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Ag society honours Sheldon with Ron Brook Memorial

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Anyone wanting to read Rodger Sheldon’s resumé of his time working in the agricultural industry is going to need to set aside a significant block of time.
The wide ranging contributions of the former Ste. Rose agricultural representative with Manitoba Agriculture were officially recognized by the Dauphin Agricultural Society with the presentation of the Ron Brook Memorial Award during a virtual meeting last week.
“Rodger has been a pillar in that community and in our general community here when it came to agriculture,” DAS member Tere Stykalo said in presenting the award.
“Simply pouring his heart and soul into that business and helping anybody else along that he could. Our Ron Brook Memorial Award is presented to a worthy recipient
“One thing for sure is we have a very worthy recipient today.”
Sheldon graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1971 with a Bachelor of Science and Agriculture degree with an Agribusiness major.
A chance meeting in Winnipeg saw Sheldon move to the Parkland in 1973 to work with Art and Peter Rampton in their newly-constructed dairy farm,
With the exception of one year spent travelling throughout New Zealand, Sheldon has spent his entire life working in the Parkland.
Following a three-year stint as the field representative for the Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation in Roblin, Sheldon was hired as the ag rep for Ste. Rose.
It was there that he learned the importance of being out in the field and working with as many communities, farmers and ranchers as possible.
It was where he also learned that you cannot keep everyone happy, but at the end of the day you can only do the best job possible.
“I’d like to thank the Dauphin Ag Society for presenting me with this award. It is really cherished,” Sheldon said in accepting the award.
“Getting out in the field is a real important part of extension. If you don’t get out into the field, people aren’t going to know you. You’re not going to hear about their operation, you’re not going to know their needs and wants.”
The Ste. Rose Ag Rep District was large, running from Waterhen and Salt Point in the north to Alonsa and Kelwood in the south, the Narrows to the east and Makinak to the west, with a wide range of farm and ranch operations. Every day, Sheldon handled a wide range of agriculture related questions from producers. If he did not know the answers offhand, he quickly found sources.
On top of his regular duties, Sheldon applied for a wide range of provincial and federal funding initiatives to help with additional funds and helped to organize and formalize several producers groups such as the Meadow-Hen Cattlemen’s Co-op, the Lawrence Cattlemen’s Co-op, the Westlake Pasture Association, the Ste. Rose Forage and Grassland Association and the Ste. Rose Ag Rep District Soil Conservation Group.
Sheldon also worked closely with the Alonsa and Turtle River watershed conservation districts and local 4-H groups and was the lead in organizing numerous events such as the Parkland Ranchers Seminar and Crop Days, as well as countless workshops and on-farm demonstrations.
Sheldon, who was presented the Mentor of the Year Award and the Dedication and Determination Award by the Manitoba Agricultural Committee, was made manager of ag reps and home economists in The Pas, Swan River, Roblin, Russell and Ethelbert.
Following a reorganization of the department in 2005, Sheldon stepped back from management to work as a pasture and forage specialist based in Ste. Rose.
“Agriculture extension, for me it was my life and I loved the job and it was never an 8:30 to 4:30 job,” Sheldon said
“And I thank my wife and my family because often times I probably should have been home with them when I was off somewhere doing something else. Without their support none of it would happen.
“Living and working in the Parkland community, we’re all very grateful for having spent a good part of our lives here.”
Sheldon also attributes much of his professional success to office staff he worked with including Yvonne Maguet, Paulette Delaurier, Shelly Moffat Cecile Paradis and Evelyn Bodnar.
“I was kind of a workaholic and they supported me through thick and thin, especially the administrative secretaries,” he said.
Outside of work Sheldon was active in the community serving on several boards such as the recreation commission, general hospital, Ste. Rose Share and Care, the Prevost Foundation and Catholic Church.
Sheldon was also active in the Ste. Rose sports scene as a player and coach in hockey and baseball. In 2016 Sheldon was inducted into the Manitoba Baseball Honours Society.