28.7 C
Elmira
Friday, July 3, 2020
Connecting Our Communities

It’s official, she’s outstanding in her field

Elmira’s Ellen Sparry receives the Honorary Life Award from the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association

Her lifelong commitment to agriculture has earned Elmira’s Ellen Sparry the Honorary Life Award from the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association.

Sparry, the general manager at C&M Seeds in Palmerston, was recognized for her contributions to the Canadian certified seed industry.

“I felt very excited and surprised, for sure,” said Sparry of the accomplishment. “One never anticipates that kind of thing. It was a great honour. Humbling, excited and surprised – all about in that order. I guess part of it is gratifying to know the goals that I’ve had for my life of hopefully improving the seed industry and improving varieties for growers. The award confirms hopefully that that’s what I’ve done, I suppose.”

Sparry’s interest in agriculture sparked from a very young age, being born and raised on a corn farm in Fergus. She pursued her passion in farming into adulthood by attending the Ontario Agricultural College at the University of Guelph. After graduating, Sparry worked at King Agro in Listowel as a cereal research technician. She worked other roles, including senior research technician followed by assistant breeder.

She eventually joined C&M Seeds in 1994 as a genetics manager, leading the company’s genetics and research program. She was appointed general manager of the company in June 2015. She is also involved in other agricultural-related groups, including the Ontario Cereal Crop Committee, the Wheat Technical Committee and the Canadian Seed Trade Association, in addition to the CSGA.

“Ellen has been working for C&M Seeds for a very long time,” said Carolina Lafontaine, managing director at CSGA.  “She has been really good at promoting the use of certified seed in agriculture. And so she was a really clear candidate. She’s produced videos as well with us explaining how certified seed can improve different baking products. So she’s been very gracious with her time in terms of helping us spread messages.”

Sparry was not expecting to win the award.

“You don’t really plan when you’re doing your job that you’re going to get an award,” she said. “This sort of makes me feel like I’m doing the right thing when it comes to improving the seed industry.”

The Honorary Life Award has been a tradition of the association since 1931. It was presented in Montreal at the organization’s 114th annual meeting. This year, there were five award-winners. They can be either in the producers or industry stakeholders. In Sparry’s case, she is considered an industry stakeholder.

Recipients are chosen not only for their contribution to the organization, but also to the seed industry as a whole.

“The recipients are nominated first by our provincial branches – there are branches of our association across the country,” explained Lafontaine. “And they will first nominate to the national office, somebody they feel is deserving. They nominate both people who are producers and then industry stakeholders that have not only contributed to our organization but to the seed industry at large. And then once that’s nominated to our national board, the national board then reviews those nominations and makes a selection based on who they feel are the best candidates.”

The CSGA is a non-profit organization that aims to advance the seed industry. It is the only Canadian organization to monitor and certify pedigreed seeds for all agricultural crops in Canada except for potatoes. For more information, visit Canadian Seed Growers’ Association.

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to The Observer's online community. Pseudonyms are not permitted. By submitting a comment, you accept that The Observer has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner The Observer chooses. Please note that The Observer does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our submission guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

LIVING HERE

Local couple take DIY workout equipment to the next level

With gyms closed during the coronavirus lockdown and many of us staying put, at-home workouts became the norm. The resultant run on equipment created an opportunity for Kerri Brown and Ben Gibson.

In Print. Online. In Pictures. In Depth.

You obviously love community journalism. Thanks for visiting today. If you have a great local story, let us know.

Council approves zone change for township development in village

Slightly scaled back, a townhouse development in Wellesley village moved one step closer this week when township council approved the required official...

Going to market with more farm offerings

For years, Wellesley Township’s Josephine McCormick and her family have chosen to forego the usual farmers’ markets, opting for some form of...

Kim Mitchell finds wishes can come true

Conventional wisdom says you keep your wishes to yourself if you want them to come true – when you’re blowing out the...
- Advertisement -