In 1946, after having served his country in World War II as a member of the Royal Canadian Navy, Russell “Russ” Hazzard returned home to Beecher, a small settlement north of Wallaceburg.
He was 23 years old when Harley Bishop, a local businessman approached him about buying his local feed mill business. Russ had no money but Bishop insisted that he didn’t need any money and could pay him when he was able. He agreed and his business career began January 2, 1947.
He met his wife Margaret at the Royal bank in Wallaceburg where he went weekly to deposit his money from his feed mill business. They were married in August of 1947 and the couple raised 12 children together.
Margaret stood by him as a confident partner and joint owner of the business, she looked after the accounting responsibilities for the business.
His son Jim said “all the children born to them were literally raised in the middle of this growing business.”
Russ established Hazzard’s Grain Elevator in 1947 and later became a founding partner of South West Ag Partners Inc.
Hazzards commitment to the customer was the key to the growth experienced by the business over the years. Russ never considered himself a businessman, but rather a farmer from downtown Beecher.
He noted that in a few short years this enterprise grew to include a seed cleaning business, an Allis Chalmers dealership, a CIL Fertilizer dealership, a grain elevator, multiple farm service locations, a joint venture with Cargill and an amalgamation with Kent County Fertilizer.
The business today operates as SouthWest Ag Partners Inc and is one the major farm service companies within the region.
- Bethel Pentecostal Church member, ran the bus ministry and occasionally a preacher
- Missionary in Canada, Sri Lanka and around the world
- Member of Gideon‘s International