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Ag leaders lost

I know I haven’t the resources or connections to be
aware of everyone involved in the agriculture industry who passes away, but I
have recently been sorry to read about the deaths of three who I have had some
contact with over the years.


none;text-autospace:none">A few weeks ago I was sorry to learn Rob Stenson
founder and CEO of Ag Growth International died, in Winnipeg at the age of 44.
I met Rob back in the mid-90s when I stopped at his company, then, which was
Batco Manufacturing in Swift Current, Sask. 

Rob Stenson.jpg

He and his brother Art and sales
manager Gary Anderson where in the shop and Rob showed me this large capacity
grain auger, as well as a conveyor they had just started marketing. (The above photo I borrowed courtesy of the Winnipeg Free Press). A couple
years later they launched Ag Growth International, which has gone on to become
quite a large company with nine different divisions, which include Batco,
Wheatheart Manufacturing, Westfield Industries, Hi Roller, Union Iron, Twister,
Applegate Livestock Equipment, Mepu, Franklin Enterprises and Tramco.

Also I was sorry to learn recently that Louis Latimer of
Remitall Farms near Bowden, Alberta had died at the age of 87. The Latimers are
a long-time purebred beef operation and as I recall I went to the farm to talk
to them about Shorthorn cattle. (I never thought about it, but Remitall is
LLatimer spelled backwards).

In his obituary it says, “Louis was born February 13, 1923
on the family farm near Bowden, AB. He attended the Nesbit school and at the
same time started his business career by trapping weasels, muskrat and coyotes
until he had enough money to buy a Shorthorn heifer which started a fabulous
career of breeding purebred seedstock in four breeds, Shorthorn, Polled
Hereford, Gelbvieh and Angus. Louis married Jean Winter on December 3, 1945.

Their marriage was a partnership in both love and business.

Louis and Gary Lattimer.jpg

 Together they
raised six children and successfully built the Remitall herd. (The accompanying photo from the Remitall website is of Louis and son Gary).  In 1954, Louis
and his brother Carroll formed a partnership that continued for twenty years.
When they dissolved their partnership in 1976, he formed a partnership with his
two sons, Gary and Bryan. During the period 1960 to 1972 Louis & Jean,
Carroll & Jeannie purchased the John Deere business “GreenLine”
in Olds. Louis was very active in the Olds Agricultural Society, and twice
President. Also with the Calgary Stampede, Canadian Hereford and Shorthorn
Associations. Louis has received numerous awards during the years including:
Hall of Fame at Nile Exhibition 1979 (Billings MT); Canadian Livestock Man of
the Year 1987 (Denver CO); American Shorthorn Association “Builder of the
Breed” (Omaha NB); Canadian Hereford Association Honour Roll 1988; Alberta
Angus Association Breeder of the Year; County of Mountain View Family Farm
Award. Honoured as a Pioneer by the Beef Improvement Federation on July 3, 2008.
The Remitall name and its bloodlines are known worldwide and have made great
contributions to the cattle industry. Louis strongly believed in his family and
attended many 4-H shows, Junior Livestock shows, hockey, soccer games and many
other events to show his support. He was always willing to share his knowledge
of life with both his family and friends.”

And most recently I was sorry to learn of the passing of Gus
Gustavson in Calgary, AB. He was 82. I am not sure of his ag industry
background, but back in the early to mid-90s I did an interview with Gus on a
new concept he had called Growth Stage. He came to my office for the interview,
which I remember. Since I work at home, very few people come to the house.

Gus Gustavson1.jpg

Gus came to explain this service he’d developed where you could use the seeding
date, heat units and other factors to determine the actual growth stage of a
crop. Say, for example, it was a cold spring. Using this system you could
determine the actual stage of crop growth, regardless of how the plants appeared
visually, and determine the correct timing for applying herbicides. The Growth
Stage service was eventually sold to a company called AgCall and I know for a
while it was used by farm supply companies and ag chemical dealers as a service
available to customers. It could also help these dealers plan their obituary didn’t refer to his career, but it did tell us
Gus was very partial to ice cream, coffee, peanuts
and nanaimo bars. There was a time when he also enjoyed White Owl cigars and
rye and water. He loved dogs, getting up early and wearing shorts.”


Hart is a field editor for Grainews in Calgary, Contact him at 403-592-1964 or
by email at
[email protected]








About the author

Field Editor

Lee Hart

Lee Hart is editor of Cattleman’s Corner based in Calgary.



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