News June 2022, North America, Pests and Diseases

AAFC scientist honoured as one of 2022’s Influential Women in Canadian Agriculture

AAFC scientist, Dr. Christine Noronha has been named one of seven 2022 Influential Women in Canadian Agriculture by Annex Business Media.

Dr. Noronha has had many mentors and influences that has shaped her into one of Canada’s leading experts on agriculture crop insects over her more than 20 years with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC). But it was someone special that ingrained a deep-rooted sense of appreciation of the world around her that perhaps was the biggest influence on her accomplished career.

“The one person that was really strong in my life and that actually steered me to biology was my mom. She just loved nature. It wasn’t about insects, frogs or plants and flowers but I know the constellations because of my mom – it made us grounded and it made me interested in so many areas,” says Dr. Noronha.

Fight against wireworms

It’s because of Dr. Noronha that an important invention for farmers in the fight against pesky wireworms, a common potato plant predator, bears her name. The NELT™ or Noronha Elaterid Light Trap designed by Dr. Noronha in 2016 is a major breakthrough for the industry. The trap shines a small solar-powered light into a cup that is placed in the ground and attracts and drowns female click beetles, that would normally give way to thousands of wireworms.

Most recently, Dr. Noronha completed eight years of testing and supporting data in collaboration with BASF Canada that led to the registration of a new active ingredient, Broflanilide, for two new highly-effective wireworm insecticides released in 2021.

Meanwhile, Dr. Noronha always saw her research through an environmental lense and embarked on finding more environmentally sustainable approaches for wireworm control. She discovered the world’s first planted-based approach to controlling wireworms – two different crops that provide biofumigant properties when planted in fields with wireworm.

Through farm visits, presentations at industry and grower meetings, and on-farm trials she provided information to growers on how to use this strategy. Due to Dr. Noronha’s work and expertise, this strategy is now a standard for wireworm suppression and has been widely adopted by the industry.

A great honour

A vast list of accomplishments, as well as strong influence and tireless collaboration with the agriculture industry has led Dr. Noronha to be named one of seven 2022 Influential Women in Canadian Agriculture by Annex Business Media.

An always humble Dr. Noronha was surprised and honoured when she received the call in late April to inform her of the award.

“It really means a lot to be recognized among these bright women in agriculture, especially when it’s the industry that chose us. It reinforces the impact we’ve had on the farmers who we work with and provide service to every day,” she says.

Dr. Judith Nyiraneza, another AAFC scientist on Prince Edward Island and close colleague, nominated Dr. Noronha for the honour.

“Christine’s work on reducing wireworm has had a positive local, national and international impact on agriculture.”

“As women in agriculture, it’s important to have strong voices to lead the industry,” says Dr. Nyiraneza.

Dr. Noronha credits her peers, including Dr. Nyiraneza for guidance, providing help and information to farmers in order to move the industry in a better direction – not just for Prince Edward Island, but for all of Canada.

The next chapter

For a career as accomplished as Dr. Noronha’s one could see this honour as the grand finale, but she doesn’t plan to rest on her laurels quite yet. As a goal-oriented person, when one goal is accomplished, another begins to take shape.

In addition to continuing her research with agriculture insects to help farmers, Dr. Noronha now plans to spend more of her time getting young people excited and interested in entomology as well as mentor them in the pursuit of careers in science and agriculture.

“I want to make it easier and continue to break down barriers for women in science and agriculture. I’ve had to overcome many obstacles to get where I am today and to help others reach their goals is just as great as any honour,” says Dr. Noronha.

Key Discoveries/Benefits

  • A vast list of accomplishments, as well as strong influence and tireless collaboration with the agriculture industry has led AAFC scientist, Dr. Christine Noronha to be named one of seven 2022 Influential Women in Canadian Agriculture by Annex Business Media.
  • Dr. Noronha credits her fellow AAFC scientists for guidance, providing help and information to farmers in order to move the industry in a better direction – not just for Prince Edward Island, but for all of Canada.
  • In addition to continuing her research with agriculture insects to help farmers, Dr. Noronha now plans to spend more time getting young people excited and interested in entomology as well as mentor them in the pursuit of careers in science and agriculture.

Source: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)

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