Ottawa Valley Seed Growers
Every organization has one of those “go-to” volunteers ready to help with any task. They are reliable, personable, knowledgeable, hard-working, and quietly enthusiastic. The Ottawa Valley Seed Growers Association has just such a volunteer in board member David Blair.
Dave has been involved in agricultural organizations from an early age, beginning in 4-H and Junior Farmers. As a member of the Pakenham Junior Farmers, he attended leadership camp and participated in a United Nations exchange trip.
Dave operated a successful farm business in the Pakenham area for more than 60 years, having at one time raised pigs, as well as beef. The beef operation included cow-calf and finishing, and during that time, Dave was involved in the Lanark County Cattlemen’s Association. At the provincial level he represented Lanark County at the Ontario Cattlemen’s Association (now known as Beef Farmers of Ontario). He was a registered pedigreed seed grower operating “Up Above Seeds” for over six decades and cleaned and sold pedigreed seed for both C&M Seeds and PRO Seeds. He was also a seed dealer for several years for both Dekalb and PRO Seeds. He has cleaned grain for neighbours in the area and continues to do so.
While Dave enjoys many things about farming, he acknowledges his favourite aspect is growing good crops. As a long-standing member of the Lanark Soil and Crop Improvement Association, Dave has held all positions within the organization including acting as president in 1973-74. Soil and crop members have been welcomed to the farm many times over the years for different activities and functions. He also was active as an Ontario Seed Growers Association provincial director. In 1992, Dave and his family received the Eastern Ontario Soil & Crop Improvement Association “Award of Merit”.
Beyond working with various commodity groups, Dave has offered his time and knowledge with many other local initiatives. When the 1993 International Plowing Match was held in Carleton Place, Dave organized a daily tillage demonstration. He was one of the founding members of the Arnprior Region Federation of Agriculture, served on the Lanark Environmental Farm Plan Committee and continues to be a valued director and past president of the Ottawa Valley Seed Growers Association.
In addition to the volunteer time spent in the agricultural sector, Dave is also active within his community of Pakenham, having served on boards such as the Almonte Hospital and the Five Arches Housing Corporation. He and his wife Helen attend St. Andrew’s United Church in Pakenham where Dave has been both a trustee and a member of the cemetery board. Dave is a long-time active supporter of the Pakenham curling club and was recognized as a lifetime member in 1999.
Dave volunteers because “he likes to be involved in things in the community.” When speaking with other farmers in Lanark about Dave’s contributions, one producer summed it up perfectly: “He’s just an all-around nice guy, always ready to help.” Thank you, Dave, for all your contributions to agriculture and to your community over the years!