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Gift to help grow seed industry

10/05/2016 11:30:00 a.m.

A former Lincoln University student who went on to carve out an illustrious career in the seed industry has provided a significant boost to seed science education in New Zealand.

Selwyn and Mary Manning signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Lincoln University Foundation last Friday to mark the creation of the Manning Seed Awards, which are dedicated to furthering education in seed science and seed technology for the benefit of New Zealand.
“The seed industry is sometimes overlooked for funding, as a lot of people don’t realise how significant it is,” Mr Manning said at the MOU signing event.
“These awards are our way of giving back to a vital sector of New Zealand’s agricultural industry, which has given our family so much for so many years.”
Lincoln University Professor of Agronomy Bruce McKenzie said at the event that the seed industry is vitally important to the New Zealand economy.
“Everything we grow comes from seeds, so their importance cannot be underestimated. We’re committed at Lincoln to helping improve the knowledge of those who will be going on to work in the seed industry.”
Professor McKenzie said the awards could be used in a number of different ways, including providing postgraduate students with scholarships to improve their training in the seed science area, funding for seed research and upskilling Lincoln staff.
Mr Manning studied at Lincoln College from 1962 to 1968 and gained a Bachelor of Agricultural Science and a Master of Agricultural Science in agricultural microbiology.
In addition to many other career highlights, he was instrumental in the development of New Zealand Agriseeds in 1987, the first Southern Hemisphere company to create unique, scientifically-proven, proprietary pasture cultivars.
“As one of four founding shareholders, Selwyn was Managing Director of Agriseeds for 21 years,” says Lincoln University Alumni and Development Director Jo Brady.
“By the time he retired in 2010, the company had business interests in Australia, South Africa and South America, with more than 100 staff and global sales in excess of $50 million.”
Mr Manning also became involved in the wider seed industry during his time at Agriseeds, chairing the New Zealand Seed Quality Management Authority, presiding over the New Zealand Plant Breeding and Research Association for several terms and becoming the first person from the Southern Hemisphere to serve as president of the International Seed Federation.
PHOTO: From left: Lincoln University Vice-Chancellor Robin Pollard, Lincoln University Foundation Chair Ben Todhunter and Mary and Selwyn Manning at the Memorandum of Understanding signing last Friday.

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