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Atlantic Agricultural Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony honors two Faculty of Agriculture alumni

Posted by Stephanie Rogers on October 28, 2015 in Alumni & Friends, News

A former Deputy Minister of Agriculture in Nova Scotia and a Pork producer in New Brunswick, Richard Huggard (Class of ’56) and Stephen Moffett, (Class of ’72) were honored this month as part of the annual induction ceremony of the Atlantic Agricultural Hall of Fame.

Housed at the Faculty of Agriculture on the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus, nominations are received annually from farm and rural organizations, one from each of the four Atlantic Provinces – to be honored at an induction ceremony and reception held during the month of October.

This year, two alumni with a shared passion for the industry and a belief in advocating for others, has earned them the respect of their peers, distinguished careers and a spot in the Atlantic Agricultural Hall of Fame.

Richard (Dick) Huggard - NS

Richard (Dick) Huggard has proven himself an invaluable asset to the agricultural industry in Nova Scotia. Through his decades of leadership and engagement with farmers, industry groups and scientists, Dick has been touted as one of the best ambassadors for Nova Scotian agriculture.

A native of New Brunswick, one of Dick’s greatest qualities is his ability to engage people. His sincerity and interest in others has enabled him to mobilize people for common goals. As an extension worker these trademark characteristics were instrumental in accomplishing change and creating new initiatives, including the first Young Farmers Conference, Farm and Safety Committee and Provincial Farm Women’s Conference. In the 11 years Dick was with Extension Services, he made wholesale improvements to the industry and laid the foundation for the success of today’s producers.

From Extension Services Dick became the Department of Agriculture’s Chief Director of Operations and later the Executive Director of Administration.  Dick was appointed Deputy Minister of Agriculture & Marketing in 1991 where he remained until his retirement in 1994, after 36 years in service to the province.

“To be inducted into the Hall of Fame is a special honor, explained Huggard.  “Over the years I have known and worked with a number of those who are now in the Hall.  When I think of their contributions to the agricultural industry, joining a group like this is very humbling.”

Dick’s development of agricultural organizations continues to benefit the people of the province. As a young man, the 4H program helped Dick develop leadership skills that he built upon during his career. A great supporter of this youth program, Dick helped establish the first provincial 4H Leaders Council and Nova Scotia 4H Show, cornerstones of the provincial 4H program.

“I especially want to thank the 4-H group for nominating me for this honor,” said Huggard.  “I was a 4-H member in my youth and credit 4-H for steering me into agriculture.  Ernie Eagles an Ag rep in Sussex, along with my family influenced me the most to attend NSAC,” he added.  “4-H has been very important to me and it’s a wonderful program for developing young people.  Many of our leaders today have come through this wonderful program.”

During his career, Dick was tireless in his commitment to community and professional organizations. He served as President of the Atlantic Agricultural Hall of Fame, the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame, the Nova Scotia Institute of Agrologists, both the Eastern Branch and Canadian Societies of Animal Science, and the Agricultural Institute of Canada. He also served as Chair of the Canadian Agri-Food Research Council.

For his extensive achievements Dick has been recognized by many organizations. In 1991, he was honored as a Fellow of the Agricultural Institute of Canada, he was named Distinguished Agrologist by the Nova Scotia Institute of Agrologists in 1995 and in 1999 he was recognized as a Distinguished Alum by NSAC. In 2006 he became Dr. Huggard when he received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree, conferred jointly from NSAC and Dalhousie University. Dick has also been recognized by the Women’s Institute of Canada, the Canadian Society of Animal Science and the Canadian Society of Extension.

In retirement Dick continues to support agriculture. He was instrumental in establishing the Class of ’56 Graduate Scholarship at NSAC, supporting students engaged in water related research. He is active in the Cobequid Salmon Association and is Chair of the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition Farm Equipment Museum, which boasts over 2,000 items.

When reflecting on his career Huggard summed it up by saying, “It’s not hard work, it’s a labor of love.”

Stephen Moffett - NB

Stephen Moffett spent his career as not only an outstanding pork producer himself, but as a tireless advocate for his fellow producers. It is his ability to see opportunity and encourage potential that has contributed to his greatest impact.

Born and raised in Sussex, New Brunswick, Stephen had an early introduction to agricultural life. His father raised a few pigs in the backyard, which inspired Stephen’s interest in pork production.

After graduation from NSAC Stephen and his wife Marlene rented a barn in the Sussex area and began raising feeder pigs. Moffett Farms was established and Stephen soon saw an opportunity to expand. He purchased a barn in nearby Penobsquis, where he started a 75 sow farrow to finish operation. Some of his sows were raised for market and others were sold as purebred breeding stock. Stephen expanded again when he recognized the potential of whey from the local cheese plant and built the first computerized liquid feeding system in Canada.

“Marlene and I have raised our family on the farm. Being self-employed has given us the flexibility to work lots of hours and still spend time with our family,” Moffett Explained.  “Farming is not the only way to raise a family but it is one of the better ways. Kids need to be around where people work. I feel being a farm owner has given us opportunities we would not otherwise have had.”

Moffett Farms soon became a leader in pork production through modern technology, a commitment to food safety and the production of a high quality product. The farm grew to 4,500 sows, 90 milking cows, and a few beef cows, complete with its own feed mill. The operation employed over 60 people and Stephen was committed to encouraging the growth and development of his staff, even if that meant leaving the farm.

Stephen has been motivated to develop a sustainable and prosperous hog industry. He has served as Chair of the NB Swine Breeding Stock, NB Pork Producers, NB Hog Marketing Board and NB Pork. He has also served as vice chair of the Canadian Pork Council. While serving as Chair of the Council’s Business Rick Management committee from 2008 to 2010, Stephen advocated for producer aid when the industry was struggling. This $3 million loan package was designed to alleviate the financial burden of rising feed and fuel costs, the dropping Canadian dollar and falling pork prices. Thanks to Stephen’s determination, the program enabled countless farmers to continue operation. He also served on the committee to establish electronic grading, which brought great improvement to the industry.

“Having the chance to work in farm organizations has contributed to personal growth. Working with other farmers to improve conditions for Canadian farmers has in itself been a rewarding experience,” he said. “My advice to young farmers would be to be prepared to work hard. Agriculture is a demanding and very competitive business, more than a way of life. You will need to be innovative and dedicated and be able to adopt and understand technology as It becomes available.”

In 1985, Stephen sat on the committee tasked with developing the Pig Code, its purpose being to establish Canadian industry standards. Stephen provided key leadership in engaging with fellow producers and representing them at the national level. He sat on the code committee again during revisions in 1993 and 2013, advocating for the betterment of the industry. In recognition of his great efforts to improve the industry, Stephen was named Pork Producer of the year by the New Brunswick Hog Marketing Board.

“It was really nice to be recognized by the Hall of Fame committee. Marlene and I have been farming since 1973 and have enjoyed being in agriculture as a profession and as a way of life and also as a place to raise a family. We feel doubly blessed and honored. The award seems to say thanks for some of the things we contributed to the industry and we really appreciate that,” he added.

Other inductees at the October ceremony included Dale Dewar.  Ms. Dewar has committed herself to agricultural education and the youth of Prince Edward Island. From her early days as a 4H member to senior positions in government, Dale’s leadership has left an indelible mark on PEI’s agriculture industry.

Merv Wiseman’s leadership in the agriculture industry has been wide-ranging and influential. His hardworking and innovative ethic has helped transform the provincial fur industry and provided invaluable policy support to his fellow producers in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Complete citatations for all the inductees can be viewed here.