September 15, 2015
The Scott Duff and Fox Hollow articles in the May issue are good ones to read.

Paul Rapai’s creativity makes me think of “mechanics,” the maintenance individuals on our “grower farms.” These people manufacture implements out of scrap, or make adjustments to tools to ease the workload, or speed up processes. They often seem to be adaptable to the new technology, all the while serving as a key link in their nursery’s daily operational program.

I think that there should be an LO Mechanics Association. They are a breed all their own.

Danny Babineau at V. Kraus fits the bill. He was a proactive participant in the safety program, when I was involved. He kept separate repair logs on farm machinery, stopping any of it in disrepair from leaving the yard. He was constantly reminding drivers to tell him immediately of implement or vehicular problems. No one could use the barn lift truck without passing the operator test and everyone working with the wood chipper understood beforehand how to use it. He was a safety enforcer. He made a diagram of the key electrical shut-off points on the property and marked them with overhead battery-operated lights that would work with a power shut-down.  It was all with a view to safety.

Danny is a Red Seal type for the industry and probably a good example of the key, undervalued cog in the wheel of the provincial nursery industry.  

Continue with the farm innovation stories of the Fox Hollow type by spending more space on the “mechanics” of the industry. Let people know how they help agricultural businesses financially with their innovations and adaptability, and probably now also with their computer savvy in sourcing machine parts, etc. Maybe give their class a boost and the recognition as a trade of their own. Bring them together to network.

I would think that they all have stories that can benefit the wider industry.
Harry A. de Vries