After 50 years working in agriculture, Ron Davidson, SOY Canada’s former executive director, recently retired.
In addition to thanking Davidson for his years of work in the public and private sector, awards recognizing service to the soybean sector were presented to Laura Anderson of the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) and Lorna Woodrow of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) during SOY Canada’s virtual annual meeting June 22.
Davidson, who grew up on an Ontario farm and studied agriculture at university, had an “impactful” career with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Foreign Affairs and International Trade, federal agriculture minister Marie Claude Bibeau said in a recorded address.
Davidson served the Canadian government in Washington D.C., Paris, Tokyo and the Middle East.
He left government in 2009 to represent the Canadian Wheat Board in Ottawa. He then joined the Canadian Meat Council and in November 2017 joined SOY Canada.
“Ron you are true ambassador for Canadian agriculture,” Bibeau said. “Canada has benefitted enormously from your contribution.”
SOY Canada chair Ernie Sirski said the organization was well-served by Davidson.
“Ron was always the office workhorse,” added former Canadian Meat Council executive director Jim Lawes.
Davidson said Canadian soybeans faced many challenges during his three and a half years at SOY Canada, including being caught in the China-U.S. trade war, which lowered soybean prices to Canadian farmers who, unlike their American counterparts, didn’t get subsidies to offset lower prices.
Laura Anderson’s SOY Canada service award recognizes her work with the grain commission on its Canadian Identity Preserved Recognition System (CIPSR) — a program that segregates food-grade soybeans.
Anderson, the CGC’s former national manager of process verification and accreditation, retired two years ago
“CIPRS has raised the quality of soybeans internationally and has become a valuable calling card for our customers,” Sirski said.
Anderson stressed CIPRS was a team effort, including assistance from the Canadian Seed Institute.
Former CGC chief commissioner Barry Senft and the CGC’s former chief operating officer Gord Miles contributed too.
Anderson also praised her colleagues Melanie Stoughton and Matthieu Le Dorze who worked with her on CIPRS, and continues to do so.
Lorna Woodrow, an AAFC plant physiologist at Harrow, Ont., played an important role in food-grade soybean research, Sirski said.
“This program has ensured the retention and expansion of the Canadian global market share of food-grade soybeans and it has helped Canadian soybean producers continue to develop and deliver superior food-grade soybean,” he said.
Woodrow, who is retiring soon, said her research benefitted by getting feedback directly from customers.
“We all know that we are as only as good as the people that work with us and my colleagues at Harrow have been indispensable in the overall operation of the soy food program,” Woodrow said.