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Brenda Simmons is pictured receiving her award with a backdrop of past chairs.
Brenda Simmons is pictured receiving her award with a backdrop of past chairs.

The 2023 PEI Potato Industry Awards Banquet was held Friday, November 24 in Charlottetown and four very deserving members of the industry were recognized at the event.


Ray Keenan was presented with an award for his commitment to the PEI Potato Industry. Ray, with his brother Alvin, operate Rollo Bay Holdings in Rollo Bay, PEI and grow, pack and ship potatoes all over North America. Ray’s work with establishing the United Potato Growers of Canada was highlighted as one of the standout reasons for this award. Ray is a respected, influential member of the potato industry nation-wide.


Andy Walker was also acknowledged for his exceptional contributions to both the PEI Potato Industry and the broader, local agriculture sector. Andy is well known for his role as the former editor of the Island Farmer, which he began in 2000 and continued until retirement earlier this year. Andy earned an esteemed reputation for his steadfast commitment to delivering accurate and informative content to the industry and public.


Brenda Simmons, the former assistant general manager of the PEI Potato Board was recognized as a highly respected member of the industry in PEI, Canada and beyond. Her citation remarked on her thorough work throughout the years, successfully guiding the industry through many good times as well as more challenging ones. She has tremendous agriculture experience, having spent many years at AAFC and more than 25 years at the Potato Board.


Another recently retired Potato Board staff member, Mary Kay Sonier, was also recognized for her considerable contributions to the industry. A highly regarded advisor both in and out of the field for more than 32 years, Mary Kay served as the Board’s seed coordinator, was responsible for the Elite Seed Farm in Fox Island, PEI and was the editor and publisher of the industry’s magazine, PEI Potato News. She was also heralded as playing a key role in the recent potato wart crisis and was mentioned as one of the most knowledgeable people in the country on the subject.


The PEI Potato Board congratulates all recipients of these prestigious honours and thanks everyone for their tremendous contributions to the Prince Edward Island potato industry.


Source:  PEI Potato Board November 27, 2023 news release


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Submitted by Karen Davidson on 27 November 2023