Inducted November 13th, 2018
Dr. Art Schaafsma is a cash crop farmer, author and speaker who has overseen research, teaching, extension and business development at the Ridgetown Campus of the University of Guelph, and has consulted on insect and disease management strategies provincially, nationally, and globally.
Dr. Arthur William Schaafsma was born on March 15th, 1956 in Bowmanville, Ontario to Arend Schaafsma and Dina Swen.
Art graduated from the University of Guelph with a Bachelors in 1981, Masters in 1983, and PhD in 1993. In 1979 he married Susan, daughter of William Van Wely and Adrianna Loof. They have three children – Adrienne, Katrina and Suzanne, and they have two grandchildren.
Dr. Schaafsma farms a small acreage south of Ridgetown growing corn, soybeans, wheat and canola, and taking a lot of pride in his farming. He says the experience has kept him relevant and grounded in his teaching and research. He joined the Ridgetown Campus in 1987 as a researcher and instructor. He did his PhD part time in three years during his early days at Ridgetown. He is currently a Professor and Researcher in Field Crop Pest Management at the University of Guelph at the Ridgetown Campus, the position which he has held since 2012, shortly after the campus transitioned from a provincial government facility to being part of the University. He was appointed as a Director at the Ridgetown Campus of the University from 2007 – 2012, overseeing the campus' directions in research, teaching, extension and business development. He also worked in the agrochemical industry in Alberta and Manitoba from 1983 to 1987 where he started as a Product Development Researcher and then finished as national Manager of Research and Regulatory Affairs.
His research program has focused on pest management strategies for crops, particularly corn, soybeans and wheat, and he has consulted on insect and disease management strategies provincially, nationally, and globally. The main types of his research include – Risk management for seed treatment use in corn and soybeans; Farm to fork management of mycotoxins in wheat and corn; Management of invasive and key insect pests of corn, soybeans and wheat; Insect resistance management for transgenic corn; and ongoing collaboration with commodity organizations, the seed and pesticide industries, public researchers, and OMAFRA specialists to develop pest management strategies in mainly corn, soybeans and wheat. In his work at the University, he has received grants for research from numerous funding agencies.
He is an international leader in developing application techniques to optimize the effectiveness of fungicides for fusarium head blight control in wheat and corn, and these recommendations have been adopted across Canada, in parts of the US, as well as in Europe.
DONcast is a model developed and released to forecast deoxynivalenol in wheat for Ontario, the first published for any mycotoxin in the world, and currently the only one that is commercially used and sustained. DONcast has resulted in two consulting opportunities with the FAO, one in Uruguay, and one in Iran. He has been invited to consult with the CDC/WHO on forecasting aflatoxins in African maize. It has been in use extensively by Ontario wheat producers since the year, 2000, and is now delivered by the Weather INnovations Consulting LP. It is used as a tool to decide whether to spray a fungicide or not, and to forecast grain quality before harvest for wheat marketing and health regulatory purposes. DONcast was successfully deployed across Canada, into the US, in Uruguay, South America, and in many parts of Europe.
Dr. Schaafsma is one of the founding members of CARES (Centre for Agricultural Renewable Energy and Sustainability), and has worked with the rural community and the agricultural industry to develop CARES. The development of a biodiesel research and demonstration facility at Ridgetown Campus was the first of several planned CARES initiatives, followed by the construction of an anaerobic digester which operates today to produce hydro for the campus.
Art has been author, and co-author of over 95 peer-reviewed scientific articles; he has delivered many extension presentations and training courses to Ontario growers as well as in other jurisdictions; he has been session Chair and speaker at SWAC and Diagnostic Days; he has been invited to speak at numerous international and national scientific meetings; he's been a past consultant to the FAO of the United Nations on mycotoxins; he was co-founder and chair of the Canadian Corn Pest Coalition, and has been dealing with transgenic corn issues, stewardship and management since 1998. He has been a member and past chair of NCCC046: Development, Optimization, and Delivery of Management Strategies for Corn Rootworms and Other Below-ground Insect Pests of Maize; Member: NC-205 Ecology and Management of European corn borer and other stalk-boring Leidoptera. Multi-state research project, Member: NC-246: Ecology and Management of Arthropods in Corn. Multi-state research project Member: National Corn Steering Committee, AAFC-PMRA Joint Pesticide Risk Reduction Program. He's Past Chair of the Ontario Field Crops Research and Services Committee (OFCRSC); Past Chair, Field Crop Pest Management Committee; Member of ad hoc Canadian Soybean aphid action Committee, 2001-2007.
Dr. Schaafsma is one of three founders and a past Director of OWN (Ontario Weather Network which has now become Weather INnovations Consulting LP), a business venture of Ridgetown College/University of Guelph to develop and deliver agricultural meteorological applications (the College's fusarium/DON forecast is one). He is Past acting Executive Director of Fusarium Action Canada (FAC), which is not for profit Canadian corporation that has Provincial and Federal Government, livestock and grain producer groups (Provincial and Federal), grain handlers/marketers, Industrial Grain Processors, Malsters, Millers, Bakers, the Crop Protection Industry, Seed Industry as members working as an advocacy group to develop a co-ordinated effort to identify and measurably reduce the impact of Fusarium on the Canadian economy. Art was a member of the Organizing Committee for the 3rd and 4th Canadian Workshops on Fusarium Head Blight in Winnipeg in December, 2003, and in Ottawa in December, 2005.
Beginning in 2012, Art was a critical person in developing a partnership between the Ridgetown Campus Chaplaincy Ministry, International Needs Canada (INC), and the Samaritan Foundation (SF) in the Dominion Republic. Art soon found himself in a leadership position, and led the team in looking at the resources available to the people in the Dominican villages. From there, he encouraged and led the team in finding ways to better manage the resources already there, as well as exploring new opportunities and providing training as needed. He also took opportunities to present new skills and ways of looking at things, to the people, in terms of grafting, composting, exploring options for biofuel, looking at natural insecticides for crop protection, and helping the people to gain better access to plant material for crop production. Art's creative mind and dedication to work have gained the respect of many people within the Dominican villages. 5 to 15 students work alongside of Art in the Dominican, and his participation has a long term positive effect on the students as they learned from his example – what it means to use your skills and passions beyond your day-to-day job description to serve those around you, and across the world. Art is always willing to nominate, or supply wonderful letters of support for those receiving awards.
Regarding the peer-reviewed article "The role of field dust in pesticide drift when pesticide-treated maize seeds are planted with vacuum-type planters." which appeared in Pest Management Science in September, 2017, Dr. Schaafsma has done a study proving that the majority of the seed treatment dust getting into the environment is coming from vacuum planter exhausts, not from the surface soil dust.
Greg Stewart of Maizex Seeds Inc. says "Dr. Schaafsma has brought world class agricultural research and extension to Ontario for decades; providing information and guidance on a wide range of important topics….his positive influence has been felt over the years by a wide range of individuals from students to researchers to industry leaders."
Kevin Montgomery of OMAFRA says "Dr. Art Schaafsma is a passionate and compassionate leader….with a genuine interest in the betterment of local farming and the Chatham-Kent community."