Family, friends, neighbours and livestock industry colleagues from across Western Canada gathered in Glentworth, Saskatchewan on December 10 to remember the life and times of Boyd Anderson, a respected rancher and leader in the Saskatchewan and Canadian beef cattle industries, who passed away Dec. 1, 2016 in Moose Jaw at age 96.
Anderson, who had started ranching in about 1937 near Fir Mountain, about 170 km southwest of Moose Jaw, is well known as a longtime columnist for the Cattleman’s Corner section of Grainews starting in 1975.
At the regional and national level, Anderson served as president of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (1976-77), the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association (1969-72) and the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (1977-78) and as a chairman of the Saskatchewan Beef Stabilization Board.
Anderson also served as a delegate to the Saskatchewan and Canadian Federations of Agriculture and on several provincial agriculture advisory committees.
Among the accolades Anderson received over a lifetime in the industry were the Centennial Medal (1967); an honourary doctor of laws degree from the University of Saskatchewan; an honorary membership in the Northern International Livestock Hall of Fame; an honour scroll from the Saskatchewan Livestock Board (1984); induction in the Saskatchewan Agricultural Hall of Fame (1987) and the Saskatchewan Order of Merit (1997); and membership in the Order of Canada (1999).
Anderson also wrote three books, Beyond The Range: A History of the Saskatchewan Stock Growers (1988), Grass Roots (1996), and Grass and Grain, a collection of his Grainews columns (2009).
Anderson acquired his first quarter section in the Wood Mountain Uplands at age 17, and by age 20 was an established shortgrass sheep rancher.
He then served with the First Canadian Parachute Battalion during the Second World War, parachuting in June 1944 into France. He was wounded and, days later, captured and spent 10 months in a prison camp in Germany.
“Did we do any good? We were out of action after two days,” Anderson wrote in Grainews in 2012. “However, it is believed by the military and other people that planeloads like ours and others confused the Germans so much that several divisions were held back from the front and thus our bridgehead at Normandy was made secure.”
Returning to southwestern Saskatchewan, Anderson resumed sheep and cattle ranching with his wife Lorene, who passed away in 2007 at age 87. He was elected in 1946 to municipal council for the RM of Waverley, where he served 40 years, including 27 as reeve.
Anderson also ran in two provincial elections and federally as a Tory candidate in the Assiniboia riding in 1972, where he was defeated by NDP MP Bill Knight.
Anderson also served as president of the Fir Mountain Co-op, Fir Mountain Hall board and Glentworth branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, and sat on the Fir Mountain United Church board. In his citation for the Order of Canada, he was also credited for helping to plan and build Waverley Gardens, a community skating and curling rink.
In 2012, Anderson noted his 26 grandchildren and great-grandchildren were living and working “scattered over much of the world,” and noted that “even through the years when I was tied down to the ranch, I travelled when I could and I always wanted to see what was over the next hill.”