Spirtwood man among 2015 Sask. Ag Hall of Fame inductees

By: The Battlefords News-Optimist

Harold Fast of Spiritwood is among five individuals who will be inducted into the Saskatchewan Agricultural Hall of Fame.

Fast along with Jack Braidek, Rigas Karamanos, Murray McGillivray and Wally Nelson were announced as 2015 inductees at the CropSphere conference in Saskatoon this week.

A graduate of the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, Fast moved back to his home at Spiritwood in 1982 where he and his wife Margie started a family-owned business known as Fast Genetics. Through the use of cutting edge technology, it became an internationally recognized high health swine genetics company. Their genetics are incorporated into sow herds throughout Canada, the United States, Mexico and China.Fast’s legacy is a thriving world-class swine genetics company that is a major global player as well as a progressive employer in the Spiritwood region.

Braidek had a distinguished career serving the farmers of Saskatchewan and beyond. As an agricultural representative with the Saskatchewan Department of Agriculture, he sought new ways for farmers to improve their operations. He was the second agrologist on staff for the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool in 1963 when they decided to offer farm supplies and services. In 1978, he joined The Western Producer, serving as the newspaper’s first manager of marketing services and then as manager of agrology services. Braidek passed away in August of 2011.

Whether as a professor of soil science, director of the Saskatchewan Soil Testing Lab or working for companies such as Westco and Viterra, Karamanos has been a tireless researcher and promoter of soil fertility. A champion of soil testing and nutrient management, he has conducted countless research projects on crop nutrition and has communicated his knowledge through publications and hundreds of public meetings across Saskatchewan. Karamanos has also been a valuable resource for industry agronomists, who in turn could pass information to producers.

Viewed as a “senator” of the cattle sector, both industry and government have sought advice and wise counsel from McGillivray over the past few decades. A past president of the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association, McGillivray saw the need for industry involvement and investment in the future of the cattle industry, particularly research. McGillivray has served on numerous committees and boards including the Agri-Food Council during the time that the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association was established.

Over his lifetime, Nelson of Avonlea has been a farmer, farm equipment dealer, and tireless champion for Saskatchewan agriculture and agribusiness. As founding president of the Palliser Wheat Growers Association, which became the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association, he pressed for a more market responsive regulatory environment for the grain industry. Nelson was also instrumental in the building of Weyburn Inland Terminal, the first farmer owned and managed terminal in the province.

The induction ceremony for these five individuals will take place Aug. 1 at Saskatoon’s Western Development Museum, which houses the Saskatchewan Agricultural Hall of Fame. Information on the SAHF and all the past inductees can also be found at www.sahf.ca.

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