Jacob John Siemens
Jacob John Siemens, farmer, teacher, farm organizer (b at Altona, Man 23 May 1896; d Winnipeg, 12 July 1963). After attending the Manitoba Normal School, he taught school 1918-29, but then assumed management of the family farm and started to re-organize his liberal Mennonite community. His organizational skills were soon transferred to co-operatives, and he established the Rhineland Consumers Co-operative Ltd, probably Manitoba's first, in 1930 or 1931. He eventually helped promote and establish 32 other co-operatives which he organized into the Federation of Southern Manitoba Co-operatives. Convinced that economic and community stability depended on diversification he promoted new crops, serving as the first president of Co-operative Vegetable Oils Ltd (1946), the first plant in N America to extract oil from sunflower seeds, and as VP of the Manitoba Sugar Beet Growers Association (1947).