A pioneer in Norfolk County agriculture, Raymond E. Anderson spent most of his life championing innovation, policy and farmer rights. Born in Bealton on July 7, 1891, Raymond’s first agricultural endeavor started at age ten when he established a crop of 200 wild strawberry plants on the family farm. By the age of fifteen, after seeing first-hand the limitations of individual farmers peddling their own berries, he understood and recognized the importance of
centralized marketing. This would become a key motivator, helping to formulate more productive and co-operative ways for small and large farm operations to prosper.
Raymond first started growing strawberries commercially in 1923. It was during this period that he began taking on leadership roles, first becoming president and then manager of the Townsend Co-operative in Waterford. While with the co-op, he promoted advancements in proper handling and storage of berries and was instrumental in establishing its cold storage system.
By the early 1930’s, Raymond had helped to create the Norfolk Berry Grower’s Association and subsequently became active in the formation of the Ontario Berry Growers’ Marketing Board. Through his leadership, the board was able to establish and set minimum prices for the sale of berries within the province.
1923 was a big year for Raymond, besides entering into the strawberry market commercially, he officially registered his Reaford Herd of purebred black and white Holsteins which he had established in 1916. This was one of the first black and white Holstein farms in Norfolk County and an early herd within Canada. The dairy farm is still in operation today, being farmed by Raymond’s grandson Gerald Anderson and his great-grandson, Wade Anderson. Raymond’s legacy will be officially recognized with a Century of Holstein Award from Holstein Canada in 2023 – the first in Norfolk County to receive such accolades.
With a prosperous dairy, Raymond once again took the lead on promoting the benefits of cooperative enterprises and, in 1944, helped to form the Villa Nova Milk Co-op. This would become a model milk factory, having considerable buy-in and an important economic driver for many dairy farms within and outside of Norfolk County.
Politics, both locally and nationally, formed a significant part of Raymond’s contributions to the industry. He was elected a Norfolk County Councillor and, in 1949, was elected to parliament as a Liberal MP serving two terms. As MP, he became responsible for formulating policies pertaining to Farm Marketing Boards, a legacy still felt today. He also sat on the standing committee of Agriculture and Colonization to advocate for farmers, making sure they received a
just share for their products.
Agricultural interests and community leadership remained a constant throughout his life. During the Great Depression, he selflessly supported those in need and during the Second World War involved himself in the instrumental farming war effort and the Farmerette program. He was a founding member of the Villa Nova Farmers Club, was active with the Waterford Lions Club, the Masonic Lodge 113 A.F. and A.M. and a faithful member of the Villa Nova Baptist Church.
Click through the gallery below for photographs of 2022 Agricultural Hall of Fame inductee Raymond E. Anderson