An original member of the Ontario Milk Marketing Board, which was instrumental in bringing supply management to Canada, is one of the newest four members of the Glengarry Agricultural Wall of Fame.
Benoit Duchesne (1914-2002) was approached by then-Ontario Minister of Agriculture William Stewart in 1965 to be on the board, now known as the Dairy Farmers of Ontario. At the time, dairy farmers had no bargaining power and didn’t get much in return for selling their milk.
Duchesne agreed to be a member, but he didn’t last long, said Grant Cameron, who became an employee of the board in 1967 and was to induct Duchesne into the wall of fame.
“He told me one time, his French was much stronger than his English,” said Cameron. “And when he got to Toronto, he found it too hard to keep up.”
Less than six months after signing on, he left the board, but the organization was already influential. The group was meeting with boards from other provinces and putting pressure on the federal government to start a supply-management system.
“I heard more than once, there never was a better board (than the original one),” said Cameron.
Ontario dairy farmers at the time were just surviving and supply management, which officially came in during the 1970s, saved many farmers, said Cameron.
“When supply management came in, you immediately saw a change,” he said. “That’s when you started to see somebody buying an International W4 tractor, which was quite a purchase at that time. Things started to move ahead. (Dairy farmers) went from horses to mechanized farming.”
Besides being on the board, Duchesne invested in tile drainage in 1950 and was a member of the Glengarry Soil & Crop Association for more than 40 years and was a school trustee in 1968. He retired from farming in 1976, and passed away in 2002.
Duchesne was to be inducted into the Wall of Fame on April 26. Here are the other three inductees:
Carmin Howes (1937-)
Howes showed a penchant for dairy cattle at an early age, joining 4-H as soon as possible, and quickly won first-place awards for judging and best all-around 4-H member. After graduating high school, he revived the dormant Lochiel Junior Farmers, serving as its first president and becoming the group’s first provincial representative.
Owning his first purebred Holstein at the age of 12, Howes worked on the family farm, building a purebred herd until 1969, when he bought the farm across the road and started Lochill Holsteins. The farm won its first Master Breeder shield in 1986.
Howes was also president of the Vankleek Hill Agricultural Society and the Glengarry Holstein Association. He sold the farm in 1996.
Dr. Brian MacNaughton (1954-2014)
MacNaughton was a much-loved vet who was renowned across the country. After he passed away from cancer in 2014, the Canadian Association of Bovine Veterinarians created the Dr. Brian MacNaughton Memorial Award, awarded every two years to a vet who has made a major contribution to bovine veterinary medicine at the national level.
MacNaughton graduated from Ontario Veterinary College in 1980, and opened his own clinic a year later. That clinic is now run by his wife, Yvette.
His calm, caring manner and great sense of humour were admired by all of his clients. Retired dairy producer Micky MacDonald from Williamstown once said that “You used to hope a cow would get sick, so you could have a visit with Brian.”
A former president of the Ontario Association of Bovine Practitioners, Brian was also the recipient of that organization’s Vet Service Award in 2013 for outstanding service and dedication to the Ontario bovine industry.
Carman Luther Rowe (1905-1995)
Rowe, who purchased Roweselm Farm from his father in 1929, saw a need for area farmland to be better managed, so he started a small business providing tile drainage and custom threshing to area farmers.
Rowe had registered Holstein cattle, shipping milk to Borden’s in Montreal while a generator powered the milking machine in the barn. The farmer also raised pigs, turkeys and eggs and made maple syrup.
Rowe and his wife Freda had five children, Melvin, Elinor, Helen, Thelma and Sheldon.