Starting his first hatchery at age 15 on his parent’s farm in Galt, Don Shaver developed an international poultry business with research and hatcheries in the United States, France and the United Kingdom.
He passed away last year, two weeks from his 98th birthday, but Shaver’s legacy will live on with the recently announced Egg Farmers of Ontario/Dr. Donald Shaver Graduate Scholarships in Sustainable Poultry Production.
The scholarships will be granted annually to graduate students at the University of Guelph “conducting research on sustainable poultry production with a focus on current and emerging issues related to feed or production efficiency, egg quality and safety,” a media release said.
With two honorary doctoral degrees, Shaver was once University of Guelph’s entrepreneur-in-residence.
Rene Van Acker, dean of the Ontario Agricultural College at University of Guelph, said Shaver was a visionary in the Canadian and international poultry industries.
“Supporting the next generation of industry leaders, focused on sustainable production, is a perfect way to honour Dr. Shaver’s contributions,” Van Acker said in the release.
Funding for the 10-year commitment, totalling up to $58,000 annually, will be established at the University of Guelph, made up of $500,000 from the Egg Farmers of Ontario (EFO) and $80,000 from the estate of Shaver, in recognition of his significant contributions and leadership in the Canadian poultry sector.
Matching funding from other sources is traditionally sought to multiply the research efforts.
“Egg Farmers of Ontario wanted to recognize the immense impact Dr. Shaver made to the development of layer genetics that has meant so much to the livelihoods of Ontario’s egg and pullet farm families,” said Scott Graham, chair of EFO.
“We felt the best way to recognize his legacy would be to connect it to sustainability issues which had become Dr. Shaver’s focus in his later years as he dedicated his efforts to raise awareness on the challenges of feeding a growing world population in the context of climate change and disappearing agricultural land.”
Donald Shaver Jr. said his father believed that academic excellence should be supported and encouraged.
“This initiative and the scholarship awards put his beliefs into action,” Shaver Jr. said.