Byron E. Beeler

Byron Beeler accumulated a broad range of work experience in agriculture. Having begun in horticulture, he made his career through field crops, seed production and sales, pesticides and crop protection, and finally animal health. He used his knowledge, energy and contacts to lead, educate, and stimulate others to bring important change and improvement to his industry.

Byron was born and educated in Nova Scotia, finally at NSAC. He moved to McGill for a B.Sc. (Agr), then to O.A.C. for a M.Sc.(Agr). He began his working career as a horticultural crop specialist for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture in Picton, taking time to do an early morning radio show for his farmers. His ability to express ideas clearly and simply made it easy for him to move into mentoring and leading in 4-H, beginning a relationship with that organization which continued at higher levels throughout his career.
His government service continued in Vineland and then as director of Soils & Crops for the province, where his growing interest in seed production and breeding persuaded him to move to the private sector with Stewart Seeds. Again, his leadership talent led him to become active in the Canadian Seed Trade Association, and a strong advocate of Plant Breeders Rights. His vision and leadership led to the eventual passage of that Act in 1990.

When Stewart Seeds was merged with Funk’s by Ciba-Geigy, Byron moved on up in the corporate world from sales and marketing at Stewart, through general manager at Ciba-Geigy Seed Division, to vice-president at Ciba-Geigy Agricultural Division, and finally president of Novartis Animal Health Inc. when Ciba-Geigy merged with Sandoz. At each step of his career he was active and recognized for vigorous support of industry organizations as a volunteer: President of the Ontario Institute of Agrologists; committee chair in the Canadian Agricultural Chemicals Association; president of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair; member of the Dean’s Advisory Council of OAC, OVC, and Macdonald College; and even after retirement, chair of the Equine Guelph Advisory Council.
It is not surprising that Byron Beeler has been recognized by many of the organizations for which he volunteered. Beyond them, however, he is an Honorary Companion of the University of Guelph, an Honorary Life Member of the Canadian Animal Health Institute, a Fellow of the Agricultural Institute of Canada, and a winner of the Novartis World Wide Business Excellence Award in 1997, and many others.

Nominated By:
  • Syngenta Crop Protection Canada Inc.