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Lambton Ag Hall of Fame Inductees: Don and Anne McGugan

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The Lambton Federation of Agriculture Hall of Fame has announced its inductees for 2023.

This is the first in a three-part series of profiles on the inductees.

Don and Anne McGugan

Since the time that they met in Junior Farmers and were married in the early 1960s, Don and Anne McGugan have been inseparable as they farmed, raised a family, and contributed to the agricultural and broader communities. Limitations have never slowed them down and their individual contributions are a smidgen of what they’ve accomplished together. Here are some of the highlights.

Don purchased his first 50 acres in 1960. He and Anne expanded that farm to the current 450 acres dedicated to cash crop production, with an additional 200 acres custom farmed. Innovative cropping practices have always appealed to them as they grow crops of corn, soybeans, wheat, specialty beans, and cover crops. Don has grown identity preserved beans to help supply the international market for over 40 years with Japanese growers having visited the McGugan farm growing conditions and the McGugans visiting Japan to view their processing operations.

Don was one of the earliest proponents of conservation tillage and he planted comparative research plots on his farm to help prove its effectiveness to other crop producers. Research and demonstration plots, as well as farm tours have always been a feature of their farm. Don worked extensively during the early stages of cover crops with red clover on wheat and seeding oats into soybeans by airplane.

Don was a founding partner in CanGrow Crop Solutions, a liquid fertilizer company that was established in 1986 on his farm. CanGrow has developed to be the largest employer in Brooke-Alvinston, as it supplies fertilizer products to producers across Canada and into the USA.

Junior Farmers played a significant role as the beginning of Don and Anne’s contribution to the agricultural community. Don was President of Lambton County Junior Farmers in 1963 and Lambton’s Provincial Director on the Junior Farmers’ Association of Ontario Board for several years while Anne was active on several Junior Farmers’ committees.

In 1973, Don and Anne were host farmers to the International Plowing Match. Based on record attendance of over 150,000 people, it was one of the most popular plowing matches in Ontario’s history.

As the County of Lambton shifted to more and more cash crop production, Don was an active member and held executive positions on three different cropping organizations, Lambton Corn Producers, Wheat Producers, and Soil and Crop Improvement Association.
Don and Anne progressed into substantial involvement with the Lambton and Ontario Federations of Agriculture. Don was President of LFA in their 60th year of operation, 2001-2002.

Don and Anne recognize the importance of rural fairs’ contribution to the fabric of a community so were very involved in the Brooke-Alvinston Agricultural Society as volunteers. Anne was also very active in the Women’s Institute.

Providing a positive influence and sharing skills with young people made 4-H a good fit for Don and Anne. They were both active 4-H members as young people and then acted as 4-H leaders in crops and homemaking for over 20 years.

Lambton Rural Childcare is a group aimed at coordinating childcare for farmers with young families. Don and Anne were directors for many years.

Don was involved for twenty years on the Brooke-Alvinston Municipal Council, sixteen of those as Mayor. He provided leadership to the Council and the community and made a special effort to resolve issues and meet the needs of the citizens. His proudest achievements were infrastructure that benefited the citizens and improved the environment.

Church activities focused on the Brooke-Enniskillen Baptist Church played an important role for Don and Anne. They both provided leadership as Anne was Clerk of the church for 35 years and Don was a Deacon for over 30 years. Both Don and Anne taught Sunday School to young people, acting as a positive influence.

Other substantial commitments and contributions over the years have included Brooke-Alvinston-Inwood Community Centre, Community Policing Association, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Lambton County Children’s Aid and early involvement in the creation of the Central Lambton Family Health Team building.

Don and Anne McGugan are life-long dedicated, innovative and caring community minded individuals well deserving of induction to the Lambton Agricultural Hall of Fame.


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