Buchanan, Douglas (1932 - )
Buchanan, William (1938 - )
Inducted: November 15, 2016
Douglas and William Buchanan farmed together for 52 years as consummate soil conservationists and wildlife naturalists. They participated in several research trials for R.C.A.T. on their farm. Doug also assisted at local fall fairs over his lifetime. Bill also cared for injured birds for the Ministry of Natural Resources. Both have taken it upon themselves to monitor the Thames River dykes, so important to the drainage of Chatham-Kent.
G. Douglas (Doug) Buchanan was born on November 14th, 1932 in Comber, Ontario to Frank and Bernice (Morris) Buchanan. He married the former Carolyn (Carrie) Thompson and they have four children – Don (Debra), Julie (Dave Radlin), David (Tammy) and Dellsie (Jamie Sova). Doug and Carrie have 11 Grandchildren.
Doug attended Comber Public School, Tilbury District High School, and received a B.Sc.Agri., Honours Degree in Agronomy from the Ontario Agricultural College, University of Toronto in 1956. The OAC is now called the University of Guelph.
Doug was a member of the Ontario Institute of Agrology, the Agricultural Institute of Canada, and the Ontario Soil/Crop Improvement Association as well as a member of the Oxford County Junior Farmers for several years.
Doug farmed for 52 years in partnership with his brother, William. For a few years, Doug was employed with the Economics Branch of Canada (Woodstock and Simcoe), and has spent a lifetime assisting at local fall fairs.
Doug has consistently been active in the Tilbury United Church activities, and was a long-time Superintendent of the Jeannette’s Creek Sunday School. He has been a generous donor of finances for the Elm Tree Recovery Program at the University of Guelph on the Dutch Elm Disease Program. Doug and Bill are also very generous donors of old pioneer farm implements and machinery to the Tilbury West Museum.
Doug also has a hobby of managing bees. He built a sugar shack and began tapping mature silver maple trees that were located along the roadsides and throughout the homesteads.
Randy Chevalier remembers Doug as very accommodating to him, as he learned the ropes as a field man for Pioneer. He said that Doug’s knowledge of agricultural practices was quite evident, and he learned from him a great deal about how to raise a seed corn crop. He also reports that throughout the years in agricultural retail, he has sat with Doug and has gone over fertility and chemical recommendations and discussed the merits of any new products coming out. Randy considers Doug a great mentor for the up and coming farm generation.
Doug continues to farm with his son and his two grandsons, and also enjoys travelling.
William (Bill) Buchanan was born on February 22nd, 1938 in Comber, Ontario to Frank and Bernice (Morris) Buchanan. Bill is married to Betsy (Civalier), and they have three children – Craig (Mellissa), Ben (Julie), and Jason, and they have six Grandchildren.
After graduating from Comber Public School and Tilbury District High School, Bill attended Western Ontario Agricultural School in Ridgetown, graduating with Honours in 1958. He was awarded the prestigious Thomson award, which was given annually to the best citizen. Bill also won the Douglas Seed Company trophy for the top student in the field of Horticulture and Biology.
After graduation, Bill accepted a call from Dean Willson to join the Dean’s staff as his Assistant from 1958 – 1963. This offer was proof of the high regard and integrity that Dean Willson had for Bill and his capability to do the job.
During the 17 year period from 1963 – 1980, the Ridgetown College of Agriculture and Technology was in need of off-site locations to expand their soils research program. The Buchanan farms were selected as one site. Officially, it can be said that Bill was the college’s off-site “Farm Manager”. Soon the farms of the Buchanan Brothers were selected as the main off-site location. This decision would eventually turn out to be a very wise decision on behalf of the R.C.A.T. as it was an ideal location with ideal soil, ideal drainage, and a very ideal couple of Farm Managers. For 17 years, the College’s Soil Section had nothing but great co-operation, interest and workmanship from the Buchanan Brothers.
A few of the research trials conducted were:
- The effect of micro nutrients on the growth and yield of grain, corn, soybeans and fall wheat
- The effect of plastic-coated spring grains when planted in the fall;
- The effect of soil amendment on soil structure on clay loam textured soils with the amendment courtesy of Windsor via their garbage digester; and
- The effect of simulated hail damage on grain corn.
The Buchanan Brothers have been consummate, and passionate stewards of their lands. They protected and managed their soil, using cover crops, buffer strips, rock shoots, and dykes for the conveyance of water movement and to prevent erosion. They used Suffolk sheep to control vegetation on the dykes and also had a farrow to finish Yorkshire sow operation.
The Buchanans planted a windrow of nut trees to provide a living wind break as well as food and shelter for many species of animals and bird life. Among the trees were Sweet Chestnuts, Northern Pecan, Heartnuts, Filberts and English Walnuts.
The dykes are very important to prevent flooding on the Buchanan farm, and they are forever walking the dykes to keep abreast of any issues such as muskrats and ground hogs that might impact on the condition of the dykes.
It was Doug and Bill’s parents, Frank and Bernice, who were instrumental in teaching their growing boys about soil conservation and wildlife preservation. It was the Buchanan homestead farm, established by John Buchanan in 1856 that won the Essex County Conservation award in 2010, the award sponsored by the Essex County Crop Improvement Association. This farm has been cultivated by Buchanans for 160 years.
Bill was very involved with the protection of wildlife and he cared for injured birds such as gulls, flamingos, swans, ducks and herons for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.
While both Doug and Bill belong to a Hunt Club, they shoot with their cameras.
Bill decided to retire from farming in 2007. He rented his land, and indulges in his hobbies of woodcarving, as well as travelling, visiting friends and family in the old countries of Scotland and Ireland.
Bill is also a very active and long-term member of the Providence United Church in Raleigh Township, and is currently on various committees with the church.
The Buchanan Brothers farmed for the Future, not for a Fortune.