Robert (Bob) Hopley was born at Redvers, Saskatchewan, in 1933. Three years later the Hopley family moved to a farm near Manson, Manitoba. Then in 1946 they moved to a farm at Oak River, Manitoba, where Bob completed his formal education and started farming full time with his father. His agricultural education continued at the Manitoba Department of Agriculture’s Extension Centre in Brandon where he enrolled in numerous short courses such as welding and farm management. Bob and his wife, Lynne (nee Shanks), whom he married in 1964, have two sons (Glen and Allen) and two daughters (Leanne and Susan). The Hopleys farmed at Oak River until 1995 when they sold their operation and retired to Brandon.
At the outset, Bob’s farming operation included a farrow to finish hog enterprise. Later he specialized in crop production and pedigreed seed. In 1992 Bob was awarded a 25-Year Long Service Award by the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association.
Over his farming career, Bob chaired and served on numerous agricultural industry and community boards and committees including the Western Manitoba Farm Business Association, Farm Credit Canada Appeal Board, RM of Blanchard Council, Bank of Montreal Advisory Panel, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Advisory Committee for Food and Agriculture, Western Grain Stabilization Advisory Committee, National Safety Net Committee for the Grains 2000 Project and the National Management Committee for NISA. Bob was also appointed an honorary member of the Manitoba Institute of Agrologists.
Bob originated the concept of the National Income Stabilization Account (NISA). He was asked to chair a task force on his stabilization plan and move it forward to both levels of government, national farm organizations and key stakeholders. NISA became the centrepiece of Canadian agricultural stabilization policy and was supported by all ten provinces. By 2004 over $3.4 billion dollars had been placed in NISA accounts by Canadian farmers and both levels of government. This was the ultimate validation of Bob’s program by the Canadian farming community. The NISA program has evolved over the years, but Bob’s concept is still embedded within Canada’s National Agricultural Policy framework. The Agri-Invest program is NISA’s current reincarnation.
Among his many attributes, Bob, in his quiet manner, continually demonstrates his talents as an exceptional forward thinker and an unwavering passion for agriculture. His contributions have had, and will continue to have, significant beneficial impacts on farm families across Canada.