FarmTech Conference

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Craig Shaw of Lacombe Receives the 2016 FarmTech Award

Congratulations to Craig Shaw of Lacombe, Alberta – the 2016 recipient of the FarmTech Award for his outstanding contributions to the cropping industry in Alberta.

Craig was recognized on Wednesday, January 27 during the FarmTech Conference. Below is the text of the announcement made by FarmTech committee member Rick Taillieu.

Craig Shaw accepts the FarmTech Award (photo courtesy of Gary Stanford)

Craig Shaw accepts the FarmTech Award (photo courtesy of Gary Stanford)

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, my name is Rick Taillieu and tonight it is my honour, on behalf of the FarmTech Foundation, to present the FarmTech Award in recognition of an outstanding contribution to Alberta’s cropping industry.

The FarmTech award was introduced in 2006, and until tonight, only one farmer has received the award. That was the late Sulo Luoma in 2008 for whom the FarmTech Scholarship is named after.

At FarmTech we know that each and every year thousands of farmers across the province do outstanding things. You grow our food, you lead Alberta’s rural communities, and you inspire and amaze each and every one of us who has the privilege of working with you and for you.

So tonight, I am truly thrilled to present the FarmTech award to one of Alberta’s most innovative farmers…

Mr. Craig Shaw of Lacombe, Alberta


Many of you know Craig. You may have attended his annual farm tour, you may have heard him presenting at a meeting or conference, or you have probably read about him in farm media.

For as long as I have known Craig, there has always been two things that stood out when it comes to his approach to farming:

  1. If it is something new – Craig is probably one of the first farmers to try itand
  2. Once he is doing something, he is incredibly willing to share what he is learning, both the good and the bad, with his fellow farmers and the entire research and extension community

It is those things that make him such a deserving recipient of this honour.

When I first met Craig, he was already an experienced pulse grower – back when pulses were new and weren’t much fun to grow. But there was Craig, involved with the Alberta Pulse Growers, helping grow the industry and helping other farmers to grow the crop by sharing his experiences.

Then came direct seeding, where I got to know Craig through his involvement in the Rainy Creek Soil Conservation Club. This club of direct seeders met every month– a group determined to make direct seeding work, when at the time, not many believed it could be done in Central Alberta. But there was Craig – experimenting, learning, sharing his knowledge and challenging farmers and researchers alike to think differently.

Direct seeding lead to Craig growing winter wheat. Winter wheat wasn’t just a good fit in Craig’s rotation – it was a perfect fit for him – because it was new, exciting and different. So there was Craig, a core grower of winter wheat –  both on his farm, and growing the industry as a director on the Alberta Winter Wheat Commission.

The list goes on – with Craig being among the first to experiment with or adopt early seeded canola, variable rate technology, aerial photography, controlled traffic farming and precision planters to name just a few.

Craig was also an active member of the FarmTech planning committee, and naturally that too was when FarmTech was new. Craig had a vision for something big, and he played a major role in getting this event rolling.

photo courtesy of Mike Sulzle

photo courtesy of Mike Sulzle

I reached out to three past recipients of the FarmTech award and asked them to share a few words about Craig.

Barry Bishop from Ducks Unlimited says:

Craig is a very fitting recipient for the FarmTech award – he has always been a strong advocate of producer collaboration. Craig became the model for the “farmers training farmers” approach.

Peter Gamache who was the program manager for Reduced Tillage Linkages writes:

Craig was very willing to take risks and share his time, land, ideas and experiments with farmers, agronomists and researchers. Craig is a great person and a gifted farmer. He knows how to build teams. He has a view of the bigger picture beyond the farm gate. His contributions to agriculture in western Canada are beyond what we can measure.

And finally this from Dr. George Clayton, who recently retired from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Craig had a profound impact on my career at AAFC and the research I did after arriving in Lacombe in 1996.  Craig was a thinker, a curious thinker, the best kind.  He asked a lot of questions and sought to find answers. 

He was critical to advancing the concept of Integrated Crop Management.  Craig is generous with his time spent on producer organizations and ACIDF where the benefits affect everyone involved in the agriculture industry. 

Beyond Craig advancing the ideas of agronomy, he is an exceptional human being.  I am sure that those who have crossed paths with Craig understand the impact he has had on many lives beyond agriculture’s doorstep.  His civility, humility and compassion, particularly under pressure,  are traits we should all strive for.

Ladies and gentlemen please help me welcome to the stage, this years FarmTech award recipient Mr. Craig Shaw.


listing of previous FarmTech Award winners