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Ag hall calls local leaders

Brandon’s Ron Helwer is part of a five-member class being inducted into the Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame for 2014. Helwer has owned and operated Shur-Gro Farm Services since 1968.

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Brandon’s Ron Helwer is part of a five-member class being inducted into the Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame for 2014. Helwer has owned and operated Shur-Gro Farm Services since 1968. (SUBMITTED)

Two Westman leaders in agriculture have made the grade and been inducted into the Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame.

Brandon’s Ron Helwer and Minnedosa’s Bob McNabb are part of the five-member class being inducted into the hall in 2014.

"I was shocked and surprised when I found out," said Helwer, who was raised on a farm. "I am very honoured and I really owe a lot of thanks to a lot of people."

Since 1968, Helwer has owned and operated Shur-Gro Farm Services in Brandon. In the decades that followed, he purchased Munro Farm Supplies and Can-Pro Equipment.

He credits much of his early success with a desire to work in agriculture and good timing.

"There were people that wanted out of the fertilizer business," Helwer said about the late 1960s, when fertilizer price and usage dropped substantially.

"I was looking to grow the business and I happened to be in the right place at the right time."

Shur-Gro is one of the most respected agricultural companies in the area, with soil samples that date back more than five decades.

"The great interest has always been assisting farmers and growers in doing something better than they are presently doing," he said. "We’re a small company in a field of very large companies so we have to work really hard to keep our place."

McNabb, who owns and operates a 1,000-acre farm near Minnedosa, has been at the cutting edge of innovation for decades.

He was one of the first producers to adopt zero-tillage farming more than 35 years ago.

More recently, he moved from strictly zero till to a rotation of grasses for custom grazing to determine what nutrients would be contributed to the soil.

He has been recognized with several awards for his work in soil conservation, including the L.B Thomson Conservation Award and the Little Saskatchewan River Conservation District Farm Family of the Year Award.

» ctweed@brandonsun.com

» Twitter: @CharlesTweed

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition April 11, 2014

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Two Westman leaders in agriculture have made the grade and been inducted into the Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame.

Brandon’s Ron Helwer and Minnedosa’s Bob McNabb are part of the five-member class being inducted into the hall in 2014.

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Two Westman leaders in agriculture have made the grade and been inducted into the Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame.

Brandon’s Ron Helwer and Minnedosa’s Bob McNabb are part of the five-member class being inducted into the hall in 2014.

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