Inducted: November 19, 2019
Dr. Peter Sikkema, a resident of Ridgetown is recognized as a world leader in weed management in corn, soybean, and cereals to maximize crop yield and net returns for growers; more recently Peter has focused on the control of herbicide-resistant weeds.
Peter was born in 1958 to Sid and Margaret Sikkema, and married Angela Visser from Guelph, Ontario, daughter of James and Hilda Visser. They have three married children - Joel, Sarah, and Christy and six grandchildren.
Dr. Sikkema grew up on a dairy and hog farm in south central Ontario. He attended the University of Guelph where he received his BSc (Agr) in 1981 and MSc (Weed Physiology) in 1983. Upon graduation, Peter began his career as a Field Development Representative for Eastern Canada with Union Carbide, and in 1986 he was promoted to Product Development Manager for Canada with Rhone Poulenc.
Peter accepted the position as Lecturer III at Ridgetown College in 1988 where he taught courses in fruit and vegetable production and conducted research on fruit and vegetables.
In 1997, Peter joined the University of Guelph as a College Professor with responsibility for weed management in field and horticultural crops. During this time, he enrolled as a part-time student at the University of Western Ontario, completing his PhD in Plant Sciences in 2002. He then joined the Department of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph in 2003 as an Assistant Professor. In 2007, Peter was promoted to Associate Professor and in 2009 he became a full Professor in the Department. He is responsible for weed management in field crops and teaches "Crop Diagnostics and Recommendations" and "Herbicide Physiology and Biochemistry".
Peter and his colleagues conduct research that benefits growers throughout the world. Of particular note to Chatham-Kent farmers, however, are the current investigations in herbicide resistance. Peter and his team are world leaders in the quest to address this pressing issue. Peter is an excellent source of both practical and innovative solutions for local farmers and he readily shares his knowledge with primary producers. He maintains a busy speaking schedule sharing his most recent research at grower meetings and agricultural conferences. During his career, Peter has secured greater than $15 million in external research funding, published more than 330 peer-reviewed manuscripts, and was an author/co-author of more than 325 oral/poster presentations at scientific conferences. He has supervised over 35 graduate students.
Peter has served on the boards of the Canadian Weed Science Society, North Central Weed Science Society, and Weed Science Society of America. He was President of the Canadian Weed Science Society in 2011.
Peter has received the following awards – 2006 - "Excellence in Weed Science" award from the Canadian Weed Science Society; 2007 – "Teaching Award of Merit" certificate from the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture; 2008 – "Fellow" award from the Canadian Society of Agronomy; 2009 – "Hilliard Agriculture Extension Award" from the University of Guelph; 2010 – "Distinguished Achievement Award – Research" from the North Central Weed Science Society; 2012 – "Fellow"` award from the Canadian Weed Science Society; 2012 – "Fellow" award from the North Central Weed Science Society; 2014 – "Fellow" award from the Weed Science Society of America; 2016 – "Excellence in Weed Extension" award from the Canadian Weed Science Society; 2017 – "Friend of Agriculture" award from the Chatham-Kent Chamber of Commerce; 2018 – "Teaching Excellence" award from the University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus; 2019 – "G. P. McRostie Faculty Award" from the Ontario Agricultural College; and 2019 – "Distinguished Professor Excellence in Teaching" award from the University of Guelph Faculty Association.
Peter and his wife reside in Ridgetown and can often be found hiking and learning about nature at Rondeau Park, Erieau, or Mitchell`s Bay; or driving the back roads of beautiful Chatham-Kent in search of historic sites and stories.
Rene VanAcker said that Peter is an extraordinary researcher, and that his astonishing research productivity is matched by his desire to extend his research findings. As well, he described Peter as a prolific writer and engaging speaker. Students described him as a teacher with an incredible work ethic and supportive personality. Ken McEwan describes Peter as a leading authority in weed management both locally and abroad.
Kim Cooper calls him a friend of the farming community.
Josh Vyn, a former student, had high praise for Peter as a teacher, researcher, and speaker. Josh says that since he returned home to farm, he continues to utilize Peter`s research and expertise as a basis for his farm`s weed management program.
Mark Richards said that Peter is a demanding teacher with high expectations of his students. He also said that Peter was very knowledgeable and taught him integrity. He said that Peter is generous with his time, answering producer questions and mentoring MSc and PhD students.
Dale Cowan says that Peter`s body of work and tireless advocacy for agriculture locally and beyond is unmatched, and yet he has remained approachable, humble, honest, and always provided a full measure of knowledge in his support of agriculture locally and globally.