It is true that all good things come to an end, and so it is with Barbara Duckworth’s 32-year career with The Western Producer.
Watchful readers may catch her byline in this edition, but that’s all she wrote, as it were.
Duckworth, who established our Calgary bureau, retired March 31, after covering so many events across the continent over the years that it’s impossible to even hazard a guess at how many appearances she’s made at livestock shows and conferences.
When she started at the Producer in 1988, Duckworth had already established herself in journalism at several weekly and daily newspapers. She had graduated from Lethbridge College’s journalism program in 1974, later earning a degree in communications from the University of Calgary.
In her time at the Producer she has seen three droughts of the century and three floods of the century, though technically she is not old enough to have seen any of these.
Duckworth won many awards from the Canadian Farm Writers Association, American Agricultural Editors Association, the North American Agricultural Journalists and the International Agriculture Journalists Association.
During the BSE crisis in 2003, Duckworth’s depth of knowledge on the subject made her a go-to source for the mainstream media to help explain the issue to wider audiences.
Her travels have taken her to Europe to study the impacts of the BSE crisis on British farmers, the uncertainty of Brexit, collaborative livestock research projects in Scotland/Canada, as well as animal welfare standards in the Netherlands. She also travelled to Australia to study beef competitiveness and exports since Canada was eliminated from the export market due to BSE.
In 2018, Lethbridge College, named Duckworth a “Career Virtuoso” in journalism. Her nomination from colleague Barb Glen noted her dedication to constant learning about the industry and her ability to help journalists at the Producer who were writing about livestock.
This year, The Alberta Farm Animal Care Council gave her the Award of Distinction for Communication, which recognizes people who inform the public and the agri-food industry about farm animal care “in a factual, honest way, to build trust and credibility.”
We’re hopeful that Duckworth will still contribute some freelance articles to the Producer, that is if she can fit us in while continuing her dedication to lifelong learning at the University of Calgary.