Memorable Manitobans: Yoshikazu “Joe” Tsukamoto (1925-2005)
Agriculturalist, civil servant.
Born at New Westminster, British Columbia on 12 September 1925, he attended school in Japan, graduating from Nagahama Agricultural School. Returning to Canada in 1941, he spent the war years working in sugar beet fields of southern Alberta. Following the war, he attended the Olds School of Agriculture and Home Economics, graduating in 1949. He later attended McGill University where he received BSc (1954) and MSc (1962) degrees in Agriculture.
His career with Agriculture Canada commenced as a summer assistant at the Research Stations at Lacombe, Alberta and Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories. From 1954 to 1966 he was employed at the Whitehorse Experimental Farm, Yukon, where he became Canada’s first agricultural research scientist in the North. With his expertise in agronomy and horticulture, he participated in research and development projects specifically for northern latitudes. From 1967 to 1991 he was employed by Manitoba Department of Agriculture as an Agronomist at Brandon. As a crops specialist, he promoted the production of special crops such as sunflowers, fababeans, soybeans, buckwheat, lentils, peas, and beans. A result was the introduction of many alternative crops into Manitoba’s agricultural economy.
After retirement in 1991, he was employed by the Bangladesh-Canada-Netherlands Crop Diversification Programme in Dhaka, Bangladesh. As pulse crops team leader, he contributed to efforts to increase production of high-protein crops. On his return to Canada, he acted as a consultant on buckwheat production for Japan and a volunteer advisor on projects for the Canada-Ukraine Program in Ukraine and for Canadian Executive Services Overseas (CESO) in Russia and China.
He was made a Fellow of the Agricultural Institute of Canada, and was given Honourary Life Memberships in the Manitoba and Canadian Seed Growers’ Associations, the Outstanding Extension Award from the Canadian Society of Agronomy, and the Distinguished Agrologist Award from the Manitoba Institute of Agrologists. In 2007, he was inducted posthumously into the Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame.
He died at Brandon on 10 November 2005. He was survived by a wife and a daughter.
Citation, Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame.
Obituary, Brandon Sun, 14 November 2005, page 14.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 11 November 2022