Douglas Stirling's diligence and dedication to seed certification in his 35 years with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency have enabled Ontario and Canadian seed growers to retain their share of a "rapidly changing, very competitive global seed market."
Mr. Stirling has had the benefit of a dual perspective. He was not only in a position to shape and change policy during his career, but he has been a practical farmer and seed grower at R. R. 1, Morpeth, with his brother, Bryan, and his parents.
On the one hand, he has been able to see the results of the policies he has framed. At the same time, he has "not been afraid to speak out if a proposed policy or procedure was not realistic, or would have a negative impact on producers."
He retired in 2009, but the results of his work continue to be enjoyed, and valued by farmers.
Mr. Stirling was born on November 28th, 1953, the son of Grace and Murray Stirling and got his early education at the one-room New Scotland Public School and at Ridgetown District High School. He graduated from the Ontario Agricultural College, University of Guelph in 1976 with an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture. Throughout his career, he continued to take courses to enhance his understanding of the complexities of seed production today.
His talents and education were first put to work at Agriculture Canada, which later became the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, regulating the Seeds Act, Pesticides, Fertilizer and Animal and Plant Health. During his 35 years of service, he developed Ontario and Canada programs and polices of inestimable value to farmers.
He worked, successfully, with both Agricultural companies and growers, and has won the respect of both. The people he has been associated with during his career are keenly aware of what he has achieved. Stan Brien, an associate for 27 years, said he has made "a huge contribution to agriculture in Southwest Ontario and in Canada. He has been respected, well-known and well liked by all who were in contact with him."
Michael Scheffel, National Manager of the Seed Section of the Field Crops Division of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, said that Mr. Stirling was often asked to contribute to seed policy development and technical help during his career. He provided extensive guidance on labelling and sealing of pedigreed seed for both the domestic and world markets, ensuring that they measured up to the highest standards and requirements.
Mr. Stirling was on the team responsible for developing the private seed corn inspection program, for the Organization for Economic Development Seed Schemes experiment on authorized crop inspection.
Dale Adolphe, Executive Director of The Canadian Seed Growers Association, said that the economic impact of Mr. Stirling's contributions to the CFIA Seed Program, especially to the difficult and challenging hybrid corn and soybean programs, would be hard to estimate. That Association endorsed Mr. Stirling's nomination.
He was a major contributor to the Certification program for pedigreed seed crop inspectors, setting a nation-wide standard.
Mr. Stirling has been an active Board Member at Emmanuel Congregational Church.
Mr. Stirling enjoys going to auction sales, to augment his collection of Massey Ferguson tractors.