NewsIndustryThree Island Potato Industry Leaders Receive National Agriculture Recognition

Three Island Potato Industry Leaders Receive National Agriculture Recognition


On Wednesday, March 6, three individuals from the Prince Edward Island were acknowledged on the national agriculture platform. The annual meetings of the Fruit and Vegetable Growers of Canada (FVGC), formerly known as the Canadian Horticulture Council, took place last week in Ottawa, and the awards were presented at the awards banquet on Wednesday evening.

Brenda Simmons, formerly the Assistant General Manager of the PEI Potato Board, received one of the two Lifetime Achievement Awards. Simmons has made significant contributions within the FVGC, notably within the Canadian Potato Council (CPC). Her extensive involvement as a director of the CPC over many years, along with her tenure as vice-chair, reflects her commitment to the organization. Simmons’s understanding of the agriculture sector has established her as a trusted resource not only in PEI but throughout the nation. Her adeptness in navigating complex challenges and guiding stakeholders through difficult situations exemplifies her exceptional leadership and expertise.

Mary Kay Sonier, former Seed Coordinator for the PEI Potato industry, was honored with the title of Honorary Lifetime Member of FVGC. Sonier’s agricultural expertise has been instrumental in her involvement in various national and international committees and working groups throughout the years. She has been an active participant in the CPC for an extended period, serving as a key member of the Research Working Group, Potatoes Canada, and the Seed Potato Sub-Committee, where she held the position of national Vice-Chair. Additionally, she has contributed to the Seed Certification Section of the Potato Association of America (PAA). Sonier’s advocacy on behalf of seed potato growers has played a significant role in engaging both provincial and federal governments to develop programs, policies, and regulations that foster sustainable growth within the industry.

Alvin Keenan, co-owner of Rollo Bay Holdings in Rollo Bay, PEI, was recognized with one of the prestigious Connery Awards, which honor individuals demonstrating exceptional leadership and advancement of interests within Canada’s Horticulture Industry. Keenan has contributed significantly to the farming community through various roles. Notably, he served as the Atlantic representative and former president of the CHC, where he made substantial progress. Additionally, he held positions as president of the PEI Federation of Agriculture, the PEI Farm Practices Review Board, and was a former Director of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture. Currently, he holds the position of President of the Board of the Grain Elevators Corporation in PEI. Alvin’s mentorship and guidance have been invaluable to individuals in the agriculture sector, not only within PEI but also across the nation and beyond.

Other award recipients included Glen Lucas, Connery Award; Bev Appleby, recognized hard-working staff member of FVGC and Beth Connery, Lifetime Achievement Award., according to a press release. The PEI Potato Board congratulates all recipients of these prestigious, national awards.

Trending This Week

Do Field Trials Matter? Only If We Start With The Right Questions

There are people who are passionate about their projects, and then there are people who take passion for their projects to a whole different...

Introducing… This Year’s Top Innovations!

The potato industry is at an all-time high for innovation. Incredible new technologies and products are being launched across the potato value chain. That’s great...

The Unintended Limits of Organic Farming

I had a conversation some weeks ago that has really stuck with me. The conversation was with Joy Youwakim, an agroecology scientist at Biome...
Grocery store potatoes

U.S. Lawmakers Push to Keep Potatoes Classified as Vegetables

Media reports say the potato could soon be classified as a grain in the United States dietary guidelines. Fourteen U.S. senators have written a letter...
McCain logo

Strong Roots Acquired by McCain Foods

In 2021 a strategic partnership was formed, with McCain investing $55 million USD in Strong Roots. McCain Foods announced they have increased its investment with Strong...