Cécile Tétreault – Honorary Life Award Recipient 2018

Cécile Tétreault is from Saint-Valérien-de-Milton, a small municipality located on the border of Québec’s Montérégie and the Eastern Townships. She grew up on a mixed farm and participated in fieldwork during her childhood and teen years. During her studies at the Institut de technologie agroalimentaire in Saint-Hyacinthe, she did a summer internship in genetic improvement of spring wheat. Although ornamental horticulture was her primary focus, in 1974 she accepted the position of technician for the same improvement project. She worked all her career in the field of genetic improvement and seed production.

She worked mainly with cereal breeder Denis Bastien from the early 1970s until the mid-2000s. Many new varieties — around 50 — resulted from this collaboration. The Synergy project, and later a project on haplodiploidization, led her to work under the guidance of several researchers. She has also been involved in various international development projects including one in Uruguay in the early 2000s. She was responsible for the Semico Research Center from 1986 to 2006 and the Nevico Research Center from 2006 to 2010.

She started a research and evaluation site in the city of Causapscal in Québec. She became a cereal production consultant and full-time analyst for Synagri from 2010 until her retirement in 2017. During this time, she was introduced to seed production, select plots and became a variety breeder in 2005. She produced many plots of breeder seed for Semico, Nevico and Synagri.

In 1992, she was trained by Agriculture Canada to become a seed germinator for Crop Group #1 — cereals and large pulses. She completed a second training with small legumes and brassicaceae in the late 1990s. She then passed a seed purity exam in 2000 for all these species. The Semico/Synagri #1116 laboratory was accredited for germination and purity testing on all these species and Cécile was in charge until her retirement. She is still a member of the Commercial Seed Analysts Association of Canada (CSAAC), for which she was a director for one term and worked on the scholarship award committee and participated as a trainer in various workshops.

She has two children, Vincent and Elise, and particularly enjoys spending time with her grandchildren Loïc and Maëlie. Travelling, living in Florida in winter with her partner Jerome, gardening and small work contracts occupy most of her time post-retirement.

Cécile (at right) with Mylène Desautels, a member of her seed team at Synagri along with Cécile’s son Vincent.