Celebrating the Life of a Leader in the Wheat Industry
The agriculture industry in Ontario has lost one of its legends. The ‘C’ of C&M Seeds, JD Cameron was one of the founding members of the company and a driving force behind the ‘Red Wheat Revolution’ as C&M Seeds brought varieties of red wheat to the farmers of Ontario for the first time and ultimately changed the landscape of the Ontario wheat industry to what it is today. JD passed away suddenly yet peacefully at Meaford Hospital on Friday, November 23, 2018, in his 77th year.
JD, it seems, was born into the agriculture business. He grew up in Norval working on the family dairy farm. In 1969, JD along with his new wife Faye, and his parents moved from Norval to Harriston to start a beef cattle farm. JD and Faye quickly became involved members of the community. JD joined the Kinsmen club where he was part of many community projects over the years. He also became a dedicated member of the Harriston curling club. Echoes of “hurry hard” can still be heard today.
JD and his father Hartley eventually moved towards a cash-crop farming business. Always a high achiever in all of his endeavours, in 1978, JD and Hartley partnered with the McLaughlin family to establish C&M Seeds. From there, a small family run company grew to become a dominant force in Eastern Canada. JD came into the Ontario wheat industry at a time when there was a need for change and evolution. His overtly colourful personality and undeniable passion for the industry made sure that he was noticed and taken seriously across the Canadian Seed industry. He pushed for new wheat classes and varieties, and forced a new way of thinking into the entire industry, including the government, milling industry and input supply network. JD was an influential voice for change and made Ontario become a unique, and thriving breadbasket for the entire world, growing a diverse mix of wheat classes second to no other area. During this time JD sat on many boards including the CSTA and became the 1st President of the Ontario Red Wheat Industry.
JD would never be one to let his emotions hide. He wore his heart on his sleeve and made sure that people saw his point of view, whether they agreed or not. Last year, C&M seeds launched a wheat variety to pay tribute to one of the business founders. JDC 78, a hard red winter wheat, is a yield leader in Ontario and has a colourful personality, just like its namesake. We are so happy that JD was able to see the variety launched in appreciation of the efforts and changes that he worked so hard to create in the industry. C&M Seeds continues to function with many of the philosophies that JD instilled into the business. The most prominent one – accept and embrace change, and drive forward with innovation.
After his retirement, JD continued to pursue and dedicate himself fully to his numerous interests. He truly enjoyed his time at his cottage, He enjoyed the trips that allowed him to see much of the world, his frequent fishing trips as well as the game of golf (well, he enjoyed golf some of the time… ). But of all of his accomplishments, achievements and hobbies, what he was most proud of, and took the most pleasure in, was his family, who he loved dearly.
Husband and best friend of Faye Cameron for 49 years. Loving and devoted father of Lara and Paul Charlebois, and Lisa and Archie Wilson, all of Harriston. Proud “grampy” to Cameron, Alexandra, Madeleine, Quinn, Ellysse, and Lauren. Anyone who has ever met JD will remember him as a genuine, strong, successful man who worked hard, and played harder, who had a great sense of humour with his big personality and even bigger, most generous heart. He was a good man who lived a good life and who will be missed dearly.
A private funeral service will be held at the Hardy-Lee Funeral Home, Harriston, followed by a Celebration of J.D.’s life will take place at the Royal Canadian Legion, Harriston, on Thursday, November 29th from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Cheers to JD Cameron – The colourful and memorable person who changed an entire industry for the better. Your legacy will live on with C&M Seeds!