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Fruit and vegetable growers honour Don Brubacher

Fruit and vegetable growers honour Don Brubacher

A lifetime in the potato industry rewards Don Brubacher with an Industry Award of Merit.

By Andrew Joseph, Farms.com; Image courtesy of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association.

The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (OFVGA) has named Don Brubacher as its deserving winner of the 2024 Industry Award of Merit.

The retired long-time General Manager of the Ontario Potato Board was presented with the award at the annual OFVGA industry banquet in Niagara Falls, Ontario, on February 20, 2024.

“As a potato grower and current chair of the Ontario Potato Board, it is a particular honour for me to see Don receive this year’s Industry Award of Merit,” exalted Shawn Brenn, the Chair of the OFVGA.

He continued: “Don devoted his entire working life to the potato industry and was respected by growers for his knowledge, dedication, and commitment to working on their behalf to make things better for the industry. He always enjoyed the people this industry brought together and was passionate about the work being done.”

Brubacher grew up on a farm in St. Jacobs, Ontario, where his family was one of the first potato suppliers to Snyder’s Potato Chip Company in nearby Kitchener. In his early 20s, he took a job as a farm hand with one of the Hostess Potato Chips operations in Stayner, Ontario, to learn innovative farm practices that he could take back to his family’s farm business.

In 1976, after a year on the job, he was promoted to Farm Manager with responsibility for 900 acres of potatoes and 300 acres of other cash crops. Two years later, as Hostess moved away from growing its own potatoes, Brubacher took over contracting and management of the company’s storage facilities in Hillsdale and Alliston, Ontario, a role he held for 10 years. It was in this role that he began working closely with growers.

In 1989, he returned to his farming roots and joined the Ontario Potato Board as a field representative, working for and with growers. A decade later, he was promoted to General Manager, a job he held until his retirement in 2016.

A strong believer in collaboration, Brubacher worked closely with the OFVGA, the Fruit & Vegetable Growers of Canada, the Canadian Potato Council, and other provincial and national organizations for the betterment of the potato industry.

In 2023, Brubacher was honoured by Fruit & Vegetable Growers of Canada with the Outstanding Achievement Award for his lifelong dedication and service to the potato industry.

The OFVGA is considered to be the voice of Ontario’s 3,500 fruit and vegetable farmers on issues affecting the horticulture sector, growing produce in fields and greenhouses across the province for fresh and processed consumption.

For more information on the association, visit www.ofvga.org.


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