Inducted: November 22, 2022
Dennis Jackson has been a champion of high-quality Ontario food-grade soybeans and worked to capture premium markets for local growers. He recognized the extra value for growers from the newest genetics and benefits to quality, yield, and research that certified seed offered. Dennis is also committed to sponsorship and community involvement and support of community infrastructure projects.
Dennis Jackson was born on September 27th, 1954 in Chatham to John (2003) and Doris (2007) Jackson. He received his secondary education at Lambton-Kent Composite School, then attended the Ridgetown College of Agriculture where he received an Agriculture Diploma in 1974 at the age of 19 years. He later completed a Dale Carnegie course in public speaking.
In 1975, Dennis married Sharon McFadden. The Jacksons have four children – Craig (Kim), Jarod (Kelly), Laura (Alain), and Dr. Lindsey (Al Sutherland). They also have 6 Grandchildren – Emily, Cameron, Sydney, Cory, Wesley and Jamie.
Dennis worked at the Co-op in Chatham for a year before managing the Co-op in Tupperville. He started his own elevator in Dresden in 1979. Jackson Seed Service started out as a local seed cleaning plant for Dresden area farmers and Dennis grew it with optimism and fortitude into four main divisions, all supporting agriculture. Pedigreed seed is contracted to farmers to grow and subsequently processed and packaged for planting the following season. Identity Preserved Food Grade soybeans are contracted to farmers and are processed and exported to international markets. Jackson Seed Service also operates as a grain elevator that receives soybeans, corn, and wheat that are sold to food and ethanol producers in Ontario and the States. The fourth division sells soybean and corn seed to farmers for Syngenta Canada under the NK brand. It now provides a market to over 10 countries for Chatham-Kent soybean growers.
Dennis has been a long-time champion of high-quality Ontario food-grade soybeans and capturing premium markets for local growers. He saw extra value (over traditional crush markets) for the high quality that the growers were producing and sought overseas markets for these crops. Becoming a registered seed establishment, Dennis quickly saw extra value for growers from the newest genetics and benefits to quality, yield, and research that certified seed could offer.
Building trust with farmers and industry has been the key to success for Jackson Seeds. Exporters and multinational seed companies have come to expect quality products and integrity of service when dealing with Jackson Seed Service. Dennis has built the foundation of this relationship which his sons, Craig and Jarod have continued. The third generation of Jacksons is now getting involved in the business.
Lately, the desire to continue to serve the community and build a business for future generations has led to several infrastructure and process improvements. The facility improvements have further increased customer trust in quality and continued service.
Diversity and inclusion are top priorities at Jackson Seeds. There is representation from three languages in addition to English. Work hours are flexible to accommodate those with family responsibilities and Jackson Seed Service is proud to support local children's Farm Safety groups.
Prior to Covid 19, many customers from throughout Ontario and Asia have been hosted for facility visits. These visitors patronized local restaurants and hotels and toured other agricultural operations. The comments about Chatham-Kent following these visits have always been positive.
Recently, Dennis used his YouTube channel, the "Soybean Man", to showcase all things agricultural in Chatham-Kent/Lambton where he promotes innovative agricultural practices as well as documenting important historical events for agriculture. Local farm tours and videos of operations at Jackson Seed Service are shared to highlight the diversity of agriculture in Chatham-Kent and the channel provides informative watching to both the farming and non-farming public.
Dennis, together with sons Craig and Jarod, operate a cash crop farm which includes corn, soybeans and wheat, and for many years Dennis ran a beef finishing feedlot.
Dennis coached Little League for several years in Tupperville. In 1974 Dennis was President of the TTTWD Junior Farmers Club that encompassed Tupperville, Turnerville, Thamesville, Wabash and Dresden, and in 1975 he was County President. Dennis was the Junior Farmers Representative when the bid was made to host the International Plowing Match in Kent County in 1979.
He has been a lifelong member of the Tupperville Zion United Church and helps with projects at the church. He has always been very involved in fundraising projects that supported his communities. He also provided judges for the Dresden Exhibition. Dennis has also been very involved with the Dresden Rotary Club, of which he was a Charter Member.
Jackson Seeds also provided support for the 2010 world record tractor parade organized by the Dresden Branch of the Canadian Cancer Society as well as the 2018 International Plowing Match held in Chatham-Kent.
Dennis supported the Dresden Minor Hockey Peewee Team, the Tupperville Women's Soccer Association, and the annual curling bonspiel in Wallaceburg. He supported community infrastructure projects that include the Dresden Community Healthcare Centre, the refurbishment of the Lambton-Kent District High School sports field, and the Dresden Splash Pad.
Certainly, Dennis Jackson has left a positive mark on local business, farming and the community he serves.