The Hall of Fame induction ceremony for the seven champions will take place on November 4.
By Andrew Joseph, Farms.com; Photo Credit: nobtis/iStock/Getty Images Plus photo
The Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame Association (CAHFA) has announced seven inductees for 2023: Garnet Altwasser, John Bragg, Rory Francis, Marcel Groleau, Ron Helwer, Robert Irving, and Ray Robertson.
The CAHFA honours Canadians for their outstanding contributions to the agriculture and food industries. It was first organized in 1960 and is administered by a 12-person volunteer Board of Directors residing in regions across Canada.
“This year’s inductees come from across the country and a wide array of sectors of the Canadian agricultural landscape, and we are so excited to welcome them into the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame,” stated Ted Menzies, the President of the CAHFA. “These Canadian agricultural ambassadors have made lifelong contributions at the farm, regional, national, and international levels that support the long-term sustainability and success of our industry."
Get To Know the Inductees
- Garnet Altwasser is an agribusiness entrepreneur whose vision for Alberta as a hub of Canada’s beef industry saw him establish Lakeside Farm Industries Ltd., a multi-faceted business that includes Lakeside Feeders—the largest single-site feeding operation in Canada. Beef products from the Brooks, Alberta, operation are marketed across Canada, North America, and 20 other countries around the world. Altwasser lives in Brooks and was nominated by the County of Newell.
- John Bragg is a dominant force in the evolution of the wild blueberry industry in the Maritimes. At Bragg Foods Group, he built the sector from a cottage industry to the high-tech, export-driven sector it is today. His visionary leadership saw expanded production, a focus on research and development, new export markets, and innovation in processing. Bragg lives in Collingwood, Nova Scotia, and was nominated by the Honourable Greg Morrow, Nova Scotia Minister of Agriculture.
- Rory Francis has dedicated his career to the agriculture and life science sectors in Canada, with a passion for island agriculture. His work and vision as a politician and business founder have changed the commercial landscape of Prince Edward Island, where he is executive director of BioAlliance and founder of the annual VetHealth Global conference. Francis lives in Charlottetown, PEI, and was nominated by the PEI Department of Agriculture and Land and Byron Beeler.
- Marcel Groleau is a dairy farmer and pioneer in Canadian agricultural leadership. An accomplished farm leader, including leading the Union des producteurs agricoles, Groleau is guided by collaboration and cooperation. He’s an advocate for sustainable development with a drive to improve the social-economic situation of farmers. Groleau lives in Thetford Mines, Québec, and was nominated by the Union des producteurs agricoles and Les Producteurs de lait du Québec.
- Ron Helwer is a visionary agribusiness leader and owner/founder of Shur-Gro Farm Services, one of the most effective independent fertilizer operations in Canada. Helwer, a tireless entrepreneur with a generous spirit, founded what is today the Canadian Association of Agricultural Retailers and believes strongly in the value of giving back to support agricultural education. Helwer lives in Brandon, Manitoba, and was nominated by Ray West.
- Robert Irving’s agricultural legacy began when he established Cavendish Farms in 1980, a frozen food plant in Prince Edward Island that created a local opportunity for processing and value-added agriculture. Cavendish is now the fourth-largest producer of frozen French fry products in North America. Irving also heads Cavendish Ag Services, an agricultural inputs and services company. Irving lives in Dieppe, New Brunswick, and was nominated by the Potato Growers of Alberta.
- Ray Robertson is a recognized and highly regarded champion of forage production in Canada. A former dairy farmer and extension specialist, Robertson developed the Grey Agricultural Services Centre to provide fee-for-service extension programs. His leadership saw the development of the Canadian Forage and Grasslands Association, building a national vision, international markets, and research and development for Canadian hay. Robertson lives in Markdale, Ontario, and was nominated by Joan McKinlay.
The induction ceremony will be held on November 4, 2023, in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.
For more information on the CAHFA, visit the website at www.cahfa.com.