Vernon McIntyre was born in 1919 in Neepawa, Manitoba and was raised in Kelwood along with his brother and sister. In 1930, the family moved to a farm near Elphinstone. Due to his father’s poor health, Vernon took over the farm duties while still in his teens. Vernon completed his schooling by correspondence.
In 1950 Vernon married Eileen Laycock who was teaching in Elphinstone. Eileen became a strong supporter and partner in the seed farming operation and together they raised three children – Douglas, Bonnie and Beverly. The farm became a “family farm”, as the whole family was involved in the day to day operations.
Vernon contributed to his local community and his industry. He served on the Elphinstone school board for 18 years, 15 of those as chairman. He was secretary of the Manitoba Pool Elevators local board for 38 years, board member of the Presbyterian Church, and served on the rink and picnic committees. In later years, he joined the Lions Club.
Vernon served on the board of the Manitoba Seed Growers Association (MSGA) as director for four years, vice-president for two years and president for two years. He was also a national director of the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association (CSGA) for eight years. In 1969 he received the association’s highest honour, the Robertson Associate Award.
Of the many crops grown for seed production over the years, Vernon’s favourite was his involvement in the foundation production of early varieties of rapeseed, and later, canola. He worked closely with the Federal and Provincial Departments of Agriculture, universities and plant breeders in the propagation of these early varieties. Over the course of his career, he won several awards for quality samples of grain at both local and national levels.
Vernon, a lifelong learner, taught himself plumbing and electrical wiring. He was also an inventor—creating things to increase efficiency around the farm and in the seed plant. Often, farmers would stop by Valley Road Seed Farm (later McIntyre Seeds) and Vernon would generously share his knowledge of crop production. He contributed to publications such as Farm Light & Power and shared his expertise at Foundation Growers Field Days and agricultural extension courses. In semi-retirement years he worked in partnership with his son, and at the end of his career was recognized with a 45 year service award from the MSGA.
Although his primary focus was on farming, Vernon could recite poetry, quote Shakespeare and debate current affairs. He was interested in other cultures and in his retirement enjoyed travelling.
Vernon McIntyre was a man of integrity and accomplishment. A quiet, unassuming man, he earned the respect and admiration of those whose lives he touched.