Inducted: November 21, 2023
Ron Anderson's passion was agriculture. He was a visionary and agricultural specialist. Ron oversaw the agricultural sector in Chatham-Kent and assisted many growers and agriculture businesses with their growth and expansion opportunities.
William Ronald Anderson was born on May 6th, 1945 to James and Evelyn Anderson. He died on March 20th, 2015.
Ron married Joy Burke on April 10th, 1965 and they have four daughters – Loree Hodgson-Harris, Noelle Dupuis, Shannon Bechard and Lindsay Buchanan. They have nine grandchildren.
Ron graduated from Grade 13 at the Chatham Collegiate Institute and he furthered his education - with a 6-year Land Stewardship Program, a High Crop Residue Program, a National Soil Conservation Program, the Ontario Ground Water Survey, and a Permanent Cover Crop II Program.
Ron also participated in - Agriculture in the Classroom, the Agriculture Advisory Committee, the Chatham Chamber of Commerce, the Nurture the Future Committee, Agri-Development Kent, the Ontario Soybean Growers, the Ontario Sugar Beet Growers Association, the Ridgetown College Advisory Committee, the Kent and the Ontario Cattlemen's Associations, the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association, and CARES – the Centre for Agricultural Renewable Energy and Sustainability Program as Director.
Besides Agricultural organizations, Ron was also active with St. Joseph's Hospital Foundation and fundraising, the Progressive Conservative Kent as Party director, candidate and Provincial Party President, the Dover Centre Memorial Park, on the committee and also as a baseball coach.
Ron was awarded the University of Guelph Honourary Fellowship award in 2011 and the Chatham-Kent Chamber of Commerce Agriculturist of the year award in 2015.
He contributed in many ways to the development of Agriculture in Chatham-Kent. He formed linkages between officials from the Canadian and Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and officials from Commercial Alcohols. He helped bring Commercial Alcohol to Chatham by pursuing grant money. Now known as Greenfield, this facility is a large consumer of local corn to produce commercial alcohol, corn oil and distiller's grain. They also employ engineers and other professionals.
Ron and other growers worked with Michigan Sugar to develop a cooperative enterprise to market sugar beets from Chatham-Kent.
Ron realized the importance of a research facility and education for young people. He played a key role in helping to bridge projects and funding support between Ridgetown Campus and Chatham-Kent through SOBIN and CARES projects including a Bio-Gas facility.
While working with Stewardship Kent, Ron worked with others to introduce the role of "Agriculture Specialist" to keep issues in agriculture in front of Chatham-Kent Council. In that role, he oversaw the agriculture sector and assisted many growers and Ag businesses with business plans, growth and expansion.
With others, Ron brought millions of dollars of grants for local producers and Ag businesses to maintain market share and increase their presence in the marketplace.
He worked with Randy Hope in developing Wind Energy in Chatham-Kent which brought millions of investment dollars and employment to Chatham-Kent. He organized "Day of Support" that prompted farmers to bring in a tractor convoy to support the ethanol project.
Ron was always thinking and helping others. He was a visionary who helped form, organize and run a number of community groups and associations. He was strong on communicating and uniting with farmers. He established integrity and spoke the truth with all he worked with. He was kind and considerate and gave for the betterment of others. He was admired for his honesty, integrity, hard work, wisdom, knowledge and faith. He was an environmentalist and respected the land and the people.
Stuart McFadden, Director, Chatham-Kent Economic Development Services describes Ron: He promoted education, advice, and leadership and went over and above to share his vast knowledge. He was passionate about steering young entrepreneurs towards the field of agriculture and the many opportunities available to them.