Member Profiles

Member Profile

Ryan Barrett, P.Ag.

Research and Agronomy Coordinator, PEI Potato Board

In his role as Research Coordinator, Ryan works to ensure that the research priorities of PEI potato growers are being addressed as well as communicating research results back to growers and industry partners.  He is also the project lead for the Agronomy Initiative for Marketable yield (AIM), an industry partnership to improve agronomy practices with processing growers.

Prior to joining the Potato Board in 2012, Ryan worked in the dairy industry as a Publications Editor for Jersey Canada in Guelph, Ontario. He also currently serves as Secretary-Manager of the Canadian Milking Shorthorn Society.  This interest in the dairy industry comes from his family’s dairy and beef farm with registered Milking Shorthorns and Jerseys, which he remains involved with. Ryan obtained a B.Sc (Agr) from the Dalhousie Faculty of Agriculture and a M.Sc. specializing in animal genetics from the University of Guelph. He currently serves a first year Council member for the PEI Institute of Agrologists and is a Certified Crop Advisor.

Member Profile

Lindsay Birch, AIT

Field Research Associate for Atlantic Canada, NutriAg Ltd.

Lindsay has worked in many sectors of the agriculture industry including local research projects with crop protectants and seed variety trials, along with over sea’s work in New Zealand’s cropping and dairy industry. She is currently the Field Research Associate with NutriAg Ltd. for Atlantic Canada.

Lindsay graduated from the NSAC in 2011 with B.Sc(Agr) in Agriculture Business. She comes from a farming background, having grown up on a small mixed farm in Tyne Valley which included dairy and seed potato production. Lindsay currently serves on the PEI Institute of Agrologists’ Council as the Agrologist In Training representative.

Member Profile

Melanie Bos, AIT

Agri-Environmental Advisor, PEI Department of Agriculture & Fisheries

Melanie works as an Agri-Environmental Advisor with the provincial Department of Agriculture. Her role includes administering the Alternative Land Use Services Program (ALUS). Melanie is also the advisor for the Storage and Energy Sub-Programs under the Canada-PEI Agricultural Stewardship Funding Program. Melanie has been enjoying working with Island producers and farmers, and is looking forward to advancing her career in the agricultural industry.

Melanie is a graduate from the Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture, where she completed a B.Sc. with a major in Environmental Sciences. Melanie grew up near Salisbury, New Brunswick, on a hog farm that has since converted to a dairy operation.

Member Profile

Michelle Dyment, P.Ag.

Technical Product Specialist, NutriAg Ltd.

Michelle grew up on a farm just outside of Kensington where they grew potatoes up until 2007.  At this time they switched their focus mainly to IP soybeans.  Her involvement on the farm growing up allowed her to development her interest in agriculture. Michelle graduated from NSAC in 2012 with her B.Sc(Agr) where she majored in Plant Science and minored in Pest Management.   She also is a Certified Crop Advisor (CCA). 

Currently she is living in O’Leary and is employed by NutriAg Ltd, which is a liquid fertilizer company where she started as the Field Research Associate five years ago.  She is now the Technical Product Specialist for the company where she spends a lot of her time walking fields in order to make agronomic and nutrient recommendations to help farmers to get the highest yielding crops possible.  Prior to her employment at NutriAg Ltd she did field research for a potato and soybean company.   

Member Profile

Umesh C. Gupta, Ph.D, P.Ag.

Emeritus Research Scientist

After 2 years Post-Doctoral Research at the Soil Research Institute, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) in Ottawa, Umesh was appointed Research Scientist at AAFC, Charlottetown to conduct research in Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, with special reference to micronutrients.

Over six decades, Umesh edited and wrote 3 books, over 150 research articles and made presentations in countries on all continents. He is past President of PEI Institute of Agrologists, Canadian Society of Soil Science and past Editor-in-Chief of Canadian Journal of Soil Science. Umesh was selected to participate in the NRC’s Canada’s Scientists Exchange Program with several countries. As a visiting professor, Umesh taught courses in Brazil, PRC of China and Chile. He completed his Ph.D. in Soil Biochemistry from Purdue University, Lafayette, Indiana, USA. Currently Umesh writes articles related to human health and nutrition. On occasions he speaks on scientific and general subjects, e.g., Global Water Scarcity and the Role of Phytochemicals in Human Nutrition.

Member Profile

Steve Howatt, P.Ag.

Owner, Atlantic AgriTech

Steve Howatt is the owner of Atlantic AgriTech Inc., a PEI-based company providing contract agricultural and environmental research services throughout the Maritime Provinces.  Atlantic AgriTech primarily conducts crop research trials for clients from the agri-chemical, fertilizer and seed industries.  Typical projects include field trials in nutrient management, pest management, variety evaluation and soil science and environmental effects of agriculture.  Through these projects, Steve has developed expertise in the areas of crop and nutrient management, pesticides and the environment. 

Steve is married with 3 grown daughters, and lives in New Glasgow, PEI.  Steve’s hobbies include fishing and other outdoor activities, and he volunteers with the PEI Ground Search and Rescue, Canadian Ski Patrol and the PEI 4-H Program.  Steve obtained his B.Sc in Agriculture, specializing in Plant Protection, from the Nova Scotia Agricultural College (now DAL-AC), followed by an M.Sc. in Agriculture from Macdonald College of McGill University. Steve has been a Professional Agrologist with the PEI Institute of Agrologists since 1992, and has taken on several Council and Committee roles over the years, including a term as President in 1998-99.

Member Profile

Evan MacDonald, AIT

Soil and Water Conservation Specialist, PEI Department of Agriculture & Fisheries

Evan works as a Soil and Water Conservation Specialist with the provincial Department of Agriculture. His role includes working with farmers in limiting soil erosion on their fields through the development of soil conservation plans. In addition to soil conservation work, he is involved in various projects involving Precision Agriculture and the use of technology/data to improve decisions on the farm. He also manages the Department’s weather network of 11 stations across the Island.

Evan graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Geography from Saint Mary’s University in 2010, a diploma in Advanced Geographic Sciences (GIS) from the Center of Geographic Sciences in 2011, and a Master of Science degree in Environmental Science from UPEI in 2018 where his thesis project focused on the use of aerial imagery captured by UAVs in agriculture (potatoes).

Member Profile

John MacQuarrie, P.Ag.

Director of Environmental Sustainability, Cavendish Farms

John began his agricultural career with the Prince Edward Island Department of Agriculture. He has occupied several supervisory positions with the Department, mostly relating to potato disease control and production. In 2001, he was appointed the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry. Following this, he held the position of Deputy Minister for Environment and Energy and Deputy Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. In August of 2017, John accepted a position with Cavendish Farms as Director of Environmental Sustainability.  Throughout his varied career, John has always maintained an interest in agri-environmental issues and feels his most recent position will give him the opportunity to build on the experience he gained working in government.

John completed both his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science (Agriculture) degrees at Macdonald Campus of McGill University, focusing on crop science.

Member Profile

Gwen Corrigan Vessey, P.Ag.

Professional Agrologist

Gwen is a recently retired Soil Conservation Specialist. During her 37 years with the provincial Department of Agriculture, Gwen had the privilege to work on many innovative land management projects and programs including on-farm soil conservation structures, artificial wetlands, residue management for potato production and the Alternative Land Use Services Program (ALUS).

In 2007, Gwen was honored to receive the Outstanding Agrologist of the Year Award from the PEI Institute of Agrologists. In 2017, she was further honoured to receive the PEI Potato Board Industry Recognition Award. Gwen remains in touch with the agriculture industry by doing consulting work and currently serves on the PEIIA Council. At home, Gwen and her husband keep busy with an ever-growing list of DIY projects. Gwen holds a diploma in Resource Planning from Holland College and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Waterloo, focusing on earth science. Gwen is also a Certified Crop Advisor, accredited in 2002.