Memorable Manitobans: Edward Arnold “Ted” Poyser (1927-2020)
Born on the family farm near Austin on 6 June 1927, son of farmer Trevor Poyser (1884-1961) and teacher Miranda Orillia Gutzke (1892-1981), he attended Emmeline School, Austin High School, and University of Manitoba, graduating from the latter with a BScAg degree (1948) and a MSc degree in Soil Science (1950).
He began working for the Manitoba Soil Survey then, from 1957 to 1961, he was a Soils Specialist with the Manitoba Department of Agriculture, where he was instrumental in the founding of the Whitemud Watershed Conservation District (today the Whiteshed Watershed District). He also helped to develop the land productivity ratings that became the basis for the Manitoba Crop Insurance Program. He served as the President of the Manitoba Soil Science Society (1957-1958).
In the early 1960s, he was appointed the provincial coordinator for Agriculture and Rural Development Act (ARDA) programs and, in 1967, the ARDA-FRED (Fund for Rural Economic Development) coordinator. He helped to organize the major drainage systems across southern Manitoba, and worked to establish the Oak Hammock Marsh, Spruce Woods, Assessippi, Bird's Hill, and other provincial parks and wildlife management areas.
After retirement in 1981, he promoted a new soil conservation initiative called Prairie CARE that was adopted and embraced by Ducks Unlimited Canada. He served as Chair of the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation (1989-2001). In recognition of his community service, he was inducted into the Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame (2005) and the Sight Hill Unit within the Whitemud Watershed Wildlife Management Area was renamed the Edward A. Poyser Unit (2016). He received the Canadian Confederation Medal (1967) and Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012). He was given the Conservation Builder Award by the Manitoba Conservation Districts Association, elected a Distinguished Agrologist by the Manitoba Institute of Agrologists, and elected a Fellow of the Agricultural Institute of Canada.
In 1956, he married Alice Shewman and they had two children.
He died at Winnipeg on 21 November 2020. He is commemorated by the Edward A. Poyser Wildlife Management Area.
Obituary [Trevor Poyser], MacGregor Herald, 9 November 1961, page 3.
“Manitoba renames units of Wildlife Management Area to honour Edward A. ‘Ted’ Poyser,” Manitoba News Release, 21 December 2016.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 28 November 2020.
Edward A. (Ted) Poyser, Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame.
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 9 July 2021