Spotlight Shines on Excellence in Biological Pest Management

The Association of Natural Biocontrol Producers (ANBP) annually recognizes an individual who has made, or is making, extraordinary contributions to the field of augmentation biological control and its use in integrated pest management. The latest honoree is Richard Ward.

Ward hath ties to agriculture his whole life, having been introduced to it at the age of three on his grandfather’s small sugar plantation on the island of Barbados. He attended the University of Manitoba where he completed a Diploma in General Agriculture.

He returned to Barbados in 1981 where, for the next 11 years, he held various positions in local companies specializing in agricultural inputs to the farming industry, as well as being a grower of hydroponic vegetables primarily for high end restaurants and hotels.

In 1992, he moved to Canada with his family and worked as GM for Canadian HydroGardens Ltd. (CHL), a company specializing in greenhouse hydroponics. It was at that time that bumblebees and beneficial insects were starting to become mainstays in the greenhouse vegetable industry and Canadian HydroGardens became one of the very first distributors of bees and bugs in Canada.

Casey Decker (left), President of ANBP and President of Sierra Biological Inc., presents Richard Ward with the 2021 ANBP Award of Excellence.

In 2000, after eight years at CHL, Richard moved to Biobest Canada Ltd to be Managing Director of its North American operation. While there, he oversaw several expansions of the facility, moving it from primarily producing bumblebees to one that also produced several species of beneficial mites and insects. His work with bees was acknowledged in 2012 by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) when he received their Certificate of Recognition for his contribution in the development of the National Biosecurity Standard for the Bee Industry.

During that time Ward also oversaw the takeover of the operations of Sterling Insectary in California. Additionally, while with Biobest, Richard was also responsible for business development in North, Central, and South America and saw the business develop to the point of needing a production facility in Mexico to support that rapidly growing market. Biobest Mexico was officially opened in November 2009 and has continued to expand each year.

Ward was also responsible for the initial agreement to start up Biobest Argentina a joint venture project, though he left Biobest prior to its actual “brick and mortar” start. Richard left Biobest in mid-2014 with the intent to ease into retirement. However, his expertise quickly attracted recruiters. Ward has been involved in ANBP since early 2000 and was President from 2004 to 2008, serving two terms.

After retiring, he remained on the Board of Directors in an advisory capacity and was invited to one of its meetings in October 2015. Not only was he sucked back into the industry by Beneficial Insectary Inc., one of the larger entirely North American based bug producers, but he was immediately elected President of ANBP again and served a further three years in that capacity. At the end of 2021, Richard decided to semi-retire from Beneficial Insectary and the position he held as Director of Business Development.

He is now Senior Advisor to the Board of Directors for Beneficial Insectary.


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