Diesch wins agriculture prize

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Dr. Stanley Diesch (Minnesota ‘56) recently became only the third veterinarian to win the Siehl Prize for Excellence in Agriculture. An authority on public health and epidemiology, Dr. Diesch is professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine and School of Public Health. He was one of three laureates who received the award May 21 from the U of M College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences.

Dr. Diesch
Dr. Stanley Diesch (Photo by Don Breneman/University of Minnesota)

The prize was created in the early 1990s by the late livestock breeder Eldon Siehl, who was concerned that people were losing touch with their agrarian roots and wanted to honor extraordinary contributions to the production of food and alleviation of hunger. Recipients are chosen in three categories: knowledge (teaching, research, and outreach), agribusiness, and production agriculture. Each prize includes a $50,000 award.

Dr. Diesch won the knowledge category. He received his bachelor’s in agriculture, DVM degree, and master’s in public health at U of M. He spent 30 years as a professor in the university’s Department of Clinical and Population Sciences, then in a joint appointment in the Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health. Also, while director of international programs in veterinary medicine for U of M, he provided leadership on the control of animal disease, including a joint project in Uruguay involving foot-and-mouth disease. He was one of the first to document the Leptospira serovars hardjo and grippotyphosa, which led to vaccines. Later, he established the Minnesota Food Animal Disease Reporting System.

A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine with a subspecialty in epidemiology, Dr. Diesch was president of the International Society for Animal Hygiene from 1991-1994 and helped expand the organization globally. An AVMA honor roll member, he served on the AVMA Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine.