In 2021, seven agricultural leaders will be inducted into Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame.
Their influences range from general farm organization, beef industry and industry tribunal leadership to agricultural extension, agricultural law and improvements to animal welfare, horticultural and agronomy.
Stan Eby, Roger George, Herbert Norry, Delbert O’Brien, the late Terry O’Connor, Dr. Peter Sikkema and the late Doug Williams have all been selected by the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame Association (OAHF) as worthy candidates based on their life-long contributions to Ontario’s agriculture.
The seven will be recognized in a virtual induction ceremony on June 13, bringing the number of inductees to 240. At the same ceremony, the four inductees from 2020 will be recognized including the late John Curtis, Dianne Harkin, (William) Brian Little and the late (William) Murray Mills. The 2020 ceremony was cancelled due to COVID-19.
To qualify for this recognition, inductees must have demonstrated visionary leadership, innovation, and entrepreneurship as well as leaving a lasting legacy to the advancement of agriculture in Ontario.
The OAHF received more submissions in 2020 than it had received for many years with nomination packages reviewed by the Board of Directors at its December meeting. Dr. Deb Stark, President of OAHF noted, “The caliber of the nominations this year was exceptional. We appreciated the work that had been put into them by their nominating organizations. It was a tough decision to choose the seven but we’re confident that their contributions are worthy and they have all contributed greatly to the industry we’re all so proud of.”
Inductees for 2021 and their nominators include:
Stan Eby (1944 – )
Stan Eby is a forward-thinking beef farmer from Kincardine who led both the Ontario Cattlemen’s Association and the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA). During his tenure, the industry went through two significant upheavals including the Walkerton water crisis and BSE. During Walkerton, Eby, as both a local farmer and industry leader, conducted hundreds of meetings and interviews about the environmental sustainability of the beef industry. With borders closed to Canadian product because of BSE, Eby’s leadership helped CCA develop a plan to reposition the Canadian beef cattle industry which included expansion of processing facilities, development of set aside programs and other work to provide stability to the industry. Eby also made many trips to the USA to work with counterparts on reopening borders to trade.
Stan Eby was nominated by Beef Farmers of Ontario.
Roger George (1946 – )
During his tenure as director and president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), Roger George of Powassan strived to strengthen general farm organizations. One of his most significant achievements was his work with government and other farm leaders to pass stable funding legislation for the major farm organizations. He helped create the Ontario Farm Environmental Coalition which proposed the development of the internationally-recognized Environmental Farm Plan program. He was also the founding Chair of the Agricultural Adaptation Council and supported the development of the Ontario Agricultural Training Institute.
Roger George was nominated by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and OAHF inductee Terry Daynard.
Herbert (Herb) Norry (1924 – )
Herb Norry, was a widely-known and respected agricultural extension specialist and a catalyst for agricultural innovation. He helped to establish 4-H clubs and was a charter member of the Junior Farmers’ Association of Ontario, recognizing the role these organizations had in teaching leadership and communications skills to rural youth. Herb had a 32-year career with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food and was recognized within government and the agricultural community as an expert resource for farm transfers and enterprise analysis. He was a key organizer and presenter at annual farm tax and business seminars; established an advisory review committee for an initiative designed to reduce the amount of phosphorous going from farmland into the Great Lakes basin and helped to develop a course for farm women on accounting, tax filing, insurance and record keeping.
Herb Norry was nominated by OAHF inductee Art Bennett, Jean Bennett and Mary Ellen Norry Car
Delbert O’Brien (1935 –)
Del O’Brian was raised on a mixed farm near Pembroke, earning a law degree from the University of Toronto before returning to Renfrew County and establishing a law firm focusing on agriculture. In 1976, after the passing of the Ontario Drainage Act, O’Brien was asked to establish the Drainage Tribunal which he chaired for 14 years. He was also asked by the Federal and Ontario governments to establish a Tribunal to hear appeals under the new Grape Transition Program. Del O’Brien is known for his legal knowledge, his fairness and for the development of important tribunals marked by stability and integrity.
Delbert O’Brien was nominated by the Renfrew County Federation of Agriculture.
Dr. Arthur Terence (Terry) O’Connor (1932 – 2019)
The late Dr. Terry O’Connor operated a successful veterinary practice in Stouffville for over 25 years, establishing firm credentials as a caring and capable veterinarian. He then became the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food’s regional veterinarian and program manager, helping to make significant contributions to Ontario’s beef and swine industries. He oversaw operations of the Beef Cattle Financial Protection Program and was at the forefront of identifying animal welfare issues at stockyards and sales barns and working to develop acceptable levels of care. He also played a key role in developing safe deadstock disposal alternatives for the swine industry. In volunteer roles, he served many years on the Markham Fair Board, where he worked to connect urban adults and school children to agriculture and, through the York Soil and Crop Improvement Association, sold crops to support the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.
Dr. Terry O’Connor was nominated by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and the York Region Federation of Agriculture.
Dr. Peter Sikkema (1958 –)
Dr. Peter Sikkema has made outstanding contributions to Ontario agriculture as a researcher, teacher and extension agronomist. His research on weed management has impacted many of Ontario’s field crops including corn, soybeans, cereals and edible beans. He is a world leader in the field of surveillance and management of glyphosate and multiple resistant weeds. He has conducted over 3,000 field experiments and has published more peer-reviewed manuscripts on field crop agronomy than any professor in the 146 year history of the Ontario Agricultural College. Through his work, he has made a major impact on the sustainability of crop production in Ontario, Canada, North America and around the globe.
Dr. Peter Sikkema was nominated by Dr. Nader Soltani, University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus.
Doug Williams (1919 – 2019)
Doug Williams was raised on a fruit and vegetable farm in Ottawa South, later joining the fruit and vegetable inspection services in western Ontario with responsibility for the Tomato Grading Inspection Station in Leamington. He was also the Chief Inspector of Farm Products and Director of the Inspection Branch with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food. Williams chaired the Ontario Food Council which, under his leadership, developed and expanded international markets for Ontario produce. His work to develop a “Festival of Food” at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto was the catalyst for the birth of Foodland Ontario. His slogan “Good things grow in Ontario” was copyrighted in 1979 and is still being used to market Ontario fruit and vegetables. He was later chair of the Ontario Food Terminal.
Doug Williams was nominated by OAHF inductee Ken Knox.