For the first time in its 57–year history, inductees to the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame (CAHF) are all women.
A ceremony to formally induct agricultural publisher and consultant, Robynne Anderson, livestock photographer, Patty Jones and Jean Szkotnicki, President of the Canadian Animal Health Institute takes place on Thursday, November 30, 2017 in Calgary, Alberta.
The Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame Association honours and celebrates Canadians for outstanding contributions to the Agriculture and Food Industry and publicizes their achievements in Canada. Portraits of all inductees since 1960 hang in the CAHF Gallery at the National Trade Centre in Toronto, Ontario.
Prior to this year, only five women have been among the 210 inductees into the CAHF. “I am personally thrilled that more Canadian women are being recognized this year for their extraordinary accomplishments in the Canadian agriculture industry,” said Herb McLane, President of the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame Association in a press release. “This year’s three inductees have contributed to the strength and health of our industry from very different perspectives – covering the animal health sector, publishing and consulting, and livestock photography…It is very heartening to be recognizing the outstanding contributions these three women continue to add to the Canadian agricultural industry.”
Robynne Anderson – “Our time has come.”
Robynne Anderson began her career as a legislative assistant to the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office, working on the new Plant Breeder’s Rights Act. Her knowledge of agriculture and experience in government led her back to Manitoba where she created Issues Ink, a consulting and publisher company that produced several business-to-business, agricultural magazines. Robynne now lives in Calgary where she operates Emerging Ag – an agricultural consulting firm.
Anderson knew nothing about her nomination to the CAHF. “When I got the call I was shocked and touched,” she says. “I’m honoured to work with a lot of great people and at a certain level, I’m not sure that I’m particularly the one who should be receiving this honour. When I think about the likes of Cora Hind, I am honoured to be in such company.”
The inductions are a reflection that cultural attitudes to women in agriculture are changing, says Anderson. “I hope this is a foreshadowing of many more women to come because perhaps they haven’t been nominated as much as they should. We need to do a better job about nominating our women leaders and celebrating them and I think the long-term impact women have had in agriculture will begin to become more evident. We have an increasing number of women who are in senior leadership roles inside agribusiness and also inside the association environments that support the underpinnings of agriculture. Globally, we have probably about half and half of women leading international associations versus men so I really do think our time has come.”
Women are an important part of agriculture.
For the past 25 years, Jean Szkotnicki has led the Canadian Animal Health Institute in advocating for Canadian veterinary pharmaceutical companies while balancing the needs of livestock producers. A champion for antimicrobial stewardship, Jean was instrumental in ensuring antimicrobials are used properly as part of a “one health” approach to human and animal antibiotic use in Canada.
“It’s a surprise, and an honour and very humbling to be nominated,” says Szkotnicki. “Some of the people in the Hall of Fame have been my mentors over the years and to be considered in the same league with them is overwhelming. To be recognized for your work is just wonderful.”
Szkotnicki says this year’s all female CAHF inductees sends a clear message that women are an important part of agriculture. “It shows that women are competent, high energy, and collaborative. In the future, there will be just as many women being nominated as there were men as we continue to see more and more women in agriculture recognized for their roles.”
A lifetime serving the Canadian dairy industry.
Patty Jones has spent the last 44 years building her world-renowned, livestock photography business. Her library contains more than 70,000 animals from all breeds. She is the official photographer to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto. Patty also buys, sells and breeds dairy cattle on the family farm, Silvercap Holsteins near Puslinch, Ontario.
In following blog posts, we’ll tell you these amazing women’s stories. They talked to us about their Hall of Fame induction, what led them to their career paths, and their views on the changing role of women in agriculture.
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