubains par la formation au niveau gradué dans les trois aspects importants identifiés: production fruitière, technologies post-récoltes, conservation et transformation alimentaires. Aussi, nous comptons initier dès maintenant les activités de transfert technologique aux producteurs de la région de Cienfuegos, en offrant des ateliers de formation sur la conservation et la transformation des fruits avec des procédés adaptés à leur contexte. Ces ateliers théorico/pratiques seront réalisés grâce au travail conjoint de professeurs UC associés au projet PIAL (Programa de Innovación Agropecuaria Local) et ceux de l’UL, ainsi que d'une stagiaire UL en transformation alimentaire, Myriam Chartier.


Food security and fruit development in the region of Cienfuegos: production, transformation et conservation

On April 4th 2017, the Ministère de Relations Internationales et de la Francophonie de Québec (MRIFQ) granted a project between the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences (FCA) of Universidad de Cienfuegos (UC, Cuba) and the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences (FSAA) of Université Laval (Quebec) to start research collaboration with the objective of improving food security on this Cuban region by acting in the following aspects: 1) diversification of fruit production, 2) improvement of post-harvest technologies, 3) development of fruit transformation and conservation processes.

Professor Cristina Ratti (SGA-ULaval) and the Dean Enrique Rafael Parets Selva (FCA-UCF) are the leaders of this project, which counts with the collaboration of Dr Alain Olivier and Mrs Flore Fournier (ULaval) and Dr Vijaya Raghavan (McGill) for the Quebec group, and professors Yhosvanni Perez, Reinaldo Perez Armas, José Ramon Mesa, Damisela Acea del Sol, Wilfredo Padron and Fernando Miranda for Cuba. Thanks to this project, we hope to strengthen the knowledge of Cuban professors by their education at the graduate level in three identified important aspects: fruit production, post-harvest technologies, fruit conservation and transformation. Also, we’ll start activities of technological transfer to fruit producers of the Cienfuegos region by offering them workshops on fruit conservation by dehydration processes adapted to their context. These theoretical/practical workshops will be done with the work of professors from the Ulaval and those of UC linked to the PIAL project (Programa de Innovación Agropecuaria Local), and the help of Myriam Chartier, an intern from ULaval in food transformation. 

Palacio del Valle, Cienfuegos
Monday, 19 June 2017 11:54

News from McGill University

Students from the Bioresource Engineering Department of McGill (Ann Pille, Maxime Leclerc, Connor Miller, Mark Cool and Francis St-Aubin) went to the 2017 ASABE International 1/4 Scale Tractor Student Design Competition. They won awards in manufacturability, serviceability and craftsmanship. In addition they won the second position for the marketing presentation. The top three marketing presentations get an award as well as the opportunity to present at the ASABE conference in Spokane. Overall, the McGill team was ranked 11th out of 30 teams.

Grant Clark and Chandra Madramootoo won $3M support from AAFC Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Program for two projects related to reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Grant’s project is about the application of biosolids from wastewater treatment plants to agricultural fields. Chandra’s project is about best practices for irrigation and water management to reduce GHG emissions. Here are the details:


Principal Investigator: Grant Clark - Affiliation: FAES – Dept. of Bioresources Engineering

Project title: Management strategies for nutrient use efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions reduction from biosolids-amended soils in Canada.

Agriculture and Agrifood Canada Program: Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program AGGP2-033

Amount awarded: CDN $1,366,961 (2016-2020)

Collaborations: University of Dalhousie and University of Alberta and Industries

Description of the Project: This project aims to investigate management practices for use of municipal biosolids as a crop fertilizer and to quantify the effect of these practices on GHG emissions. Biosolids are a by-product of wastewater treatment plants and contain appreciable quantities of organic and inorganic nitrogen, as well as other plant nutrients (e.g., phosphorous, potassium, calcium, magnesium), making them a valuable fertilizer for crop production.

Objectives and deliverables (milestones): The main objective of this project is to assess the effect of biosolid pre-treatment and application methods on N use efficiency, greenhouse gas emissions, and C sequestration, under three distinct climatic conditions in Canada: Humid continental (Montreal), Atlantic maritime (Nova Scotia) and semi-arid Prairie (Edmonton). The collaborative and inter-regional nature of the project and the attention to comprehensive knowledge dissemination will result in best management practices of national and international utility.


Renewal of the initial project funded from 2010-2015

Principal Investigator: Chandra Madramootoo - Affiliation: FAES – Dept. of Bioresources Engineering

Project title: An Integrated Socio-economic and Biophysical Framework for Mitigating Greenhouse Gas Emissions under Agricultural Water Management Systems in Eastern Canada

Agriculture and Agrifood Canada Program: Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program AGGP2-020

Amount awarded: CDN $ 1,608,712 (2016-2020)

Collaborations: University of Guelph, University of Dalhousie, University of Saskatchewan, AAFC Research stations in Harrow, Guelph and Saskatchewan and Industries.

Description of the Project: The project aims to investigate the effects of different beneficial water management systems in Eastern Canada on GHG emissions and the adoption of these BMPs by farmers in the region.

Objectives and deliverables (milestones): The principal objective is to identify, develop and disseminate information for beneficial water management practices which simultaneously reduces GHG emissions, increases agricultural productivity and produces environmental co-benefits.

Submit your news

The CSBE is looking for news from its members!

Please send your text with good resolution pictures to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.Your news will be published in the next Perspectives Newsletter.