Seed World

Minnesota Crop Improvement Association Recognizes High Achievers


During its annual meeting in Fegus Falls, Minnesota, the Minnesota Crop Improvement Association honored Jim Kukowski, a long-time certified seed producer and strong advocate for agriculture; Duane Dahlman, a hybrid seed corn producer; Pete and Mike Friederichs, lifelong Foundation seed producers; Grass and Sons Seed, a multi generation seed company; and Jody Prudhomme, a dedicated MCIA employee.

Kukowski of Strathcona was recognized with the Achievement in Crop Improvement Award for dedication to the certified seed industry and his many contributions to various agricultural organizations. Kukowski along with his wife Marilyn have been certified seed growers for more than 30 years. Primarily wheat seed producers, they also own and operate an approved seed conditioning facility. Their Roseau County farm is also a host site for the University of Minnesota small grain trials.

Kukowski is a passionate and vocal supporter of agriculture and serves a number of state and local organizations. He is a member of the MCIA Board of Directors, serves on the Two Rivers Watershed District Board and is a director for the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association. He has also been involved in the Minnesota Canola Council and the Minnesota Wheat Growers Association. The award is MCIA’s highest honor and is presented annually to recognize exemplary service by an individual to agriculture and the seed industry.

Premier and Honorary Premier Seedsman Awards

Duane Dahlman, Pete and Mike Friederichs, and Grass and Sons Seed Inc. received Premier Seedsman Awards. The award, presented annually since 1929, recognizes individuals who have demonstrated a long-term commitment to the production and promotion of high quality certified seed and have been active in the Minnesota Crop Improvement Association and their local community.

Dahlman of Cokato and the Dahlman family have been producing certified seed corn since 1922. Today as Dahlman Farms Inc., Duane and his brothers Kevin and Craig concentrate on producing traited and conventional hybrid seed corn varieties for the wholesale market. In addition to being chief financial officer, Dahlman is the seed plant manager, responsible for the drying, processing and bagging their seed production. He is active in a number of local organizations including the Wright County Soil and Water Conservation District, local and state 4-H, and Dassel-Cokato Basketball Association. He has provided many years of service to MCIA, including three years as board chair.

Pete and Mike Friederichs of Foxhome are the fourth generation to operate the Friederichs farm, producing certified seed in the southern end of the Red River Valley. They have been involved in all aspects of seed production from planting through harvest and conditioning. Their fathers Robert and John began growing Foundation seed for MCIA in the late 1960s. That tradition continues as Pete and Mike cooperate to produce and distribute high quality Foundation seed. In addition to handling seed, Friederichs Seed also processes and packages food-grade sunflower and soybean products. They are active in the state soybean, wheat, and barley commodity groups. Pete currently serves as president of the National Barley Growers Association and Mike serves on the Minnesota Barley Research and Promotion Council.

Grass and Sons Seed of LeRoy, in southeast Minnesota, has been in the seed business for over 70 years. Dave Lunning is the most recent generation to own the business, having taken over from his Father, John Grass, Jr. Today a fifth generation has joined the family seed business. Grass and Sons produce, condition, and bag certified oats and soybean seed as well as seed for private companies. They also clean and package organic and non-GMO food-grade soybeans. In addition to being members of MCIA, Grass and Sons belong to the Midwest Shippers Association and Global Organic Alliance. Involved locally, Dave served on the local school board and LeRoy Community Foundation.

Jody Prudhomme of Shoreview received the Honorary Premier Seedsman Award, presented to individuals who demonstrate outstanding support of agriculture and MCIA but are not directly involved in the seed industry. Prudhomme has been employed at MCIA for over 18 years. She serves as the certification specialist working with seed producers and approved facilities, assisting them with all aspects of seed certification. Her calm professional manner and extensive knowledge of the various program standards is a true asset to MCIA. She is the staff liaison for the Agronomic Standards Committee, helps conduct seed certification training and workshops, and provides input for revisions to MCIA programs and procedures. In her free time she is a Girl Scout troop leader and co-chair of an annual walk to cure Tuberous Sclerosis Complex.