Kathy & Grahame Hardy – 2017 CSGA Robertson Associate Award
In 1967 at the age of 17, Grahame moved from Montreal with his parents Margaret and Bill Hardy to Inkerman, Ont., 35 miles south of Ottawa. His parents had purchased a 150-acre untiled farm and this was his first introduction to farm life. Small 10 and 15-acre fields were made into larger ones, and all the land was tile-drained.
Kathy was raised on a registered Holstein dairy farm in Prince Edward County. Grahame and Kathy met at Kemptville College (KCAT) in 1970 and in 1972 they were married, after which Kathy moved to Dundas County. After college, Grahame worked as a survey technician and Kathy as a dietician’s assistant, and in 1976 they joined Grahame’s parents full-time in the Hardy Seeds Limited pedigreed seed business.
Over the next few years more land was purchased and additional land rented, making a total of 1,000 acres of mostly clay loam soil in spring cereals and soybean seed production in the 1980s. Both Grahame and Kathy obtained their select seed grower status and became a very integral part of the day-to-day operation of the Hardy Seeds registered seed establishment. The seed cleaning plant was expanded to accommodate the processing of seed from contract growers.
In 1990, Grahame and Kathy purchased the existing business and in 1993 added a commercial elevator for spring wheat and an additional 600 tonnes of storage, which was used to store additional seed production from contract growers. In 2002, the seed cleaning plant was upgraded to include an automated bagging line to allow for the increased output of bagged product, which included pedigreed seed, certified organic food grade soybeans and food grade soybeans for the export market.
At this point they were working with two major seed companies in Ontario who provided spring cereals and soybeans for eastern Ontario and Quebec. In 2003, a true bulk loading facility and additional warehouse space were added.
Both Grahame and Kathy have contributed to local schools, minor hockey, 4-H, Soil and Crop and community activities. Seed industry activity for Grahame included 10 years as a director with OSGA and three years on the SeCan board. Kathy served as a provincial director of CSGA for four years and has been a director of the Ottawa Valley Seed Growers for a number of years. Grahame and Kathy have both received long service certificates for pedigreed seed production, Grahame for 35 years and Kathy for 25 years. In 2009 they, along with their son Stephen, received the Innovative Farmer Award from Dundas Soil & Crop.
Grahame and Kathy have two sons, Geoff and Stephen. Geoff has his interprovincial millwright ticket and is currently with Peterborough Public Utilities. Stephen has his Ag Diploma from KCAT and his diploma in the Grain and Seed Technology course from Olds College. After college, Stephen became a partner of Hardy Seeds in 2001 and also started up his own trucking business, moving seed throughout Ontario and Quebec.
In 2009, the seed business was sold and Grahame and Kathy moved to Iroquois, Ont., along the St. Lawrence River. Being semi-retired allows them more free time to enjoy their four grandchildren.