Thomas Albert (Bert) Sandercock was born and educated at Morden, Manitoba. He completed his BSA and MSc in Agriculture at the University of Manitoba. In his undergraduate years he worked at the Morden Research Centre where he acquired a keen interest in horticulture. In 1950, Bert married Ella Eriksson. They raised three children: Shelley, Blair and Garth.
After a short stint with the Canadian Forestry Association, Bert moved to Manitoba Agriculture where he served as Agricultural Representative at Selkirk for six years. He then became a Vegetable Specialist and eventually Chief of the Horticultural Division. Bert’s leadership and diplomacy led to the formation of the Manitoba Vegetable Commission. In 1968, he became part of its management team. Bert understood the importance of positive liaison between growers and the trade. As a member of the International Trade and Tariff Committee of the Canadian Horticultural Council, he was responsible for setting seasonal tariffs on fruits and vegetables coming into Western Canada. Bert also served on a committee of the International Joint Commission to review North Dakota’s Garrison Dam proposal.
In the 1960s Bert played an instrumental role in the relocation of the vegetable industry to Portage la Prairie, now recognized as one of Canada’s major vegetable producing regions. Today, Manitoba growers rank as some of the most progressive in the country. Bert’s belief in the future of the vegetable industry resulted in his working with growers to investigate, develop and implement new production, handling and marketing methods. This led to improved production, shelf life quality and net returns to growers. Bert also played a key role in the establishment of a dill oil industry in Morden and a silverskin onion plant in Portage. He was also involved in two other successes: the heat drying of onions and the humidity control in carrots.
Besides being active in the Selkirk community, Bert is a member of the local Kinsmen and golf clubs. He served also as a trustee and chairman of Mapleton School Board and played a major role in the establishment of the Planning Board for St. Andrews and the City of Selkirk. Bert was a leader of the local “Cub Pack.”
Bert was awarded a Life Membership in the Manitoba Institute of Agrologists, an Honourary Life Membership in the Vegetable Growers’ Association of Manitoba and a Fellow of the Agricultural Institute of Canada. He was awarded a Commemorative Medal to celebrate the 125th Anniversary of Confederation for his contribution to community, profession and country.
Manitoba vegetable growers recognize that as a result of Bert Sandercock’s leadership, their industry has achieved a national and international reputation for excellence.