Alberta’s Ag Hall of Fame inducts new members

Plant pathologist Ronald Howard has worked to support growth and development of crops for more than 40 years. He is one of three new inductees to the Alberta Agriculture Hall of Fame. | File photo

The Alberta Agriculture Hall of Fame has three new inductees: agribusiness leader Garnet Altwasser, plant pathologist Ronald Howard and horticulture specialist Dietrich Kuhlmann.

The three men were inducted Oct. 26 in a ceremony at Leduc.

Altwasser is well known in the cattle industry, having served for 30 years as president and chief executive officer of Lakeside Farm Industries in Brooks, Alta. He co-founded and expanded that business into the largest single-site cattle feeding operation in Canada.

A packing plant was also established on the site, which is now owned by JBS.

Altwasser was a founding director of the Alberta Cattle Feeders Association and was among the first to embrace cattle handling techniques espoused by animal welfare expert Temple Grandin.

“Altwasser is insatiably curious and inquisitive about what works and what succeeds in industry, and he has quietly helped and mentored young people to enter and grow in the industry. Today, Alberta’s cattle-feeding and beef-processing industry is large-scale and globally competitive, thanks in large part to Altwasser’s long-range vision and leadership,” said an Alberta Agriculture news release announcing the inductees.

Howard has worked to support growth and development of crops for more than 40 years. As a plant pathologist, he has worked with more than 50 types of crops and plant species in research and extension.

“He has developed many groundbreaking protocols, screened hundreds of horticultural, specialty and field crop varieties and breeding lines for disease resistance, and evaluated more than 200 chemical and biological control products for efficacy against pathogens in these crops,” said the news release.

Howard assisted in the expansion and development of research facilities at the Crop Diversification Centre South in Brooks, including design and construction of the greenhouse complex.

An expert in outreach, he has been a frequent speaker at crop and agronomy events and has prepared and delivered more than 1,000 presentations and papers.

“A meticulous and ethical researcher, a skilled leader and a true ambassador for Alberta producers, his approachability and humility have made him a ‘go-to’ person for help when it comes to plant disease diagnosis and management,” said Alberta Agriculture.

Kuhlmann has been helping develop Alberta’s horticulture industry for more than 50 years and is a past president and founding member of the Alberta Greenhouse Growers Association.

Three generations of Kuhlmanns now operate greenhouses, gardens and a market first established by Kuhlmann and his wife, Elizabeth, in 1962 in Edmonton.

“Recognizing the opportunity for Alberta growers to market co-operatively, he also worked to establish Sunfresh Farms, a grower-owned packing and distribution facility, bringing better revenues to member farms,” said the announcement.

Kuhlmann is a former director of the Alberta Crop Industry Development Fund and continues to promote horticultural projects to expand the industry.

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