By Trevor Terfloth, Chatham Daily News
Dave Baute founded Maizex Seeds 30 years ago with his wife Brenda. He is the Chatham-Kent Chamber of Commerce’s Agriculturist of the Year.
The founder of Tilbury-based Maizex Seeds will be honoured as agriculturist of the year at the upcoming Rural Urban Dinner.
Dave Baute and his wife Brenda started the company more than 30 years ago, eventually becoming the largest Canadian-owned seed corn company.
“I’m pretty pleased. I’m very surprised to have been nominated,” he said Thursday. “It’s been a humbling few days since I’ve found out.”
The Rural Urban Dinner, organized by the Chatham-Kent Kent Chamber of Commerce, takes place Nov. 23 at the John D. Bradley Convention Centre.
Two years ago, Maizex added 8,200 square feet to its finished goods warehouse, increased ear corn drying capacity by 25 per cent, and more than doubled its harvest capacity to meet the growing demand for their seed.
Baute said he was accepting the honour on behalf of his team and mentors over the years.
“This isn’t a one-man deal,” he said. “This is 30 years of hard work by a bunch of people … Every jurisdiction where there’s corn we have a presence. We continue to bolster our staff.”
There will also be presentations for 4-H members of the year, agriculture innovator of the year, and friend of agriculture.
Baute said the dinner plays a key role in fostering understanding between rural and urban centres.
“Never before has it been more important to have that dialogue between growers, primary producers and the general public, our consumers,” he said. “It’s a nice symbiotic thing that happens here in Chatham-Kent.”
Nicole Vanrabaeys will be the featured guest speaker. She grew up on a Thamesville cattle farm and went to the University of Windsor, where she received a degree in political science and journalism.
She also created a documentary highlighting the life of a farmer and now works full-time on the farm.
The reception is at 5:30 p.m., while the dinner starts at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets are $43. For more information, contact the chamber at 519-354-7540, ext. 21, or firstname.lastname@example.org