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Don Brubacher, (L), receives the Award of Merit from Shawn Brenn, chair, OFVGA.
Don Brubacher, (L), receives the Award of Merit from Shawn Brenn, chair, OFVGA.
February 23, 2024

Don Brubacher was named the winner of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (OFVGA) 2024 Industry Award of Merit. The retired long-time general manager of the Ontario Potato Board was presented with the award at the annual OFVGA industry banquet in Niagara Falls on February 20.


“As a potato grower and current chair of the Ontario Potato Board, it is a particular honour for me to see Don receive this year’s Industry Award of Merit,” says OFVGA chair Shawn Brenn. “Don devoted his entire working life to the potato industry and was respected by growers for his knowledge, dedication and commitment for working on their behalf to make things better for the industry. He always enjoyed the people this industry brought together and was passionate about the work being done.”


Brubacher grew up on a farm in St. Jacobs where his family was one of the first potato suppliers to Snyder’s Potato Chip Company in Kitchener. In his early 20s, he took a job as a farm hand with one of the Hostess Potato Chips operations in Stayner in hopes of learning innovative farm practices he could take back to his family’s farm business. 


In 1976, after a year on the job, he was promoted to farm manager with responsibility for 900 acres of potatoes and 300 acres of other cash crops. Two years later, as Hostess moved away from growing its own potatoes, Brubacher took over contracting and management of the company’s storage facilities in Hillsdale and Alliston, a role he held for 10 years. It was in this role that he began working closely with growers. 


In 1989, he returned to his farming roots and joined the Ontario Potato Board as a field representative working for and with growers. A decade later, he was promoted to general manager, a job he held until his retirement in 2016. A strong believer in collaboration, he worked closely with OFVGA, Fruit & Vegetable Growers of Canada, Canadian Potato Council and other provincial and national organizations for the betterment of the potato industry. 


In 2023, Brubacher was honoured by Fruit & Vegetable Growers of Canada with the Outstanding Achievement Award for his lifelong dedication and service to the potato industry. 


Source:  Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Growers’ Association February 21, 2024 news release


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Submitted by Karen Davidson on 23 February 2024