Lakeland provided strong foundation for alumnus< More Stories
“I went back to college just after I graduated for some reason and Mr. Baranyk told me he had a job for me,” recalls Lefsrud. “In a roundabout way he put me into the world of the seed business, certainly agriculture. He was the one who pointed me in the right direction and I needed some discipline in my life and that position gave it to me.”
More than 50 years after his own convocation, Lefsrud received the Distinguished Alumni award for the Vermilion campus on June 3 and was inducted onto the college’s Alumni Wall of Distinction.
Lefsrud started his career working as a seed inspector with Agriculture Canada for two years before purchasing the family farm near Viking. For almost 50 years, Lefsrud and his wife Ellen have worked together to expand their farm to 5,000 acres and several companies, including Lefsrud Seed and Processors Ltd., and 6 King Genetics.
As an accredited seed grower, Lefsrud provides clean certified seed to farmers and companies across Alberta, across Canada and even around the world.
For more than 30 years, Lefsrud has dedicated his time to the Alberta and Canadian Seed Growers’ Associations and he has held several roles on these boards including the presidency for both the Alberta Seed Growers’ Association and the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association. For his significant and dedicated service, Lefsrud has received several awards including the Canadian Seed Growers’ Robertson Associate Award, the Long Service Award and the Outstanding Service Award.
“I always wanted to be in farming,” says Lefsrud, who’s also a licensed pilot. “I kind of adored my father and he was pretty good at farming so I just followed in his footsteps somewhat.”
From 4-H to the local Lions Club, Lefsrud is a committed volunteer for numerous organizations. Lefsrud Seed and Processors donates to fundraisers and supports research for the development of a new oilseed pea product and has sponsored youth to attend leadership courses. He’s also a proud member of Lakeland College’s Alumni Association.
In 2003, the Lefsrud family farm became a century farm, with Lefsrud’s son, Kevin, being the fourth generation farmer in the family to work the land. As an active member of the farming community, Lefsrud continues to share and teach the value of agriculture.
“I believe that being a farmer and a seed grower has truly allowed me to contribute to my community. I believe in seeing the next generation of farmers develop and grow into this honourable profession,” says Lefsrud. “That’s what we’re doing – feeding the world with the best knowledge, best education and best product that we can.”
Photo: Top, Georgina Altman, vice president of advancement, presented Edmund Lefsrud with a commemorative plaque in honour of being chosen as the 2016 Distinguished Alumni (Vermilion campus). Lefsrud was inducted onto the college's Alumni Wall of Distinction. In his address to the graduates, Lefsrud said: "What you know is worth a lot; who you know is worth more. Join you alumni family." Bottom, Lefsrud's Class of '65 yearbook photo.