A lifelong commitment to agriculture began for Ron Tolton as a swine breeder, elite seed grower and cattle producer, and continued throughout his influential career with the Meat Packers Council (later the Canadian Meat Council).
Ron Tolton worked throughout his professional career to improve the quality of meat from cattle and pigs for the benefit of producers, processors and consumers. At a very early stage, he recognized pale, soft and exudative (PSE) pork had a genetic component and persuaded producers to seek elimination of the condition through selective breeding. As a member of the Canadian Swine Improvement Advisory Board, he was instrumental in the introduction of a screening test for stress susceptibility for all tested animals.
Actively promoting alliances in provincial and national agricultural associations, Mr. Tolton served the agricultural societies, the seed growers and the livestock producer organizations. Ron Tolton was instrumental in the formation of the Lacombe Meat Research advisory committee, which has become a model for many other federal research station advisory committees. He played an important role in the founding of the Alberta Pork Congress. His enthusiasm for export development inspired the formation of the Canada Beef Export Federation.
Ron Tolton provided outstanding service to the Calgary Stampede, the Canadian Western Agribition, the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame. He was honoured as a Life Member of the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede in 1992.
Mr. Tolton has always understood farm issues and thinking, and brought that understanding to bear in the leadership he provided to the Canadian livestock and meat processing industry. He made certain the western viewpoint was understood nationally and the national viewpoint was understood regionally and locally. A.R. Tolton exemplifies a primary producer and livestock breeder who extended his influence through the agricultural industry outside his own province and who, in his second career, used his wealth of experience to achieve a substantially stronger livestock and meat industry in Canada.