Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

April 22, 2003

Ceremony recognizes agricultural contributions

An Ontario fruit and vegetable grower whose "open farm" policy has helped in studies of food safety was recognized by the University of Guelph during an April 21 volunteer recognition event held by the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC).

Jeff Wilson, a 1976 diploma graduate and owner of Birkbank Farms in Orton, Ont., received the 2003 Outstanding Service Award to recognize contributions to agricultural research and teaching programs.

His farm has played host to numerous tours, from high school students learning about agricultural biotechnology to more than 5,000 visitors involved in a three-year trial on agronomic and consumer perception aspects of genetically engineered crops. Wilson also participated in a pilot project for an on-farm food safety program for fruit and vegetable growers.

The Outstanding Service Award was established in 1983 to recognize individuals whose exceptional volunteer work has benefited the university's agricultural research, teaching and extension programs. The award was presented to Wilson by OAC dean Craig Pearson.

An Order of OAC was awarded to Ken Murray, a 1950 animal science graduate who has distinguished himself as a respected business executive, community leader, philanthropist and volunteer. Murray is a former chair of the University of Guelph's Board of Governors, former chair of the Homewood Corp. and founder of the Homewood Foundation. He also launched the Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Project at the University of Waterloo. He was named to the Order of Canada in 2001 and, along with his wife, Marilyn, was honoured as the 2002 Waterloo-Wellington Philanthropist of the Year.

OAC also presented 11 recognition awards to volunteers who have made significant contributions to agricultural or rural community organizations in Ontario.

The 2003 recipients are:

Peter Coughler of Port Hope, a member of the Ontario Institute of Agrologists
Hector Delanghe of Blenheim, a 2002 inductee into the Kent Agricultural Hall of Fame
Laurie Farquharson of Mount Brydges, IPM/Rural Expo 2002
Gordon Garlough of Williamsburg, Dundas Federation of Agriculture
Bev and Beverly Hughes of Ilderton, Tri-County Heritage Club
Patricia Marcotte of Wahnipital, Ontario Goat Breeders' Association
Elaine Simpson of Shanty Bay, Simcoe County Federation of Agriculture
Wayne McCausland of Meaford, 4-H Ontario
Marie and Dale Smith of Mount Hope, Halton Wentworth Federation of Agriculture
Heidi Wagner of Breslau, Waterloo Federation of Agriculture
Deborah and Bruce Whale of Alma, Ontario Broiler Hatching Egg and Chick Commission/Dairy Farmers of Ontario

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982.

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