Harold B. Rudy – 2016 Honorary Life Award Recipient
Harold Rudy was born and raised on a mixed farm in Waterloo county, near New Hamburg, Ont. From a family of 10 siblings, Harold and his partner Sandra own the original homestead bought by his parents in 1929. Contract seed production was part of a crop mix that included potatoes and u-pick strawberries.
After graduating from the University of Guelph in 1971, with a Bachelor of Science (Agr.), Harold worked for several years as field staff for York Farms in Brantford, supervising their vegetable research trials and coordinating commercial production of sweet corn and peas, but retaining strong connections to the family farm operation. In the mid-1980s, Harold joined the Conservation Program staff with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture until he took on the role of Program Manager with the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) in 1987. He enrolled in part-time studies to complete in 2003 his Master of Science degree. The Environmental Farm Plan and many other programs have been part of Harold’s career highlights, administering over $100 million in environmental improvement cost-share to the Ontario farm community over 25 years.
It has been a long-standing tradition that the OSCIA provides administrative support to the Ontario Seed Growers’ Association (OSGA) and the opportunity to support OSGA as a part-time Secretary-Manager came in 2003, while working as Executive Director for the OSCIA.
Since joining the OSGA, Harold typically organizes annual meetings, coordinates field days, provides support to the board in its day-to-day business, and oversees several newsletters to Ontario seed growers. He has been involved in two strategic planning sessions to support the vision of the seed industry.
Most recently through the OSCIA, significant funds have been administered under Harold’s supervision to research best practices for seed treatment to enhance pollinator health. This research is being carried out at the University of Guelph (Ridgetown campus).
Harold has great admiration for the pedigreed seed industry in Canada and appreciates very much the strong connections and networking that has accompanied his role with OSGA. Along with his current duties with the OSGA, he continues to work on research and development projects for OSCIA, which includes Sustainable Farm and Food Plans with the objective of reducing redundancy and duplication of paperwork to strengthen our farmers’ social license for market access around the world. He enjoys spending spare time with his family, the farm, and has been known to strum the strings of his bass fiddle in an Irish/Celtic band.