Dr. Paul Sun Retires from Dairyland Seed, Honored at Annual Meeting

"Father of Hybrid Alfalfa" Retires from Dairyland Seed, Honored at Annual Meeting

Dairyland Seed logoDr. Paul Sun, inventor of the world's only commercial hybrid alfalfa breeding technology, has retired from Dairyland Seed after more than 30 years with the company. Dr. Sun became widely recognized as a pioneering figure in seed technology while leading the development of hybrid alfalfa, corn, and soybean seed at Dairyland. He officially retired January 1st, and the company honored him at a banquet in conjunction with its 21st annual GENI (Genotypic ENvironmental Interaction) conference in Milwaukee on February 25th.

"Words can't really express the sense of gratitude we have for Dr. Sun's contributions to Dairyland Seed and the agriculture industry in general," says Tom Strachota, Dairyland Seed's general manager. "He stimulated every aspect of the company and was instrumental in what we've accomplished and in what we can accomplish in the future."

Among more than 400 colleagues, family and GENI cooperators, Dr. Sun received a commendation from 58th assembly district representative Pat Strachota and Sen. Glenn Grothman last month at the Hyatt Regency. Colleagues also surprised Dr. Sun with a video montage of nearly 20 testimonials paying homage to his character, career and accomplishments.

Watch the tribute to Dr. Sun here.

"What I've learned working with you in the past thirty years is to do justice, have mercy and walk humbly with God. Thank you," said Dr. Sun to the crowd.

"I wish everyone in this room had the privilege to work thirty-plus years with a man of this caliber as I have," says Strachota. "He's not only a world class scientist, but a wonderful friend."

Dr. Sun joined Dairyland in 1981 as director of research working at its research station near Clinton, Wis. He directed Dairyland's team of plant breeders through its release of the world's first herbicide tolerant soybeans in 1993, as well as its development of key corn inbred lines. The release of HybriForce-400™ in 2001 marked a new era for alfalfa growers and stands as one of the most significant advancements in seed research since the introduction of hybrid corn. He authored six patents while at Dairyland, and release of a third generation hybrid alfalfa under the msSunstra® patent is on the horizon.

Dr. Sun has been honored many times for his accomplishments in alfalfa breeding. He DairyLand Seed Dr. Paul Sun photoreceived the AAEA Distinguished Service Award in 2011 and the Honorary Membership Award at the North American Alfalfa Improvement Conference in 2010. He is a past member of the National Alfalfa Variety Certification Review board, past president of IDEALS, and a member of the U.S./Chinese association of agricultural scientists. He has also served on a United Nations-sponsored mission to China to explore their increased need for corn development programs.

Dr. Sun, a native of mainland China, received his master's and doctoral degrees in Plant Breeding and Genetics from the University of Wisconsin. Prior to joining Dairyland he worked with Teweles Seed Co. in Milwaukee. He and his wife, Linda, reside in Roscoe, Ill. and have one son and three grandsons.

About Dairyland Seed

Dairyland Seed began its seed business in 1907 and has built an established dealer network throughout the Upper Midwest, with international sales in more than 20 countries. The business experienced great success under the leadership of Orville and Marie Strachota, entering the field of plant breeding in 1977. Now part of Dow AgroSciences, the family leadership continues through their son Tom and grandson TJ. Dairyland Seed is headquartered in West Bend, Wis.