Donald Hudson Conrad was born to Milton Laverl and Emeline Conrad, dryland farmers and ranchers in Taber, Alberta in 1932. Don has an older brother Lloyd. Don’s education for the first 5 grades was in a one room school south of Taber. For the sixth grade, Don went to school in Taber. It was during this grade that the family moved to Minnedosa, Manitoba. Don stayed here until his grade nine year, earning pocked money with a paper route and then setting up pins in the local bowling alley, which the family owned.
Don went to Neepawa, Manitoba for his high school education, working on a local cattle, dairy and grain farm at the same time. It was during this time that Don got involved with agriculture, joining the Circle C Calf Club. The club taught him the basics of judging livestock and got him interested in the finder details of breeding and feeding. While in the club Don and his partner competed provincially and placed second. As Don’s partner exceeded the age limit, he joined the Swine Club at the urging of Neepawa Ag Rep C.G.E. Bates. In 1949 he and his partner represented Manitoba at the Toronto Royal Winter Fair and placed second. During the competitions, Don was elected the first president of the Junior Council of Boys and Girls Clubs in Canada. At the general meeting at which he presided, the 130 provincial delegates approved the resolution that adopted the “4H” name.
Don completed his 12th grade at Brandon College in 1951 and the same year competed as the Manitoba representative for the first T. Eaton Agricultural Scholarship. Although he didn’t win the T. Eaton scholarship, Don was still interested in furthering his education in Agriculture. Encouraged by Ag Rep C.E.G. Bates and a couple of small scholarships, Don enrolled in agriculture at the Fort Garry Campus of the University of Manitoba in 1952. His first two summer vacations were spent in Northern Idaho ranching and logging with his father. Here Don met Myrna Clark, who became his wife in 1955.
Don graduated in 1956 with a degree in Agriculture and a major in Poultry Science. Although Don was offered a position with Agriculture Canada’s poultry division in Regina, he decided to accept an appointment as a research technician at the poultry department of the University of Idaho, in the town of Moscow. For the next two years Don carried out poultry nutrition and management research under Professor Charlie Peterson, took classes, completed a thesis, and graduated with a Master of Science in Poultry Husbandry in 1958. This time Don did accept a job offer from Saskatchewan. He started work as an Agricultural Representative under E.M. Campbell, Saskatchewan’s Poultry Commissioner.
Don arrived in Regina in 1958 with a wife and two children in a 1953 Chev with no place to live. They were fortunate that Ted and May Campbell allowed them to live with them until they were able to find an apartment. Don worked as Ted Campbell’s assistant until 1978 when Ted retired and Don took over as Poultry Commissioner, a job held until the Poultry Branch was abolished in 1985. Don continued to work with Saskatchewan Agriculture as Administrator, Livestock Division, until his retirement in May 1987. While working for Saskatchewan Agriculture, Don was Secretary/Treasurer of the Saskatchewan Poultry Association from 1959 until the formation of the Egg Marketing Board. He also served as Secretary/Treasurer of the Sask Poultry Council for a time. He was also responsible for doing some work with the fur industry during those years. In 1989 Don was coaxed out of retirement to take on the duties of the Secretary/Manager of the Saskatchewan Broiler Hatching Egg Board, a position he held until he retired in 1995. During this same time, the Saskatchewan Poultry Council also needed a Secretary/Treasurer and Don also took on this duty.
Don’s personal life has also been busy. As indicated, he married in 1955, is the father of 7 children and has 14 grandchildren. He has been very active in his church for 40 years, serving in youth programs, genealogy research and the genealogy library. Don remains active today in Scouting and genealogy. During the years Don also had time to serve on the Board of Directors of the Family Service Bureau for 13 years, as well as serving on the Regina Welfare Council.
A quote attributed to Donald Conrad sums up his thoughts of his life in Saskatchewan – “Saskatchewan has been particularly good to me, especially the people of the Saskatchewan poultry industry”.