Our Star Tribune colleague Bill McAuliffe contributes this item today:

Climatologist Mark Seeley was one of three men honored Thursday with the 2014 Siehl Prize for Excellence in Agriculture at the University of Minnesota .

The prize, a legacy of businessman and philanthropist Eldon Siehl, is awarded annually to Minnesotans who have made significant contributions to agriculture and the alleviation of world hunger through teaching, research and outreach, and business.

Seeley is a University of Minnesota Extension Climatologist, a well-known media commentator on Minnesota’s climate history and trends and author of “Minnesota Weather Almanac,” who travels the state regularly consulting with farm groups.

He was honored along with Richard Magnusson, a  leading grower and researcher in northwest Minnesota’s grass seed industry, and Tom Rosen, head of RDI, Minnesota’s second-largest privately-held agribusiness company.

The Siehl carries a cash award of $50,000.

Last year’s winners were Ted Huisinga and Ray Norling, leaders in poultry hatcheries and health; Yue Jin, a globally-recognized leading researcher into wheat rust, and Phillip Minerich, vice-president or research and development at Hormel Foods. Previous winners have included former Congressman and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Bob Bergland.

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