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Agricultural fieldman Ron Mackay retires to family farm

LAWRENCE GLEASON – GAZETTE CONTRIBUTOR

ron mackay

MD of Willow Creek agricultural fieldman Ron MacKay is retiring. MacKay attended his last Agricultural Service Board meeting Sept. 14.

After 13 years of service with the MD of Willow Creek the agricultural fieldman is going back to his family farm west of Claresholm.
MacKay attended his last Agricultural Service Board meeting on Sept. 14.
“I won’t be bored,” Ron MacKay said. “My son is moving in next door and he has a million projects on the go.”
Reeve Earl Hemmaway said it was a pleasure working with MacKay.
“You are going to be missed, with big shoes to fill,” Hemmaway said. “I thank you on behalf of the Agricultural Service Board for all the work you have done for the MD.”
Chief administrative officer Cynthia Vizzutti wished MacKay health, happiness and a wonderful retirement.
“He has been respected and trusted,” Vizzutti said. “He has had an open doors policy. It has been a pleasure working with you. He will be sorely missed.”
MacKay started working for the municipal district seasonally when he was called in to be offered a full-time job.
“They needed grader operators and a guy for the landfill site,” MacKay recalled. “I didn’t want to do either of those. I really didn’t want to come into town to talk to them, either, but it worked out really well.”
MacKay said the fieldman’s job is full of variety.
“It’s a fun job. You never know what you are going to get into every morning. I’ve liked the diversity of it and the flexibility.”
MacKay was born and raised in the area. The family ranch is just west of Claresholm, purchased by his father in 1921.
It has been an asset for the municipal district that is well established here. His father was born in Claresholm in 1912 and his mother in 1921.
“Dad was raised on a farm by the Willow Creek Colony. They bought our place about 1921.”
At the time MacKay started on the job as agricultural fieldman he was familiar with the names of most of the people in the municipal district.
“When the phone rang I probably knew 60 per cent of the people. I would at least know the name.”
When MacKay hired employees he has liked to have on board those who are familiar with the municipal district.
“We ask, do you know your way around the MD? You can’t really get lost with a load of gravel, you can pretty much drop it anywhere and it would do some good. It is really nice, though, if you drop it in the right spot.”
The project he says he is most pleased about is a water pipeline for the Big Sky Water Co-operative for a steady supply of good water.
“It’s about 70 kilometres of pipe tapping into the Stavely aquifer, and starting a mile and a half south of Stavely. There is a massive underground aquifer there.”
MacKay has been trying to retire for some time. His end date was March 31.
“I’ve been filling in. Carla Preachuk is taking over from me. She was the ag fieldman with the MD of Ranchland before she came to join us.”
MacKay’s plans for retirement are simple.
“I’m just going to farm until the money is all gone.”

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