THE ONTARIO AGRICULTURAL Hall of Fame has been honouring the outstanding achievements and contributions made by leaders to the growth and development of Ontario’s agriculture and agri-food industry.
In 2023, 11 individuals will be inducted in a ceremony at the Grandway Events Centre in Elora, Ontario, on June 11, bringing the number of inductees recognized since 1980 to 256.
“Our Board of Directors was overwhelmed by the number of nomination packages received for consideration last year,” says Nick Whyte, president of the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame Association. “This level of interest really shows the importance that the agricultural industry places on recognizing its leaders — both past and present.”
2023 INDUCTEES INCLUDE:
Dale Cowan (1953 – ) is a widely respected leader in Ontario agriculture with a career of over 40 years. A Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) since 1997, he has advised growers of numerous crops, has mentored many new CCAs and has reviewed crop recommendations spanning 275,000 acres. Through his extensive volunteer activities, Dale has become the “go-to” person when it comes to associations and government looking for an agronomist to provide balanced, science-based and practical input. He is known for his exploration of the newest technology and has also been instrumental in the development and promotion of sustainable agronomy and precision farming practices throughout Ontario. Dale Cowan was nominated by the Ontario Certified Crop Advisor Association.
Carleton Mackinnon (Mack) Emiry (1940 – ) is a dairy farmer who has dedicated his life to the advancement of agriculture in Ontario, and his contributions are far-reaching. His greatest passion in agriculture is soil health, and his objective has always been to leave the soil in an improved condition for the following generations. His work as chair of the Land Stewardship Committee evolved into work that led to the development of the Environmental Farm Plan. He has also provided a much-needed voice to many agricultural discussions on behalf of Northern Ontario. Organizations benefiting from his commitment include the Manitoulin West Sudbury Milk Producers’ Association, Ontario Federation of Agriculture, Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association and the provincial Nutrient Management Advisory Committee. Mack Emiry was nominated by the Manitoulin North Shore Federation of Agriculture.
Ray Robertson (1943 – ) has demonstrated great leadership within the agricultural community to help it adapt to changing economic, environmental, and political realities and needs. He has helped to grow an appreciation for the role of forage crops on farms to promote soil health and conservation, was instrumental in forming the Canadian Forage and Grasslands Association and served with the Ontario Forage Council and the Ontario Hay and Forage Cooperative. His contributions have left a permanent impression on the industry. He is committed to working on behalf of farmers and the industry to maintain and build upon programs that are essential for their adoption and continuing success. He has served in leadership roles in programs such as Land Stewardship and the Environmental Farm Plan and developed and sourced funding for programs in Grey County to help farmers adopt conservation methods. Ray Robertson was nominated by the Ontario Soil & Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA).
Doug Wagner (1953 –) has contributed to Ontario’s agriculture and food industry through his work with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, the Ontario Seed Growers’ Association, the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association and Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show. These organizations have endured for many years and continue to grow in strength. Through a number of organizations, he has developed numerous young agricultural leaders, established new programs for educational and networking venues for farmers, and advanced opportunities to showcase innovative technologies to producers, businesspeople and government decision-makers. Described as an “effective people person,” his successful leadership is grounded in his ability to work with staff, volunteers, government bureaucrats, politicians, and clients. Doug Wagner was nominated by inductee Kenneth Knox.
OTHER 2023 INDUCTEES INCLUDE:
- David Biesenthal (1943 – ), veterinarian and beef farmer.
- Dr. Richard Frank (1928 – 2021), co-creator and director of the first pesticide testing lab in Ontario.
- Brian Gilroy (1956 – ), an apple grower near Georgian Bay.
- Peter Gould (1951 –), former general manager of Dairy Farmers of Ontario.
- Carolynne Griffith (1942 –), former chair of Egg Farmers of Ontario.
- Robert James Scott (1900 – 1946), leader of the United Farmers’ Co-operative of Ontario.
- Tarlok Singh Sahota (1953 –), researcher and director, Lakehead University Agricultural Research Station.
Find out more about current and past inductees at www.oahf.on.ca. •