Five Manitobans were honoured for their contribution to agriculture and their community at an induction ceremony for the Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame July 12. The Co-operator is featuring each in consecutive weekly editions.
Edward Philip Hudek was born and raised on a farm at Hafford, Saskatchewan. He received his B.Sc. in agriculture from the University of Saskatchewan in 1940. Ed married Christine Chamard in 1942 and together they raised three daughters and five sons. They have 19 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
After graduation, Ed taught short courses for the Extension Department of the University of B.C. and conducted lectures and laboratories in agricultural engineering at the University of Saskatchewan. From 1942-45 he assumed the operation and management of the family farm, a research substation of the federal Department of Agriculture. In 1945 while still farming, Ed began teaching in the agricultural engineering department at the University of Saskatchewan.
In 1956, Ed accepted a job in Winnipeg as an extension agricultural engineer with the Manitoba Department of Agriculture where he stayed until his retirement in 1981. An effective administrator, he moved up to become chief agricultural engineer, director of the technical services branch, assistant deputy minister, deputy minister, associate deputy minister and special adviser to the minister. He served as chairman of the Farm Machinery Board, chairman and manager of the Manitoba Water Services Board, chairman of the Milk Control Board, and chairman of the Crown Lands Appeal Board.
In Manitoba, Ed became known as an expert in vegetable storage structures, loose housing for livestock, hay-handling equipment, seed-cleaning plants, hog barn design, farm safety, farm drainage and rural water systems. He was involved in rewriting the Farm Machinery Act to ensure that it was easily understood and fair to all. He was responsible for increasing rural water services and developing farm business groups. He was not only a major resource to staff in the Department of Agriculture, but also to countless farmers across the province. Ed was always careful to ensure that development projects and programs had practical applications.
From 1984-86, Ed and Christine lived in Sudan, Africa, where he managed a Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) research and development project producing sorghum and sesame seed. In 1988, a CIDA contract took Ed to Tanzania to assess a wheat production project. The University of Saskatchewan Alumni presented Edward Hudek with the 2011 Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award.
Ed was also involved in his church. He served on the parish council and Winnipeg and National councils of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace. In 1971, Ed was presented with a Papal Medal.
Ed was always polite and treated everyone with respect. He readily offered people his help and professional advice and the benefit of his extensive experience. Many rural communities are better off today because of Ed Hudek.