Innovators in Agriculture

The history of agricultural development on the Prairies is rich with original thinkers who faced a problem, took up a challenge and changed agriculture through their efforts.

Welcome to our special holiday season edition, in which we salute innovators, some past and some present, who have made a significant, positive contribution to the development or improvement of agriculture and rural life on the Prairies.

It’s important to note at the start that this is not a comprehensive list and it is not intended to be viewed as such. We’ve profiled 44 people within these pages, but we all know there are hundreds of individuals whose achievements would merit inclusion in a complete list of agricultural innovators.

One need look no further than the provincial and national agricultural halls of fame to find scores of people whose work has brought the industry to its current state of sophistication.

But as with so many things, time and space limitations intervene.

So, we’ve tried for a mix, factoring in geography, occupation, gender

and type of achievement. We’re heavy on the historical, though a few

on our list are still actively pursuing goals in their respective fields.

Within these pages you will find:

  • A music critic who bred one of the country’s most famous wheat varieties.
  • A man whose plant breeding continues to brighten flowerbeds.
  • The first female agriculture minister in Canada.
  • A crop duster who helped protect soil.
  • A farmer who brought zero till into the mainstream.
  • A rancher who knew all about shopping malls.
  • A woman whose personal tragedy led her to help all farm women.
  • A founder of the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.
  • The world flax king, who is more famous for something else.
  • A politician who really got into the dirt.
  • The man who invented the air seeder.
  • The researcher who helped determine that a better name was needed for low glucosinolate, low erucic acid rapeseed.
  • A man for whom a buggy is named.
  • The best premier Alberta never had.
  • An entrepreneur who donates $1 million annually to charity.
  • A scientist who finds triticale exciting.
  • A woman for whom a rose is named.
  • An agriculture minister who compared farm policy to a flush toilet.

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