William Brian Little
Year of birth: 1946
Inducted in 2020
Origin: Halton Region
Nominated by: Bruce Christie, Ontario Agricultural College, Ontario 4-H Foundation and RBC Royal Bank of Canada
Specialty: Agri-business, Education, Finance
Brian Little has committed decades to serving the agricultural industry and has contributed in three main areas: the promotion of agricultural education, agricultural finance, and major fundraising for the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC), University of Guelph, 4-H and other agriculture related organizations.
Brian’s lasting legacy will be his ongoing contribution to the promotion of agricultural education at the OAC. He was key to the 2012 and 2017 “Planning for Tomorrow” studies which documented the gap between the supply of graduates from agriculture programs and the demand. In 2012, there were three jobs for every graduate and by 2017 there were four. Brian led a major initiative for an expanded OAC student attraction program. Since the studies were instigated by Brian, enrolment in OAC programs grew by 50% and will help ensure the agri-food sector will have sufficient human resources to drive agribusiness growth and development in Ontario in the future.
Brian served in the Royal Bank of Canada’s (RBC) agricultural division for 33 years, becoming RBC’s National Manager of Agriculture and Agribusiness. He developed staff training so that his farm and agribusiness customers were well served. He introduced new product offerings to assist young farmers entering the sector and, most importantly, he emphasized the importance of farm financial education for farm owners. His calm and considered approach was critical to financial stability during the BSE crisis of 2003.
Brian gives endlessly of his time and energy as a dedicated volunteer for more than 40 years. He was the President of the Canadian 4-H Council, Chair of the Canadian 4-H Foundation, and Chair of the Ontario 4-H Foundation which are crucial to the success of 4-H across Ontario and Canada. He also ensured that RBC was an active supporter of agriculture in Ontario and Canada through initiatives like the RBC Interprovincial Exchange and the CFFAE McRorie Scholarship through the RBC Foundation. He served on the OAC Alumni Foundation for more than 20 years.
Brian Little is most deserving of induction into the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame.