David (Dave) Jeffries was born in Toronto, Ontario, in 1949. However, Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, has been his home since his family moved there in 1959. Dave and his wife Judith (nee Abbors), whom he married in 1980, have three children: a daughter Dawn, currently living in Austin, Manitoba, and two sons, Ernie and Roland, both of Portage la Prairie.
After taking the diploma course in agriculture at the University of Manitoba, Dave began farming in partnership with his brother Albert in 1968, under the name of Jeffries Brothers Vegetable Growers Inc. On their limited acreage they started growing carrots, potatoes, red beets and onions. Being new to vegetable growing, the brothers benefited from the advice and help of farming neighbours and the mentoring of established growers. The value of co-operation would be a major influence in Dave’s career as he grew the business and worked toward the betterment of the industry.
The Jeffries’ family business grew along with the vegetable industry in Manitoba. Today Jeffries Brothers Vegetable Growers Inc. is one of the largest vegetable growers in Manitoba, producing carrots, parsnips, rutabagas, and winter and summer squash. In 2008, Albert retired and Dave’s son Roland bought him out. Since then, his other son Ernie has joined the family farm. Dave was involved with Peak of the Market for more than 45 years, first as grower-member, then as director, and eventually served as chairman of the board for over 20 years.
At the national level, Dave was very involved in the Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC), serving on its board and then as its president in 1998. He chaired the CHC Trade and Industry Standards Committee for many years. A major accomplishment during Dave’s tenure on the board was his work on a task force to create a Dispute Resolution Corporation (DRC) under the North American Free Trade Agreement. The operations of the DRC, and subsequent legislative improvements, have resulted in a fairer marketplace for members of the produce industry in Canada, the U.S. and beyond.
Those who have worked with Dave credit his wisdom, humility, and calm demeanour for keeping discussions at a constructive and respectful level. His ability to listen and his in-depth understanding of all aspects of the horticulture business allowed him to bring clarity to the issues. His accomplishments are numerous and significant from the local family business level, to the regional, provincial and national levels.
Dave is a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. Although he has worked diligently for a strong vegetable industry in Manitoba, he is especially proud of his family and his community.
Nominated by Peak of the Market – 2015