Wayne Roberts honoured with OFVGA Award of Merit
January 14, 2014 By Press release
January 14, 2014, Niagara Falls, Ont – A former government and industry crop protection specialist has been honoured for his life-long contributions to the Ontario horticulture sector.
Wayne Roberts was posthumously named the recipient of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association (OFVGA) Award of Merit, which was presented at the organization’s annual banquet. Roberts passed away suddenly in 2013.
“Wayne was very well respected in the horticulture industry and spent his entire career working on behalf of growers on any and all matters related to crop protection,” says Ray Duc, chair of the OFVGA. “He was an excellent advocate for growers and managed to interact effectively on their behalf with both regulators and the crop protection companies to help reach common goals.”
Roberts began his career with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, followed by a long tenure with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food as director of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs. In 1996, he accepted a position with the Ontario Tender Fruit Producers Marketing Board and the Grape Growers of Ontario where he directed their IPM system development and efforts related to crop protection. He also provided leadership to the Ontario Apple Growers and Landscape Ontario on research and IPM programming.
Roberts retired in 2010 but continued to serve as an industry consultant until his passing last year. Among his career achievement highlights are:
- Emergency registration for Asian Lady Bird Beetles, which threatened to devastate the processing grape industry
- Leadership to tender fruit growers, the tree fruit nursery industry and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency on the control and eradication of the Plum Pox Virus
- Establishment of the Prunus Certification Program for virus-free budwood in the nursery industry to ensure clean replacement trees that now serves as a model for other such programs, including the grape clean stock nursery stock program.
The OFVGA Award of Merit is presented annually to an individual or an organization that has made outstanding contributions to the fruit and vegetable industry.
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