2013 Manitoba Canola Choice Award Recipient – Ken Edie
Ken Edie is the recipient of this year’s Canola Award of Excellence. Ken is a canola pioneer in more ways than one. He was the inaugural president of the Manitoba Canola Growers in 1970, (known as the Manitoba Rapeseed Growers Association at the time) and worked alongside the likes of Bladur Stefansson, to eventually introduce canola, the first variety of rapeseed, to agriculture.
In addition to his involvement with our organization, Ken has been the chairman and held other positions with the Canola Council of Canada; where he is an honourary life member. His contributions don’t end there. He served and made an impact as vice president of Manitoba Pool Elevators and vice-chair Prairie Pools Inc.
Born and raised in Dugald, Manitoba where he still calls home to this day, Ken has a lifetime of memories that more often than not, involve agriculture.
Ken graduated with a diploma in agriculture from the University of Manitoba in 1955. 1955 was also the first year he planted his first rapeseed row on Edie Farms. He remembers the fact it wasn’t enough that anyone wanted to buy it. There wasn’t a marketing system back then and sold it for $2.25 a bushel that year. He stopped growing it a few years later and quadrupled his dairy herd instead. Fortunately for the canola industry, his interest in canola returned and he started and continued to grow it from 1964 and on.
In 1965, he was selected as a Nuffield scholar receiving a prestigious scholarship intended to expand the knowledge and network of agriculture leaders. This opportunity allowed him to study in the UK for six months.
During his career, Ken witnessed agriculture progress. In fact, he played a large and fulfilling role in agriculture policy issues and was a first-class representation of farmers in the Legislative Manitoba Assembly and at the Parliament of Canada.
In some ways, some of the challenges we face in agriculture today are not too different from the ones Ken faced many years ago. Ken’s first year as president of the Manitoba Rapeseed Grower’s Association was a memorable one. He recalls the arguments made against the seed being used as an edible oil. The International Oilseeds Congress that took place that year in Sainte-Adèle, Quebec was a particularly difficult one. Representatives from around the world attended to discuss trade barriers. His European counterparts were not convinced rapeseed was a good product and went as far as to call it poison. Ken handled this diplomatically. Then, a nutritionist from the University of Manitoba presented at the meeting. She counter-argued all the points made against the seed; it was the way she did it “in such a sophisticated manner” that left Ken impressed. It was a proud moment for him, not only to have the arguments against the seed addressed, but the fact it had been done so by someone from his alma mater made it even more rewarding him. It is a memory that stands out prominently for him 43 years later.
Both in his career and personal life, he gave his heart and soul when he contributed to something. When the association first came about he set up meetings all over the province and used his own vehicle and gas to get there, not giving his personal costs a second thought.
Ken and his wife Susan, who have been married for 55 years, have always been hospitable. They’ve welcomed visitors from all over the world into their home. Ken is proud to have had so many international visitors and keeps one reminder of this in their home: a photo of a Japanese visitor they once had. Ken and his wife recall how was fascinated she was with riding a combine; the picture is constant reminder of how fortunate we are be involved in Canadian Agriculture.
Ken has always been active in his community and still is to this day. They support their local food bank is Springfield and are members of their local church. He was involved with various sports including being a hockey referee and during the summer he was an umpire. He has been a member of his local toastmasters club for as long as he can remember. He used to be a 4H leader and stays up-to-date on the latest agriculture news by reading the Manitoba Cooperator.
If you’re looking for any farming advice, Ken is the person to go to. He says he “continues to hand out advice that no one ever listens to”. We would dispute that this is not true, he is an individual with vast knowledge and certainly worth a listen. His successes led to the prosperity of this organization and the canola industry in Manitoba. For that, we would like to present the 2013 Canola Award of Excellence to Kenneth Stewart Edie.
The Manitoba Canola Growers would like to recognize Ken for his years of service and her contribution to the canola industry. Edie has requested that the $150 donation that is a part of this award go to Foodgrains Bank.