Wheat Researcher Retires After Dedicated 31-Year Career by dfsdf224s


									                                                                                                                         SPRING 2006
                                                                         YOUR RIDGETOWN COLLEGE CONNECTION
                                                                                                 A SEMI-ANNUAL NEWSLETTER FOR ALUMNI, STAFF, STUDENTS,
                                                                                                             FRIENDS AND CLIENTS OF RIDGETOWN COLLEGE

Wheat Researcher Retires After Dedicated 31-Year Career
Most people can’t wait to retire, and many start their retirement countdown several years before the actual event. Not so for
Dr. Arend Smid. After 31 years as a researcher at Ridgetown College, Arend is still enthusiastic about his work. “As time goes
by, both research and teaching become even more enjoyable,” he says. “I can’t believe I have to stop already!”

Arend was raised on a mixed farm in the          Arend says that in his early career at
Netherlands, and came to Canada with his         Ridgetown, a lot of research was done
family in 1952 when he was 11 years old.         screening winter barley and spring cereal
After several moves, his family settled in the   lines from Agriculture Canada and
Ridgetown area, where Arend first learned        University of Guelph breeders. He also
about Ridgetown College. He originally           conducted many management studies,
planned to attend Ridgetown College, but         which included looking at row spacing
when his parents moved to Thedford, he           options, optimal planting dates for winter
decided to continue his education at the         wheat, and nitrogen fertility.
Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) in Guelph.
                                                 More recently, Arend’s work has focused
Arend graduated with a Bachelor of Science       on using cereal breeding expertise from
degree in 1965, the first year University of     national and international sources to
Guelph degrees were granted to OAC               improve the yield, quality and food safety
students. He enjoyed learning and the            of Ontario winter wheat. Discovering new
discovery element of research, so he             varieties and testing them in the field is
continued his education by completing a          something that Arend has always enjoyed.
Masters degree in Guelph. He followed this       “Being out in the field is like a holiday for
up with a Ph.D. in Plant Nutrition at the        me,” he admits. Arend has also managed
University of Kentucky. It was while in          the registration process of several wheat
Kentucky that Arend met his wife, Willa Dale.    and oat cultivars, including Freedom, RC
                                                 Doyle, Whitney and Tribute.
In 1975, Arend was working as a Research
Scientist at Agriculture Canada in Brandon,      Arend very humbly passes the credit for
Manitoba when the opportunity arose for          much of his success in cereal research to
him to return to his old stomping ground.        his technicians. “John Cofell, Scott Jay,
“Someone from the College called to offer        Jeff Horn and Bruce Humphries have done
me a job as a lecturer, so I landed in           an excellent job in managing the research
Ridgetown again,” he says. “In fact,             plots and producing top quality results,”
I ended up in the same office that I had         he says. “I owe all of them a big thank you!”
once occupied as a summer student in
the early 1960’s.”                                                    continued on page 14
        A Message From...
       OAC Dean                                                                 Ridgetown Campus Director
                              Congratulations to all of you for your                                 On my daily travels to and from this campus
                              tremendous efforts in making the Rudy H.                               I observe the steady progress of our new
                              Brown Rural Development Centre a reality.                              educational and athletic facilities.
                              This new facility will provide an enormous                             As I watch the Rudy H. Brown Rural
                              boost to educational programming at                                    Development Centre develop I am reminded
                              Ridgetown, as well as to the local community.                          that sometimes great things require great
                              On behalf of OAC, I am pleased to recognize                            effort and determination. I want to thank
       the enthusiasm, commitment and dedication of campaign staff and          everyone who has provided support and/or assisted with the capital
       volunteers, and the many generous donors who have invested in the        campaign for this new facility. I am excited to think of the many
       future of Ontario’s agriculture and agri-food industry.                  benefits these new facilities will offer our students, the community
       In a few months, Ridgetown will welcome the first cohort of              and rural stakeholders.
       students in a unique new University of Guelph degree program – the       Today it is important to recognize and celebrate the career of
       Bachelor of Bio-Resource Management (BBRM). This degree – 60%            Ridgetown plant scientist, Dr. Arend Smid. Arend’s sincere
       science and technology, and 40% business studies – is designed to        dedication to teaching and his steadfast commitment to crop
       provide students with the skill set they’ll require as they embark on    genetics, particularly wheat cultivar evaluation, are the foundation
       management careers in the growing area of bio-resources.                 of his 31-year career at Ridgetown.
       The initiation of multi-campus programming such as the BBRM is           At this time of year, the Campus is busy with many student
       part of the strategic integrated plan for OAC. The continued             recruitment initiatives and I am pleased to note that current
       development of the regional campuses at Ridgetown, Kemptville            applicant numbers to full-time education programs continue to
       and Alfred as providers of distinctive, high quality educational         look strong. Working closely with the Guelph campus, planning
       programs will help serve a variety of learners and fulfill industry      continues for the arrival of our first Bachelor of Bio-Resource
       requirements for skilled workers.                                        Management degree students, scheduled to begin their studies at
       It is a period of change and opportunity, as we strive to deliver the    the Ridgetown campus this September. I want to thank everyone
       very best in innovative life sciences education and research for         involved in this exciting ‘educational adventure’ for their
       agriculture, food, the rural community and the environment.              commitment to further developing the Ridgetown campus through
                                                                                degree programming.
                                                                                Thank you for your continued support of the Ridgetown campus.

                                                                                Kindest Regards,

       Dr. Craig J. Pearson
       Dean, OAC
                                                                                Dr. Ron Pitblado
                                                                                Acting College Director

                                                          Address Updates, Alumni Corner News             On-Line version
                                                          or ROOTS story ideas:                           www.ridgetownc.uoguelph.ca/alumni/roots.cfm
                                                          Janet Nauta                                     ROOTS is published twice per year by the
                                                          Alumni Services Co-ordinator                    Ridgetown College campus, University of Guelph
       ROOTS Staff                                        E-mail: roots@ridgetownc.uoguelph.ca
                                                          Phone: 519-674-1504                             Financial support for ROOTS is provided by
       Janet Nauta, Editor
                                                                                                          the Ridgetown College Campus and the
       Liz Meidlinger, Project Manager                    Ridgetown College Campus,                       Westag Alumni Association
       Photo Support                                      University of Guelph
                                                          120 Main Street East, Ridgetown, ON NOP 2C0
       Joseph Krogman
                                                          Phone: 519-674-1500
       Richard Armstrong
                                                          Fax: 519-674-1530

2   roots@ridgetownc.uoguelph.ca
Several Gold Medals for Westags
As Ridgetown Hosts Ontario Provincial Agricultural Games (OPAC)

In early February 2006, the College hosted 222 students from Kemptville, Alfred,
St. Clair, and Ridgetown Colleges for an action-packed, two-day sporting event.

Ridgetown athletes worked hard and came home with several gold medals.
Congratulations to Vicki King, OPAC program co-ordinator, and all the
coaches and participants!

Gold Medal Performances
Badminton              Men’s Singles & Men’s Doubles

Bowling                Men’s

Broomball              Mixed

Curling                Mixed

Indoor Soccer          Men’s & Women’s

Floor Hockey           Men’s

       Rudy H. Brown Rural Development Centre
       CONSTRUCTION                                   UPDATE

       The mild winter weather has provided some great construction opportunities and progress on the Rudy H. Brown
       Rural Development Centre is moving along steadily. The Ridgetown College Agri-Food Foundation, the campaign team,
       and project managers fully expect to open the new facility in September 2006.

            October 2005                                              January 2006                                           March 2006

                                                                          PROJECT              FUNDING          OVERVIEW

                                                                          $4.10 M        Province of Ontario
                                                                          $0.60 M        Municipality of Chatham-Kent
                                                                          $2.20 M        Private Support
                                                                          $0.30 M        Still to Raise
                                                                          $7.20 M        Total Project Budget

       A Small Glimpse of the 2005 Campaign Year – These photos represent just a few of the many donors who helped
       the campaign reach and exceed its 2005 fundraising goal.

       1. Maizex Donation: Dave and Brenda Baute

       2. Ridgetown Rotary Donation: (back row) Blake Sheets, Dr. Ron Pitblado, Jeff Geddes,
          Terry Youlton, John Peter Van Haren, (front row) Faith Wood.

       3. Western Fair Donation: Ken Monteith, Dennis Lang, Karl Nevin.

       4. Monsanto Canada Donation: Dan Wright, Mike McGuire

       5. The Pestell Group Donation: Don Pestell, Jennifer Whelan, Craig Pearson

4   roots@ridgetownc.uoguelph.ca
     2nd Phase of Campaign Exceeds
     $1,000,000 Private Investment Target
     THANKS                     TO        YOU          –     OUR            SUPPORTERS

     To date, the 2nd phase of the
     campaign has raised over
     $1.2 million in private support
     for the Rudy H. Brown Rural
     Development Centre campaign.
     As campaign chair Ken Monteith looks
     on at construction activities, he notes,
     “We have been tremendously fortunate
     to have garnered the support of so many
     alumni, agribusiness organizations and
     friends of the Ridgetown College campus
     to allow this construction process to begin.”

     In early 2005, a keen group of volunteers
     began a campaign to raise $1.0 million.
     As the calendar year progressed, so did
     the support for the Rudy H. Brown Rural
     Development Centre.

     “Ridgetown alumni stepped forward with
     great support,” says Ken Stevenson, Alumni
     Campaign Chairperson. “We were thrilled
     with the commitment of alumni through the       came forward to help reach the goal.          in the Ridgetown community and in Ontario
     spring and fall telephone campaign              “It was an easy task to engage agribusiness   agriculture. “Our group asked the
     program. We had the expertise of the main       in supporting such a worthwhile project,”     Ridgetown community to support the
     Guelph campus on this particular activity,      notes Bruce Magee, Corporate Campaign         College by supporting the new Centre,”
     and we couldn’t have done it without them.”     Chairperson. “The College is key to           says Betty Van Haren, Community
     Beyond the telephone campaign, many             developing young men and woman who            Campaign Chairperson, “and they did!”
     other alumni ‘stepped to the plate’ to make     will enter into production agriculture or
                                                                                                   “Many donors have made a commitment
     an investment in their rural community and      agribusiness careers.”
                                                                                                   to this project since it was initiated,” notes
     their College.
                                                     A small group of local leaders accepted the   Monteith. “We hope that many of these
     Agribusiness organizations saw the              task of better informing people in the area   generous people will join us for our grand
     opportunity to make a difference and many       about the many roles the College plays both   opening celebration later this year.”

2.                               3.                                        4.                                       5.

       Darren Robinson (left) examines his sugar beet plots with summer student Chris Pathin.

       Researchers Work to Advance the Fruit and
       Vegetable Industry
       Whether it be a Niagara area vintner, a tomato processor in Dresden, or a sugarbeet grower from
       Camlachie, all have benefited from the research conducted at Ridgetown College.

       Fruit and vegetable research has always been a priority at Ridgetown,      In the world of vegetable crops, seeing new products approved for
       and there are currently four research scientists on campus working to      weed control is a rare occasion, but Robinson’s research efforts have
       improve this industry. Research done by Darren Robinson, John              led to the registration of Pinnacle for tomatoes and Assure on snap and
       Zandstra, Steve Loewen and Ron Pitblado has garnered a high level          lima beans. His research also attained a reduced pre-harvest interval
       of respect from both growers and the industry.                             for Pursuit on green peas.

       Steve Loewen’s focus is tomato breeding. He has taken literally            John Zandstra enjoys targeting his research to areas that have
       thousands of genetically diverse tomato varieties created by               immediate benefits for growers and the industry. For example, he is
       researchers at Ag Canada’s Harrow Research Station and is turning          currently trying to determine how to keep sugar beets in piles from
       them into useful varieties for private plant breeders at companies such    spoiling during mild winter weather. Zandstra is working with the
       as Heinz and CanGro Foods. The Harrow project began in 1984, and           growers to see if smaller piles are the key, or if special water shedding
       involved scientists crossing cultivated tomatoes with every wild tomato    poly-felt sheeting can help keep the piles from taking on too much
       species they could find to broaden the gene pool. “My job is to make       moisture, while at the same time allowing the beets to breathe. He is
       these so-called ‘junky’ varieties look more like a cultivated tomato,”     also conducting trials on how to increase the sugar content in beets.
       explains Loewen. Loewen says the processors have asked for and
                                                                                  In the area of grape production, Zandstra has seen first hand how
       are getting a firmer, earlier maturing, disease-resistant fruit which
                                                                                  seriously cold weather has set back vintners’ tonnage. He hopes
       peels well and shows good colour.
                                                                                  that genetics from other countries will improve the viability of
       Weeds are Darren Robinson’s area of expertise. In his work, he looks       grapes in Ontario. “By incorporating some breeding stock from
       at tank mixes, timing of sprays, and herbicide carryover and how each      Austria, Italy and Germany into the popular wine varieties grown
       affect weed control in fruit and vegetable crops. One ongoing project is   in Ontario, we hope to see superior cold tolerance characteristics
       the creation of a herbicide application model for so-called ‘micro-rate’   in Ontario grapes,” he explains.
       spraying. “This model will tell vegetable crop growers the ideal time to
                                                                                  Ron Pitblado’s research with weather data to predict the most
       spray developing weeds, based on data delivered by the Ontario
                                                                                  effective spraying time has certainly proven itself to the growers
       Weather Network,” says Robinson.
                                                                                  who take his advice. In the fall of 2005, sugar beet growers in Michigan

6   roots@ridgetownc.uoguelph.ca
and Ontario were advised through Pitblado’s BEETCAST spray model           off-campus trials. Fruit and vegetable research requires a number
to do one final spray for Cercospora leaf spot fungus on a certain day.    of locations with differing soil types and other geographic features,
The farmers who did not follow the late season recommendation from         so the researchers’ work is often done on one of over 75 co-operator
BEETCAST delivered a lower sugar quality crop that was deemed to           farms across Southwestern Ontario. “I like doing this kind of extension
have cost the grower co-operative sugar plant millions of dollars in       work where the growers are at home with their own cropping
lost product. Pitblado also developed TOMCAST, a weather-timed             conditions. Growers are much more comfortable talking to me about
fungicide spray program for processing tomato growers. Soon his            their production issues this way,” said Robinson. The College also has
work will be collaborated with efforts from researchers in Wisconsin.      two satellite research stations in Cedar Springs and Centralia.
That spray model will be tested on research plots in Saskatchewan,
Manitoba, Ontario and Prince Edward Island in the battle against
late blight in potatoes.                                                      Fruit and vegetable research requires a number of
Pitblado also has an interest in irrigation on specialty crops.
                                                                         locations with differing soil types and other geographic
Since we have been plagued with what seems like hotter and            features, so the researchers’ work is often done on one of
drier summer weather, the subject of irrigation on specialty crops
                                                                        over 75 co-operator farms across Southwestern Ontario.
has become an important issue. “Despite the necessity of
irrigation on some crops, the timing of the water application is
equally important,” says Pitblado. “In tomatoes, processing                Although Ridgetown’s research scientists are experts in their fields,
companies require fruit solids, and excess water from the fruit cuts       the key to a successful research project often lies in using the
into profits.” In fact, Pitblado says a new contract is imminent where     resources and expertise at other institutions as well. Numerous strong
growers will be paid based on the percentage of tomato solids. As a        linkages have been established between Ridgetown and Agriculture
result, Ridgetown research into deficit irrigation (deciding when to       and Agri-food Canada, as well as the ag research departments at
shut off the water before harvest) has become a vital project for both     several universities in Canada and the United States. For example,
growers and industry.                                                      Steve Loewen works with researchers in Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania
                                                                           and California. This co-operation is important to achieving the best
One other key area of research that Pitblado leads is the screening
                                                                           possible results to benefit the Ontario fruit and vegetable industry.
of insecticides and fungicides on vegetable crops. The program at
Ridgetown is Canada’s largest research program of this type. The           With over 63 years of combined experience in fruit and vegetable
results of these trials are published in OMAFRA’s Publication 363          research, the scientists at Ridgetown College have proven their
and delivered directly to growers at many meetings where Pitblado          dedication to the industry. And, by continuing to respond to its unique
is asked to speak.                                                         challenges and opportunities, they will continue to be a well-
                                                                           respected and integral part of the fruit and vegetable industry.
Not all of Ridgetown College’s research occurs on-campus.
The researchers point out that an important aspect of their work is

                  Westag Alumni Association News
                    Westag Alumni Association President’s Message

       Well, things are really booming around the old alma mater. Construction of the new Rudy H. Brown Centre is well
       underway and the Alumni Association looks forward to using the new facility for future banquets and events.
       Keep up the good work contractors! Also, I would like to thank all the alumni for the financial support and the
       ongoing support for this facility to become reality. Not only do we need a facility like this for the College, the
       community will get a great deal of use out of this venue.

       I would like to encourage people to utilize the alumni section on the website to contact old friends and fellow alumni.
       Also, remember to share the good news in your life with other alumni by sending it in to the ROOTS Alumni Corner.

       Maureen Hagan
       President, Westag Alumni Association

       Alumni Corner
       Do you want to read more about other Ridgetown College grads? Visit the Alumni Contact section of
       www.ridgetownc.on.ca. You can post your own information and get the latest news from your classmates.
       To have your alumni news printed in ROOTS, send an e-mail to roots@ridgetownc.uoguelph.ca.

       Bill Zwambag (‘74) was recently presented with a 2006 Syngenta 4-H     Dave and Dana (Johnston) Standeaven (‘98) are thrilled to announce
       Ontario Arbor Award for his outstanding volunteer work with the 4-H    the birth of their second child. Anna Louise was born November 4,
       program. In 2005, another Ridgetown grad, Colin Pool (‘83), also won   2005, a sister for Scott.
       an Arbor Award.
                                                                              Sharla (Lee) Thompson (‘01) married Mike Thompson in 2002 and
       Keith (‘88) and Helen (Cook) (‘89) Stewardson have two boys, Caleb     their daughter Sydney was born in May, 2005. Sharla is currently
       and Jacob. They custom feed and graze cattle on their farm near        working as an RVT for the University of Western Ontario Veterinary
       Sauble Beach. They also have a home renovation, custom cabinetry       Services in London.
       and carpentry business.
       Maureen (McCutcheon) Hagan (‘93) married Pat Hagan in 1996.
       They were preciously blessed with a new son, Caleb Patrick,             In Memoriam
       on October 25th, 2005.
       Heather (Lassaline) Heyboer (‘93) and her husband Ken are now the       Elmer E. Johnson (‘54) passed away August 15, 2005 from
       proud parents of two boys. Joshua Thomas was born on February 10,       complications following brain tumour surgery.
       2006, a little brother for Ryan.
                                                                               Bruce Cole (‘68) passed away on November 27, 2005.
       Kim (Huson) Surette (‘97) and her husband Paul are pleased to           Wilfred Kuipers (‘76) died suddenly on March 4, 2006
       announce the birth of their son Connor on October 9, 2005.              as the result of a farm accident.
       Kevin Boersma (‘97) is the Chief Credit Officer for Syndenham           Lloyd Clark (‘83) passed away on March 7, 2006.
       Community Credit Union. He married Tara Million in 2001 and they
       are the proud parents of Kaleb, born in February, 2003.                 Chris VanStee, a senior agriculture diploma student,
                                                                               died in a car accident on October 26, 2005.
                                                                               Our sympathies go out to the families and friends
                                                                               of these alumni.

8   roots@ridgetownc.uoguelph.ca
                                                                               Class of 1955 Celebrates 50-year Anniversary
2005 Alumni Banquet Recap
It was a sold-out crowd for the Annual Westag
Alumni Banquet, held on November 19th, 2005.
Congratulations to the Class of 1955, winner of the 2005 Royal Flush
Award. They had the highest percentage of graduates from their
class attend the reunion.

As part of the fundraising efforts for the Rudy H. Brown Rural
Development Centre, Ron Gelderland and his classmates from the
Class of 1960 sold 50/50 draw tickets. Thanks to their excellent sales
abilities and the generosity of the guests, $425.00 was raised for the
building. A special thanks to the draw winner, Darrell Sykes (‘80) –
he donated his winnings back to the fund!

The 2005 Westag Humanitarian Award was presented to George                     Members of the Class of ‘55 proudly display the Royal Flush Award.
Earley (‘60). Congratulations, George!                                         Front row (left to right): Richard Parkinson, Allan Downie, Dick Gilbert,
                                                                               Bill Galbraith, Nelson Stephens
                                                                               Back row: Ross Tedford, Allan Haugh, Don Orton, Ian Adamson,
                                                                               Harlan Nash

Alumni Association                                                              2006 Alumni Banquet
Helps Current Students                                                          All graduates from years ending in a 1 or 6 –
                                                                                THIS IS YOUR REUNION YEAR!
One of the roles of the Westag Alumni Association is to encourage
                                                                                This year’s banquet will be held on
and support current students. There are several ways each year
                                                                                November 11th, 2006. Watch for your
that the Association demonstrates this support.                                 invitation in the mail in early October.
The Alumni Association sponsors two
awards each year:
■ Top Student in Crop Management

  The $150 award is given in the fall to
                                                                                  2006 Alumni Bonspiel
  the student with the highest mark in
  DAGR 2200 - Crop Management I.
■   Student Overcoming Adversity                                                 As usual, the 2006 Alumni Bonspiel was well-attended and a lot of
    This $500 award is presented at                                              fun for everyone participating.
    graduation to a student overcoming       Maureen Hagan, Alumni
                                             Association President, presents     In the first draw, it was a hard fought battle, but Dunc Gates’ Class
    adversity to achieve a Diploma in any    the Student Overcoming
    program. Examples of adversity would     Adversity Award to Jason            of 1958 team edged out another Class of 1958 team led by Bill
    be a learning disability, family         Verstraeten, an Environmental       Buchanan. In the second draw, Ron Pearson (‘69) skipped his
    problems/tragedy, or personal tragedy.   Management diploma graduate,        team to the win over Amber Sayer and her team of 1998-99 grads.
                                             at the 2005 Convocation.
Review                                                                           Although everyone received a prize, the real winners at this
Each year, the Alumni Association
                                                                                 year’s bonspiel turned out to be those who finished in last place!
sponsors the Review Public Speaking Contest.
                                                                                 To celebrate the underdogs, UPI Energy provided $50 gift certificates
Stress Kit Packages                                                              to each of the members on the losing team in each draw. These
In a continued effort to help students cope with the stresses and                certificates could be redeemed for product at any UPI Gas Bar.
tension of exam time, the Westag Alumni Association offers parents
the opportunity to show their child that they are thinking of them by            Thanks to Les Hogg, Bill McBrien, Bill Buchanan, Duane Morden
sending a Stress Relief Care Package. Parents purchase the                       and Ken Nesbitt for all their hard work in organizing the bonspiel!
package, containing food staples, toiletries and tasty treats, from
the Association. In the week before exams, representatives from
the Alumni Association deliver the kits to the students.
If you have any questions or comments on Westag Alumni
Association activities, please contact Maureen Hagan at
        Ridgetown Alumni Living from Coast to Coast
        It’s a safe bet to say that most of the people reading this issue of Roots
        are living in Ontario. In fact, over 95% of Ridgetown College grads remain
        in this province. There are, however, approximately 100 alumni spread out
        across Canada. Our records show that Westags are living in every province
        and territory except Prince Edward Island and the Northwest Territories.
        In this issue of Roots, we’d like to introduce you to a few of these grads.

        Doug Pugh ’69 – British Columbia                                        weather and crop quality. As the Weed Man, we try to achieve green
                                                                                and weed-free lawns, which is what a lot of people desire.”
                                          Doug Pugh grew up on a farm near
                                          Chatham, but having a career in       Doug loves living in B.C. He still plays hockey, and he can golf almost
                                          farming was never his goal. His       all year. “Snow stays on the mountains, not on the roads or the golf
                                          summer job working at the Libby’s     course,” he notes. And although he doesn’t have all his family
                                          vegetable processing plant            members nearby, the community has become his extended family.
                                          convinced him that his focus          “The people in Chilliwack are great,” he says.
                                          should be on the food side of the
                                          agri-food industry, so when Doug      Eugene Asnong ’72 – Alberta
                                          graduated from Ridgetown College                                                           Eugene Asnong
                                          in 1969, he began working in                                                               clearly
                                          research at Libby’s.                                                                       remembers the
                                           After holding several positions at                                                        first test he ever
        Libby’s, Doug left that company in 1985 and joined Omstead Foods in                                                          handed in at
        Leamington. In 1989, he accepted a management position at                                                                    Ridgetown
        Pillsbury/Green Giant in British Columbia, and Doug, his wife and two                                                        College – it was
        children then moved to Chilliwack.                                                                                           blank. “My
                                                                                                                                     English skills
        In April 1997, Doug had to make a career change when the Green                                                               were very limited
        Giant processing plant where he worked was closed. Doug had                                                                  – I hardly
        always enjoyed a well-groomed lawn, so when a job transition officer    understood any of the lectures, and even fewer of the test questions,”
        from Pillsbury suggested he look into a Weed Man franchise, Doug        he says. Thankfully, Eugene, who had been living in Quebec, soon
        liked the idea. “I actually inherited my appreciation of a weed-free    learned the language and successfully completed his diploma in 1972.
        lawn from Rudy Brown. I remember that he didn’t even like people
        to walk on the grass,” he says.                                         Eugene’s original plan when he came to Ridgetown was to learn more
                                                                                about agriculture and the English language so he could return to his
        Doug’s Weed Man business has been very successful, and he now           family farm and work more closely with the Vermont farmers who
        has over 800 regular customers. Chilliwack is a growing community       purchased their grain corn. The pull to return to Quebec weakened,
        only one hour from Vancouver, and the mild weather allows him to        however, when he met Linda (Lin) Baker, a junior RCAT student from
        work on lawns from February to November each year. Although             Stratford; they married in June of 1972.
        basically a “Mom and Pop” operation, he and his wife Susan have
        four trucks and employ four extra people in the busy season.            Eugene worked at several positions across Ontario before he and
                                                                                Lin returned to their farming roots with the purchase of a farm near
        “This is a great change from the food industry,” he says. “With food,   Mitchell in 1978. “It was on this farm that we learned the ropes of
        you are always dealing with problems beyond your control like the       running a farrowing operation,” he says. “This knowledge, combined

10   roots@ridgetownc.uoguelph.ca
with my dairy farming background and my Ridgetown marketing                 produce was higher in Saskatchewan. “You also can’t buy Vernors or
lessons, became the basis of what I do today.” After struggling             caramels out here,” she reports. “Whenever someone from Ontario
with the high interest rates of the early 80s, and the loss of a young      comes for a visit, we ask them to bring these items.” One good thing
son to leukemia, they left farming and Eugene returned to the ag-           that is noticeably absent is the humidity in the summer.
service industry.
                                                                            For the record, Jane wants everyone to know that Saskatchewan
In 1987, Eugene accepted a position with BSM Agri in Arthur where           is not as flat as her elementary school teachers led her to believe.
he was responsible for hog and dairy equipment sales. He is still           “Really, I think Southwestern Ontario is flatter than some parts of
employed by BSM, and the Canada-wide scope of the business                  Saskatchewan,” she says.
allowed Eugene the opportunity to move west in late 1999. “Lin and
                                                                            Over the years, Jane has tried to keep in touch with some of her
I have always enjoyed the Rockies and the prairies so Alberta was
                                                                            classmates, but busy schedules and distance make it difficult. She
a good choice for us. The mountains are only a half hour drive to the
                                                                            encourages everyone to put their updated information on the Alumni
west, and 1500 km of open prairie is to the east,” he explains.
                                                                            Contact Centre area of the Ridgetown College website at
Although two of his children live in Alberta, Eugene returns often to       www.ridgetownc.uoguelph.ca.
Ontario to visit his youngest daughter. “We enjoy our trips east to see
family, friends and all the maple trees, especially when they are in full   Wayne Petrie ’60 – Manitoba
colour,” Eugene says. Eugene would love to hear from his classmates
at easnong@telus.net.                                                                                   When you mention Miami, most people
                                                                                                        immediately think of bikinis and the sunny
                                                                                                        beaches of Florida. But there is also a
Jane Westhouse ’85 – Saskatchewan                                                                       Miami in Manitoba, home to Wayne Petrie,
                                        Saskatchewan has been home                                      a 1960 agriculture grad.
                                        to Jane Westhouse (nee
                                                                                                          Wayne is originally from Atwood, Ontario,
                                        Blonde), a 1985 grad, since 2001.
                                                                                                          and after graduation he returned there to
                                        “My husband has lived in the
                                                                            farm. It was a fateful trip to Alaska that first brought the Petrie family
                                        West since 1983,” says Jane.
                                                                            to the village that would one day become their home. “We were on
                                        “When we got married,
                                                                            our way to Alaska for a vacation in 1973 when my wife became ill,”
                                        it was easier for me to move
                                                                            says Wayne. “She ended up in the hospital in Carmen for 10 days.”
                                        than it was for him to relocate.”
                                                                            With two small children in tow, Wayne toured around southern
                                        Jane grew up in Blenheim,           Manitoba to pass the time.
                                        and until her move to
                                                                            Wayne was impressed by the Miami area for several reasons. He liked
Saskatoon, Chatham-Kent remained her home. After graduating
                                                                            the fact that the land was cheaper and was suitable for growing corn
with an Ag Business and Commerce diploma, she immediately put
                                                                            for silage. The large number of trees in the area was also a selling
her education to good use as the Senior Branch Clerk at a local
                                                                            point. Still, when the final decision was made to relocate to Manitoba
grain and fertilizer company. In 1993, it was time for a career change
                                                                            in 1974, Wayne credits an understanding wife for making it possible.
and Jane began working for the Village of Erieau as the
                                                                            “Marilyn was pregnant with our third child when we moved and she
Treasurer/Hydro Billing Clerk. Her last position in Ontario was in
                                                                            still stuck with me,” he says.
Accounts Payable at a Ridgetown factory.
                                                                            Wayne is now semi-retired from farming, and works only a 1/4 section
Jane is now working at the University of Saskatchewan, where her
                                                                            (160 acres) of land. Ten years ago, he started to take advantage of all
education is still proving to be an asset. “My position is in Financial
                                                                            the trees in the area and began a stump removal business. Along with
Reporting, which involves opening research accounts for faculty
                                                                            looking after the grandchildren, this keeps him pretty busy. Wayne
members,” notes Jane. “There is agricultural terminology in some
                                                                            and his wife still have family in Ontario, so they try and come back
of the accounts, and I surprise myself sometimes because I actually
                                                                            every two years.
remember what it means from one of the courses at Ridgetown.”
                                                                            After 30 years in Manitoba, Wayne can confidently say he is
Jane notes that there are several differences between Ontario and
                                                                            happy with the decision to move from Ontario. “We have raised
Saskatchewan. Coming from an area where fruits and vegetables are
                                                                            three successful children here, and have a good life,” he says.
plentiful and the cost is reasonable, she first noticed that the cost of
                                                                            “This is home.”

                                                                                                                             continued on next page

        CROSS-CANADA GRADS continued from page 11
        Hélène Glémet ’81 – Quebec                                                 continues to work at clearing more of his property. “My woodlot does
                                                                                   have marketable timber on it,” he says. “I haven’t cut much this year
                            For someone who didn’t know what she wanted to                                          because prices are currently low,
                            do after high school, Hélène Glémet has certainly                                       but I did sell logs a few years ago
                            done a lot.                                                                             when the market was stronger.”

                            Hélène was born in Germany, but grew up in New                                            While continuing to clear his land,
                            Brunswick and Quebec. Although she wasn’t from                                            James has found work at a couple
                            a farm, she had an overall interest in how farming                                        local businesses. After working at
                            worked. “I didn’t have a career goal in high                                              the Chipman Sawmill for a year, he is
        school, but I was really into the ‘back to earth’ movement,” Hélène                                           now doing on-call trucking for J.D.
        says. “Agriculture was the basis of that so I wanted to learn more                                            Irving Transportation.
        about it.” Helene remembers looking at various agriculture schools,
        but her adventurous spirit led her to Ridgetown.                                                               James admits that it is sometimes a
                                                                                                                       struggle to live in a new place away
        Hélène enjoyed the courses she took at Ridgetown and even worked                                               from family and friends. “It is hard to
        on a local vegetable farm during the summer. “I think if the opportunity                                       be the ‘outsider’ in a tight knit
        had presented itself to have a career in farming, I would have been                                            community,” he says. James also
        happy doing that for the rest of my life,” she explains.                   finds that the job opportunities are not as abundant as in Ontario, and
                                                                                   there is less selection for building materials and food products. One
        After graduating in 1981, Hélène returned to the Ottawa area and
                                                                                   thing he appreciates is the number of trees and the unspoiled nature
        began working at a health food store. She still had a strong interest in
                                                                                   in his adopted province. “Most of New Brunswick is tree-covered,
        agriculture, and in 1985 she decided to build on her diploma education
                                                                                   which is a big change from Ontario,” he notes. “I have deer in my yard
        by starting a degree at the University of Guelph. Hélène quickly
                                                                                   and I’ve seen moose nearby. It really is a beautiful place to live.”
        learned that she enjoyed biology, especially fish biology, and she
        graduated in 1989 with a Bachelor of Science with a major in
        Fisheries Science.                                                         Ron Schmidt ’86 – Nova Scotia
        Hélène didn’t end her education with a Bachelor’s degree. She                                                    Growing up in Perth County, Ron
        continued her schooling, obtaining both a Masters (Comparative                                                   Schmidt dreamed of a career in
        Physiology) and a PhD (Aquatic Sciences). Hélène is now a Professor                                              farming. After graduating from
        and Researcher at the University of Quebec at Trois Rivières, with her                                           Ridgetown College in 1986, he
        main area of expertise being fish physiology and how it links to                                                 worked on a few different farms,
        ecological processes. “As soon as I discovered what research was,                                                and eventually became the
        I knew I had found my niche,” she says.                                                                          herdsman at Craigcrest Holsteins
                                                                                                                         in Arthur, Ontario. It was there he
        Still adventurous, Hélène has travelled around the world as a keynote                                            met his future wife, Joanne,
        speaker at a number of conferences. She is now looking forward to                                                a Nova Scotia native.
        a sabbatical later this year when she plans to travel to Arizona to
        work with other experts in her field.                                                                           In 1994, Ron and Joanne moved
                                                                                   to her hometown of Port Hood, Nova Scotia where they worked on
                                                                                   her family’s dairy farm. That same year, they founded “Galloping Cows
        James Ring ’03 - New Brunswick                                             Fine Foods”, producing fruit spreads, pepper jellies, fruit sauces and
        James Ring, a 2003 Agriculture grad, moved to New Brunswick soon           punch mixes. “Wild blueberries are Nova Scotia’s biggest export, and
        after finishing school. For him, the main attraction of the Maritimes      we felt there was a need for a new value-added business for all the
        was the abundance of inexpensive property. “Land prices are cheap          locally-grown blueberries and other fruit,” says Ron.
        in New Brunswick, and I was interested in owning my own property,
                                                                                   Creating a successful business doesn’t happen overnight, and Ron
        possibly for a small market garden,” he says.
                                                                                   and Joanne have taken every opportunity to promote their products.
        James and his wife now own 153 acres of land in Chipman, New               “We’ve exhibited at the One of A Kind Show in Toronto, and have
        Brunswick, something they would not have been able to afford in            visited food shows in San Francisco,” says Ron. This promotion, along
        Ontario. At this time, only 3-5 acres are workable, but James              with having a top quality product, has paid off. Although initially only

12   roots@ridgetownc.uoguelph.ca
serving the Cape Breton region, Galloping Cows now supplies product          veterinarians. She also works with other agencies to monitor possible
to over 80 specialty food stores, farm markets, and gift stores across       cases of zoonotic diseases (BSE, West Nile virus, rabies, etc.) and
the Maritimes. In 2006, they plan to further promote their on-line store     other infectious diseases.
at www.gallopingcows.com, and also expand into the Ontario market.
                                                                             One of Cathy’s most memorable experiences on the job was during
One recent accomplishment for Galloping Cows is a product                    a rabies outbreak in 2002 and the Oral Rabies Vaccination Program
order they received from the Canadian Consulate in Germany.                  (ORVP) that followed. “I spent several weeks vaccinating domestic
“The consulate was looking for unique products from each province            animals, and then spent a month in the air dropping oral rabies
to showcase Canadian quality, and they choose our preserves as a             vaccine bait from a helicopter,” she explains. “The bait was
quality product from Nova Scotia,” explains Ron.                             consumed by the foxes, which aided in stopping the spread of the
                                                                             disease and its eventual elimination.” Cathy’s experience with rabies
In addition to managing Galloping Cows, Ron stays busy driving a
                                                                             is not limited to Newfoundland – she spent two weeks in Texas in
school bus and working on the family farm. And, despite having such
                                                                             January, 2006 helping with their ORVP.
a busy schedule, Ron does enjoy the fringe benefits of living close to
the Atlantic Ocean. “I love the beaches, the smell of salt air, and the      Cathy has definitely made use of the education she received at
lobsters,” he says. “It’s idyllic.”                                          Ridgetown, and is still an advocate for the College. “I tell everyone
                                                                             interested in a career in veterinary technology to consider Ridgetown
Cathy Roberts ’97 – Newfoundland                                             College,” she says.

                                                                             Kari Mathers ’04 – Yukon
                                                                                                                      Of over 5,000 people
                                                                                                                      who have graduated from
                                                                                                                      Ridgetown College, Kari
                                                                                                                      Mathers has the distinction
                                                                                                                      of being the only one to
                                                                                                                      currently live in the
                                                                                                                      Yukon Territory.

                                                                                                                     A Class of 2004 graduate
                                                                                Kari working in the ruins of New     from the Veterinary
          Cathy prepares for post-mortem diagnostic testing.
                                                                                Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.     Technology program, Kari
                                                                                                                     moved to Whitehorse in the
As one of the first two Ridgetown College students to come from
                                                                             summer of 2004 when her husband accepted a job there with
Newfoundland, it doesn’t seem surprising that Cathy Roberts (Vet Tech
                                                                             Environment Canada. “I was able to complete the 6-week externship
‘97) ended up back in her home province. However, if it hadn’t been for
                                                                             required in the Vet Tech program at a Whitehorse clinic, and
a denied visa application, Cathy’s life could have taken a different turn.
                                                                             thankfully was offered a permanent position here,” says Kari.
In May, 1997, Cathy missed her graduation ceremony to attend a job
                                                                             Kari hasn’t spent all of the last 18 months in the Yukon. In September,
interview at a veterinary hospital in New Jersey. She was offered the
                                                                             2005, she was part of a Canadian Animal Assistance Team (CAAT) that
job, but 3 months later received word that her work visa application
                                                                             traveled to New Orleans to aid in the rescue, medical and husbandry
had been denied. Not wanting to wait for another visa application to
                                                                             needs of thousands of animals displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
be processed, she hopped in her car (with a cat she adopted from the
                                                                             “We went through homes looking for abandoned animals,” says Kari.
College) and headed to Alberta.
                                                                             “The streets were deserted, but you could hear dogs barking. Some
Cathy worked at the Sylvan Lake Vet Clinic for several months, and           houses had been spray painted by the National Guard as notification
added to her family with a rescued Dalmatian puppy. In May, 1998,            that animals were in the house.” After rescuing the animals, the group
she drove back to Newfoundland for a 9-month contract with the               worked to reunite pets with owners, and also shipped animals to
provincial Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Animal Health              shelters across Canada and the U.S. for adoption.
Division. Eight years later, she and her pets are still there.
                                                                             Whereas in Whitehorse many of her clients are sled dogs, 90% of the
Now a full-time Veterinary Technician with the DNR, Cathy’s work             dogs she rescued in New Orleans were pit bulls. “There is a strong
mainly involves disease surveillance, agricultural and wildlife              dog fighting culture in the area where we were,” Kari explains.
necropsies, and providing laboratory diagnostic support for staff

                                                                                                                         continued on next page
        CROSS-CANADA GRADS continued from page 13
        Although her week in New Orleans was emotionally draining and               She didn’t stay unemployed for long. Her sister was visiting from
        difficult (Hurricane Rita hit while she was there), Kari was sad to         Nunavut, and she made Becky an offer. “My sister invited me to
        leave. “Everyone on the team felt strongly about what we were doing         stay with her while I decided what my long-term plans were,” says
        and didn’t want to go home,” she says.                                      Becky. Within hours of landing in Iqaluit, Becky had found a job in
                                                                                    the housekeeping department in a hotel, and she stayed there for
        Kari, a native of Mississauga, enjoys living in Whitehorse and now
                                                                                    six months.
        considers it her home. “This is a great place to live. The people are
        great and we have made lots of friends,” she says. She encourages           When Becky came back to Ontario after her extended visit, she
        all Ridgetown grads to take the opportunity to visit or live in the area.   attended Fanshawe College, where she received a certificate in
                                                                                    Computerized Office Essentials. She then returned to Iqaluit to begin
        Rebecca Leighfield ’94 – Nunavut                                            a position with the Nunavut government.

                                                    September 11th, 2001            Becky now works as a Senior Mining Clerk for Indian and Northern
                                                    changed the world in a lot      Affairs Canada. “Nunavut is a huge area, with lots of potential for
                                                    of ways. For Becky              diamonds, sapphires and other precious gems,” Becky explains.
                                                    Leighfield, a 1994 grad, it     “I provide mining information to the public and the mineral industry.”
                                                    started a chain of events
                                                                                    With her love of the outdoors, Becky has found that Nunavut is a great
                                                    that would lead her to
                                                                                    place to live. “I love the summer here,” she says. “It is daylight most
                                                                                    of the time and the temperature is between 5 and 15 degrees C. I get
                                                    Before the World Trade          off work, get my dog, and just walk in the quiet areas outside of town
                                                    Center attacks, Becky was       for hours.” Becky also recommends Nunavut for anyone looking for a
                                                    working as a supervisor at      new adventure. “There are many job opportunities here, especially for
        an auto parts factory in Tillsonburg. Her company, worried about a          those who like physical labour’” she reports.
        possible decline in its export business because of the unstable
                                                                                    Becky returns to Ontario two or three times each winter to visit her
        market, soon severed the employment of Becky and some of her
                                                                                    family. “I have a good network of friends in Iqaluit, but I also like to
                                                                                    come home,” she says.

        WHEAT RESEARCHER RETIRES AFTER DEDICATED 31-YEAR CAREER                                                     continued from cover

        Beyond research, Arend has been a dedicated instructor, teaching subjects ranging from math to
        pedigreed seed production. “I really enjoy the students – some need a little more guidance than
        others, but they all mature a lot in their two years here,” he notes.

        “Arend’s cereal breeding expertise has clearly benefited Ontario’s wheat industry, and when you
        combine this expertise with strong agronomic knowledge, he has been a terrific asset as a diploma
        program instructor,” says Dr. Ron Pitblado, Acting College Director. “His open door policy and
        approachable manner is appreciated by all students.”

        Along with his successful career, Arend will be remembered by many on campus for his friendly
        manner and for riding his bicycle to work year-round. One recent grad even said that her favourite
        thing about Ridgetown College was “seeing Dr. Smid on his bicycle and saying ‘hello’ to anyone                       One of Arend’s Research
                                                                                                                        Technicians, John Cofell, was with
        he passes.”                                                                                                      him for his entire 31-year career.
                                                                                                                          He relied on John’s expertise to
        Away from work, family life and church have been priorities for Arend. He and Willa Dale have four                ensure excellent results in his
        sons and recently became first-time grandparents.                                                                      cereal research plots.

        Best wishes for a wonderful retirement, Arend!

14   roots@ridgetownc.uoguelph.ca
Looking for Alumni Contact Info
The 2006 Westag Alumni banquet for graduates in years ending in a 6 or 1 is only a few months away. Our alumni
mailing list is missing the addresses for some of these grads, and we need your help to get it updated. We want
to ensure that everyone is invited to the banquet, so if you have contact information for any of these people,
please call Janet at 519-674-1504, or send an e-mail to roots@ridgetownc.uoguelph.ca.
For a complete list of Ridgetown College “Lost Alumni”, visit www.ridgetownc.com/alumni/lostalumni.cfm.

    1956                      1976                      Paul Meloche               Teresa Veenstra
    Charlie Dries             Rory Bruce                William Mitchell           Dave Veraart
    Paul Klachan              Richard Dermott           Wayne Oosterhoff           Edmond Zenka
    Marwood Martin            Anthony Goossens          Susan Picken
    Allan Riddell             Roy Guest                 William Shebec             1991
                              Clarence Haak             Paul Smith                 Deborah Bannister
    1961                      Gloria Harvey             Susan Stevens              Mike Boersma
    Ted Allen                 Jay Jackson               Bernard Tetreault          David Page
    Arthur Dickson            Aaron Lemon               Norine Vanderveen          James Shuttleworth
    James Ferriss             Alexander MacDougall      Terry Walker
    Simon Ginn                Anthony Mederak           Dean Williams              1996
    Arthur Hawkins            Richard Parks             Douglas Yorke              Lisa Allen
    Eldon Lehrbass            Adriano Prelaz                                       Carri Chillingworth
    Donald O’Neil             Deborah Shanks            1986                       Adrianna De Boer
    Francois Pinsonneault     Gregory Topp              Larry Bauer                Laurie Earish
    Garfield Rice             Dennis Urback             Debbie Brommer             Bill Geisel
    Joseph Rooney             Ida Van Grinsven          Mabel Cook                 Amanda-Lynne Godin
    John Shaddock             Mary Anne Walker          Stephen Crowe              Amanda Holden
    John Vandersluys          Robert Walker             Rob Davidson               Joanne Kerslake
    Donald Waters             Brian Willems             Kevin Heeney               Stephanie Lezun
                                                        David Henderson            Cindy Shipton
    1966                      1981                      Jim Hunter                 John Siebelink
    William Allen             Alison Abel               Scott Jackson
    James Hayes               James Bergsma             Jeanette Jeppesen          2001
    Robert Howlett            Gail Blathwayt            Mike Johnson               Krystyna Czarnik
    David Lindley             Wendy Blonde              Maria Lassam               Michelle Gagne
    John Stapleton            James Clayson             Jennifer Lee               Nanette Kennepohl
    Stephen Wilson            Michael Dick              Dan Mastronardi            Tilly Lucier
                              Danny Digiovanni          Allan Mcrae                Scott Vandriel
    1971                      Maureen Driver            Michael Mulholland         Jaime Wilkins
    Maurice Caron             Steven Dunlop             Ronald Neufeld             Lesley Worden
    Rick Iler                 Jennifer Ellis            Richard Payne
    David King                Leonard Groetelaars       Anthony Pilon
    Gerald Krauter            Bruce Hajas               Lorraine Porteous
    Hugh McCaughey            Harald Harms              Jim Schunk
    Raymond McDonald          Timothy Hutten            Mike Snyder
    Wayne Pierce              Mary Kleinzieverink       Sharon Speers
    Donald Windsor            Pierre Martin             Darwin Van Wynsberghe

Westag Alumni Golf Tournament                                                                  Registration Deadline:
Saturday, July 29, 2006                                                                        J U LY 1 4 , 2 0 0 6

A golf tournament for Westags                     Westag Alumni Golf Tournament - Registration Form
and their guests will be held on                  Saturday, July 29th
Saturday, July 29th. This is a
                                                  Name of Alumnus:
fun event and golf skill is not
                                                  Graduating Year:
a pre-requisite, just get your
                                                  Phone Number:
classmates together to enjoy
a summer afternoon on the
                                                  Province                            Postal Code
golf course.
                                                  E-mail address:

                                                  ❐ I will be participating in the Westag Alumni Golf
                                                    Tournament. My team members are:
                                                     (Individual entrants will be assigned to a foursome)

                                                    Fee per golfer: $65.00
                                                    # of golfers                 x $65 =

                                                    Payment Options:
                                                    ❐ Cheque enclosed ❐ VISA ❐ Mastercard
                                                    (Please make cheque payable to: Ridgetown College, University of Guelph)

                                                    Card #
Location: Ridgetown Golf Club
                                                    Card holder Name:
Time:      Tee-offs start at 1:00 p.m.
                                                    Expiry Date:
Format:    Choose either Team total
           score or Best Ball
                                                    Register for this event before July 14th by mailing or faxing your completed form to:
Entry Fee: $65.00 per person                        Janet Nauta, Ridgetown College                 Phone: 519-674-1504
Includes: 18 holes of golf, cart, prizes, and a     120 Main Street East                           Fax: 519-674-1530
                                                    Ridgetown ON N0P 2C0                           Email: roots@ridgetownc.uoguelph.ca
          steak dinner following the tournament

120 Main Street East
Ridgetown, ON N0P 2C0


To top