Perspectives Newsletter Spring 2017
Vol. 39, no.3 / Posted on June. 20, 2017

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


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)

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

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