More local agricultural pioneers have been inducted into the Kent Agricultural Hall of Fame.
Ron Pitblado is one of four recent hires this year.
“I know Ron will be honored,” said Diane Pitblado, Ron’s wife. “He took great pride in his work, which makes the recognition for his efforts even more meaningful.”
In the year In 1973, Dr. Clay Switzer, then dean of the Ontario College of Agriculture in Ridgetown, recommended that Dr. Pitblado take a position on the Ridgetown campus.
Dr. Pitblado has conducted research on vegetable pest management and taught thousands of students at the Ridgetown campus, sharing his passion for developing insect and disease strategies for fruit and vegetable crops.
Born Sept. 26, 1946, in St. Catharines, the son of Jack and Mabel (Foster) Pitblado, Ron graduated from the University of Guelph.
Pitblado’s joy in developing insect and disease strategies for horticultural crops eventually led him to teach thousands of students and share his knowledge and opportunities to explore the world.
He took the big hit as an opportunity to give agricultural producers and agricultural diploma students meaningful, direct answers to their farming questions.
He said he often found it rewarding to meet students in the classroom and later work with them as Ontario organizers.
Pitblado created BeetCast to help with sugar beet production, TomCast for tomato production, and BeetCast to develop the Ontario Weather Network.
During his research career, his special interest was fungal and bacterial diseases of tomato, Cercospora leaf spot and Rhizoctonia crown in sugar beet, cabbage and pepper insects and diseases, sweet corn rust, European corn weed and potato insect.
His research focuses on pest control research, teaching and extension issues for the horticultural and sugar beet industries, particularly in plant pathology and entomology. In addition, he developed methods for controlling pests of greenhouse vegetables.
Additionally, Dr. Pitblado held several leadership positions during his time at the Ridgetown campus, including Head of Horticulture, Associate Academic Director and Acting Campus Director.
Colleague and former campus director Dr. Art Schaafsma said, Ron’s exceptional 34-year tenure with the Ridgetown campus is unparalleled.
“Ron’s irrepressible passion for exploring new opportunities in agriculture, particularly Ontario’s horticultural industry, informs his extensive teaching, research and extension work,” said Schaafsma.
Dr. Pitblado He retired in 2007 and died in Chatham on November 11, 2009.
The Kent Agricultural Hall has educated 197 members since its inception in 1989. The Hall has inducted 17 other Chatham-Kent agriculturalists into the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame.
“With the honor he’s getting today, it’s really amazing to know that he’s not only made a difference in his family’s life, but he’s made a difference in the lives of so many people,” Diane said.
The hall’s mission is to recognize individuals who have demonstrated selfless achievement in agriculture and/or rural Chatham-Kent.
“I think all of today’s graduates have definitely done that. Thank you so much again for honoring my husband in this way.”
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