RICHMOND – The Ottawa Carleton Plowmen’s Association is celebrating 40 years in 2023. This year, they are hosting a VIP plowing day and plowing coaching day on Fri., Aug 25 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sat., Aug. 26 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. We will be featuring conventional, antique, and horse plowing. Antique tractors and agricultural displays will be on site. There will be a dinner and banquet at the Richmond Legion commencing at 5 p.m.

Bill Tupper brings us back to the planning days of the Richmond match held in 1983 and the creation of their scholarship fund. Ottawa Carleton (now Ottawa) hosted the International Plowing Match and Farm Machinery Show in September, 1983.  In 1978, the Ontario Plowmen’s Association accepted the Ottawa Carleton bid to host the match.  Preston Ralph and his wife Kay were the chairpersons of the organizing committee. Colin Thomson was the director for Ottawa-Carleton on the Ontario Plowmen’s Association.  Together they organized an executive committee and 15 standing committees. When a person was appointed to a committee that person’s husband or wife was also a committee member. Committee members were selected from Arnprior to Vernon.

The Plowing match, which involved about a thousand acres of land, was held in Richmond during five beautiful days in September.  Location, good organization, and excellent weather contributed to record crowds attending. It was the largest event ever held in Ottawa-Carleton. As a plus, the event realized a substantial profit. However, it was more than that. It was a remarkable social event. Committee members from across Ottawa Carleton made life-long friendships. They were proud to have organized the plowing match, and they were even more proud to be a part of an agriculture community which had the vision and talent to seek out and organize such an event.

The proceeds from the Plowing Match were in large part used to create two endowment funds which would provide bursaries and scholarships for students from Ottawa-Carleton who were studying agriculture.  One of the endowment funds was set up at the Kemptville College of Agriculture, the other at the University of Guelph. Shortly after the endowment funds were created the Province of Ontario developed a program to assist students by matching funds obtained by colleges and universities for bursaries and scholarships.  Our endowment funds qualified and doubled in value. The University of Guelph has managed the endowment funds in a very professional manner. Only the earnings from the endowment funds are used to fund the bursaries and scholarships. When the Kemptville College of Agriculture closed in 2014 that endowment fund was transferred to the Ridgetown Campus of the University of Guelph.

Currently three scholarships are awarded annually at the University of Guelph, one in the College of Agriculture, one in the College of Veterinary Medicine and one in the Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition. Students from Ottawa entering second year in the above programs at Guelph are eligible to apply for the 1983 plowing match scholarships. Students from Ottawa enrolled at the Ridgetown Campus who are entering the second year of an Associate Diploma program in agriculture, environment management, horticulture, or veterinary technology are eligible to apply for the scholarships (merit) and bursaries (need).