As a farm writer, it’s my job to track down the expert on a long list of topics and interview them. These interviews are sometimes very routine — researchers are most certainly always knowledgeable, but not all of them effectively share the heart and soul of their work. That’s perhaps a bit harsh, but it’s true.
Dr. Guy Lafond, however, was not that kind of researcher. Over the last decade, I have interviewed AAFC research scientist Dr. Lafond more times than I can count. Each time, I’d get so wrapped up in the work he was doing, our discussions would invariably stray far outside the topic I had called him about. Many minutes passed the time he had allotted for the call, I’d thank him for filling me in and would hang up thrilled by what I had learned.
Dr. Lafond passed away last Friday. He was 59.
It was Dr. Lafond that taught me all about zero-till benefits and pitfalls, tall vs. short stubble, seed bed microclimates, the impact of wind speed on evapotranspiration and so very much more. In talking with him, you couldn’t help but be fascinated by what he had learned and continued to learn from the long-term zero-till fields he studied. Instrumental in establishing the Indian Head Agricultural Research Foundation, at Indian Head, Sask., Dr. Lafond believed strongly in extension work and spoke the world over about his research of how soil, weather and plants all work together within our modern systems.
It’s quite possible, even probable, that Dr. Lafond wouldn’t even know my name if you had asked him. Though we met only a few times in person and several times on the phone, I, for one, will most certainly remember him and the impact his research has had and will continue to have on western Canadian production.