Stratford Perth Museum Agricultural Wall of Fame

2020 Inductees

Bert Vorstenbosch

The Stratford Perth Museum Agriculture Wall of Fame committee has chosen Mitchell-area farmer and Perth County driving force Bert Vorstenbosch as its 2020 honouree.

If you live or work in Perth County and are connected to agriculture in anyway, you probably know Bert. If you volunteered at any one of the three International Plowing Matches hosted in Perth County since 1998, you will definitely know Bert.

Bert and his family have farmed in Perth County for 56 years but many of his greatest contributions are community-minded and have little to do with his farm or business.

So what has Bert done?

What hasn’t he done is a better question.

Municipal government?

Bert has 27 years contributing to his community as a Councillor, Deputy Reeve, Reeve, Deputy Mayor and Warden and during municipal amalgamation, he was the Chair of the Implementation Committee.

Environment? Bert was on the West Perth Energy and Environment Committee which was instrumental in initiating the walking trails and wetlands in West Perth. The Committee promised that the creation of trails would not use taxpayer dollars, so Bert contributed labour, equipment and canvassed for material to physically create the trail. He still contributes time and material to maintain the trail to this day.

Agricultural? He served on the Farm Safety Committee, Perth Federation of Agriculture, Mitchell & District Agricultural Society, Environmental Farm Plan, and the Ontario Farm Practices Protection Board.

Community? He was the driving force behind bringing Perth Community Futures to this area.

He also served on the board of the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) and was president in 2000.  The Walkerton water crisis took place during his tenure and ROMA was one of the first organizations to respond with financial assistance.

Bert was the chair of the Fullarton Sesquicentennial that celebrated the township’s 150-year anniversary. Proceeds from the event went to Fullarton Park.

The Rotary of Club of Mitchell was formed in 1997 and Bert was one of the founding members and served as president in 2002, 2008 and 2015. He continues to be very active in the club.

Stratford Perth Museum? Bert was the chair of the museum board when the museum’s future and existence was a matter of great debate. It was during that time that Bert worked to establish stable municipal funding for the museum and was also instrumental in the museum purchasing its current and permanent location.

Richard Smelski was on the Stratford Perth Museum board when the Agriculture Wall of Fame began and still sits on the selection committee.

“Bert epitomizes the premise of our Ag Wall of Fame. Here’s a person who has not only made great contributions to agriculture but also to his community,” said Smelski.

“Bert’s energy and dedication have touched a lot of people and made this area a better place to live.”

And … in summary he also served on the West Perth Sesquicentennial Committee, Mitchell Legion Band for 30 years, Victorian Order of Nurses Board as Chair and member, West Perth Dragon Boat Festival, Knox Presbyterian Church Session, Knox Presbyterian Cemetery Board and is still a member of the Energy & Environment Committee.

A lot of Bert’s accomplishments have been a team effort and he and his wife Audrey, were recognized as West Perth Citizens of the Year in 2009.

2019 Inductees

In 2019, at the Stratford Rotary Club Rural Urban night, the Stratford Perth Museum Agricultural Wall of Fame introduced three new inductees.

Lorne Fell

Lorne grew up on the family farm in Hibbert Township where he attended a one room school and then Mitchell District High School but due to illness in the family left school early to manage the family farm.

His passion for Agriculture began in 1947 when he joined the Mitchell Boys and Girls Grain club sponsored by the Mitchell Agriculture Society.  Each member received two bushels of registered seed which Lorne planted and the resulting crop received a second prize at the Mitchell Fall Fair which qualified him to show at the Royal Agriculture Fair in Toronto where he also received a second prize and a result was able to sell the remainder of the barley crop for seed.  Thus, the beginning of a very successful seed growing business which soon became known as Rosebank  Seed Farm.

In 1962 Lorne  married Helen who became an active member of the business.

Rosebank became  a prominent name in the seed grain business, and a regular exhibitor at the Western Fair, Perth Ag week, and London Farm show as well as the Royal Agriculture Winter Fair where competition comes from around the world.

In 1982 Lorne won the world championship for soybeans which was the first of 23 world championships to follow including oats and white beans.  This is a remarkable accomplishment beginning with two bushels of grain!

Together Lorne and Helen built their business and raised a family of four Sharon, Roger,Joyce and Pauline.  The couple where active in the community.  Lorne passed away in 2018.

Ken Scheerer

Ken Scheerer was born in 1932 raised on the family farm in NorthEast hope Township attending the Brocksden one room school graduating at age 14 and began his long Agriculture career on that farm.

Ken married Marlene in 1954 and together they raised five children, built a successful dairy farm which did not come without its hardships such as a devastating barn fire in 1968.

Although Farming was Ken’s chosen career, he found time for teaching Sunday School,  dedicated church work including being Treasurer.  He lead 4-H and was a school trustee.
He enjoyed music and was self taught pianist and singer.

After a stint as Stratford Agriculture Society board member and president he took on the management position for five years.

His involvement with the Perth Milk Committee included dairy education coordinator and the launch of the  Coliseum program for all Grade 5 student’s across Perth County.  Knowing where and how Milk is produced  and that program still exists today.

In his township Ken acted as the Assessor and later Building Inspector.

He joined the Stratford Rotary Club and embraced the role of being a bridge between  the Rural and urban members of the club.  Using his typical wise and homespun manner, he proudly demystified for his urban Rotary Friends, the pleasures, intricacies and complexes of life spent on the farm.

As a result he was instrumental in organizing and operating the Rural Urban Night which we all look forward to each year.

Paul Verkley

Paul Verkley operated a 200 cow dairy farm in partnership with three brothers in the current Elma Ward of North Perth.  Throughout that period, Paul was active in agriculture organizations both at the county and provincial levels, and developed an ability to provide meaningful contributions in a number of diverse areas ranging from organizational restructuring to Environmental Farm Planning to agriculture biotechnology.

Paul’s activity on agricultural issues demonstrates his commitment to the development, promotion and implementation of agriculture production practices that have minimal adverse effects on the environmentment.  His level of leadership brought to the task is evident in that he has served as Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) Environment Committee Chair and Chair of the Ontario Farm Environmental Chair and Chair of the Ontario Farm Environmental Coalition’s (OFEC) Nutrient Management Working Group.  As OFA Environment Committee Chair he helped develop the “Our Farm Environmental Agenda”, one of the first documents outlining the value Ontario farmers have for the environment, which resulted in the Ontario Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) program – a program that has since been implemented and  applied in jurisdictions across North America.

Paul managed to juggle a three -milkings-per-day schedule at home, with extraordinary Demands on his time as an OFA Provincial Director and OFA’s representative on a number of external committees charged with investigating environmental issues faced by Ontario Farmers.

In 2000-2001 was the OFEC Spokesperson for the Walkerton Inquiry.

Paul became a much sought after speaker at conferences and workshops throughout Ontario and beyond.  He has the ability to present a Farmers perspective on environmental issues in a way that reassures the general population that a strong environmental ethic is part of the fabric of the farming community.  Paul has an excellent grasp of issues pertaining to Agriculture and the Environment.  This is demonstrated by the fact that he has  been recognized as an expert witness on nutrient management by Ontario’s Normal Farm Practises protection  Board.

2018 inductees

Roger and Elaine Cook

This year the Wall of Fame honoured a North Easthope couple, Roger and Elaine Cook. They bought the family farm in 1970 and were in the dairy industry for 27 years but their real love has always been as stewards of the land.

That came honestly as Roger’s parents restricted the access of livestock to the waterways on the farm and there was zero exposure to the spring fed stream on the property from both livestock and equipment.

The Cooks also developed many practices which helped to improve stream and ground water quality for humans as well as for fish and wildlife health and habitat. That included 100% retention of liquid and solid nutrient waste.

You cannot talk about the Cooks and their contributions to Perth County without praising their initiatives regarding trees and woodlots.

Tree planting started in the Cooks’ early years and they have planted over 12,000 trees on their farm as windbreaks, shelterbelts, stream buffers and block plantations. Tree planting is an annual event for the Cooks and is a cornerstone of their environmental awareness.

This has led to three decades of community tree plantings and stream restoration initiatives with well over 30 neighbouring families and friends as part of the Upper Avon Conservation Club. This group has partnered with the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority and Roger is the lead scout for these tree planing projects.

This passion for forest health, productivity and profitability has led to Roger’s involvement with the Huron/Perth chapter of the Ontario Woodlot Association. Roger is a long-time director, has been president for several years and he was chair of this spring’s two-day conference in Shakespeare.

Roger is on the steering committee for the Fryfogel Tavern arboretum and nature preserve initiative and is the caretaker of the trees and trails.

Roger and Elaine were on the early steering committee for the Ellice/Gadshill Swamp management plan with UTRCA and have been directors and caretakers of the Brocksden School Museum with the Easthope Historical group for over 40 years.

They have also been volunteers and are still members of the Stratford Perth Museum, the Thames Talbot Land Trust, Roger is steward for the McTavish Tract and he and Elaine are also members of the Stratford Field Naturalists.

Other organizations that have benefitted from their time and expertise are 4-H clubs, Girl Guides, nature groups, the Avon Trail, Perth County Milk Committee, Perth County Federation of Agriculture, the Woodland Towers store and many schools.

Roger has also helped with the Stratford and District Agricultural Society, the Mitchell Pioneer Club and area plowing matches with sawmill and cross cut displays.

The Cooks bought, moved and restored the Amulree circular sawmill to the farm and have made it available to friends and neighbours for the making of such things as toys, canoe paddles and tools.
It’s hard to imagine that they have any time for hobbies but they enjoy canoeing, hiking, curling, pickleball, lawnbowling and square dancing.

2017 Inductees

Tom Graham

Tom Graham, who was born in Ottawa, enjoyed a lifetime in the agriculture industry.

He graduated from Guelph OAC in 1951 and took a job with Pionner. In 1953 he moved to St. Marys and started Gramlyn Farms which later became Graholm Farms and continues today into a third generation.
Tom loved genetics which lead to his work to improve both layers and broilers as well the introduction of RX3 cattle which  was a three-way cross of Red Holstein, Red Angus, and Herefords.

Tom will be remembered most for his relentless drive to establish supply management which has made the feather and dairy industries the power house in agriculture we know today.

He was also a strong voice for the Beef Producers for Change in their attempts to improve the lot for beef Producers in Ontario and beyond. Tom died in 1997 and his son Scott accepted on his behalf.

Linda Weitzel

Linda Weitzel, from the Tavistock area, has made a huge difference in the lives of women and children involved in the agriculture industry.

That began in 1988 when the Perth County Women for the Support of Agriculture, with the assistance of a Secretary of State grant, conducted a survey to identify the need for farm/rural child care in Perth County. Linda, along with eight other women, met at her kitchen table and the work began.

As a group, the goal was to provide safe child care during the farming seasons and a nurturing environment for farm/rural families. Linda along with the board, provided seasonal care, a toy-lending library, summer camps and eventually play groups at locations throughout Perth County and Perth Care for Kids was born.

That has developed into an organization with a permanent home with a budget of $2.6 million and a staff of 70 working at six sites and 23 outreach sites throughout Perth County and North Middlesex.

She is also active in the Women’s Shelter and  Zion Lutheran Church in Stratford, is a past member of the Shakepeare Opti-Mrs. Club and the Perth Women for the Support of Agriculture. She has also served on the Ontario Swine Health Advisory Board, chaired the Ontario Pork Congress, is the Project Co-ordinator for the Ontario Pork Industry Council and a graduate of the Farm and Food Speakers Bureau.

Gary West

Gary West, from near Shakespeare, is perhaps best known as an egg farmer and for the leadership he provides that industry as a board member of the Egg Farmers on Ontario.

But at the grass roots level Gary has directed support from the industry to countless charities and schools, not only in monetary support but also in product. Thanks to Gary, Zone 6 donates 5,000 eggs a year, the highest of any zone in Ontario.

In the letters of support that accompanied his nomination perhaps the best description was that he was a “Grade A” guy.

Gary has also been an active and passionate member of the Stratford and District Agricultural Society since 2000  including as president. He has also been integral to the success of the fall fair, the Farm to You program, the fundraising campaign for the AgriPlex.

Gary is, or has been involved with, Jersey Canada, the cattle industry, the Ontario Pork Congress, the Canadian Dairy Expo, the Canadian Cancer Society.

2016 Inductees:

David Carson

David Carson, from Listowel, began his agricultural operations in the 1960s and today has customers in every province in Canada as well as throughout the United States.

He is a supplier of cattle to some of the largest dairy operations in the world but he is perhaps best known as a breeder of Clydesdales. Progeny from his farm can be found on the streets of Toronto and New York City in the service of those police departments, more famously among the Budweiser Cydesdales in such events as the Rose Bowl Parade.

It was his contribution to his communities that also impressed the committee.

In 2005 he opened the doors of his operation to the public and hosted the International Plowing Match with over 97,000 visitors.
He is a supporter of 4-H programs, the Listowel Agricultural Society, he volunteers and announces at many charity auctions and his company and staff were major contributors to the Listowel Hospital fundraising campaign.

Mary and John McIntosh

Mary and John McIntosh, from Perth South, both grew up on dairy farms in what was Downie Township and are still very proud to say they farm at Avonbank.

Mary and John have a wealth of community involvement in rural, agricultural, and community organizations past and present.

Both have been involved in Perth 4-H programs as members and leaders, as well as Junior Farmers, where John was Stratford Club President, Perth President and Director provincially.
Mary served as President of Perth Children’s Aid Society and Perth County Federation of Agriculture, as well as Director to OFA. She also served as the Perth Environmental Farm Plan Coordinator, and also Downie Ward Councillor in Perth South.

She currently chairs the Huron-Perth Presbytery of the London Conference for the United Church of Canada.

John was chair of the Ontario Agriculture Hall of Fame Milton Museum, sat on the Perth County Dairy Producer Committee and is the current chair of the St. Marys Memorial Hospital Foundation.

John has been Chair of different committees at three International Plowing Matches hosted in Perth County.

The Downie Mutual Insurance Board and the Farm Mutual Reinsurance Board of Canada have benefitted from John’s leadership.
He was also on the committee which changed Blanshard Municipal Telephone system and was a founding member of Quadro Communications.

John and Mary were also the recipients of the 2015 Perth County Federation of Agriculture Recognition Award.

2015 Inductees:

Allan Bain ( 1919-2001)

Allan was first and foremost a farmer and breeder of fine Holstein cattle. Born and raised in the Avonton area, he began his farming career in 1943 with 200 acres. The partial-grade Holstein herd was upgraded to purebred and enrolled on milk recording in 1947.

He was the director and president of the Western Ontario breeders, director and president of Perth Holstein Club, and director for Holstein Canada.
Success with his Holstein herd was showcased by many Bainholm cattle, not the least of which was Bainholm Citation Melinda, who achieved excellence status, was the Grand Champion the Perth County Show, Reserve Grand at the London Championship Show, and was nominated as all-Canadian two years in a row. Allan was awarded the highest honour given to a Canadian Holstein Breeder—the Master Breeder Award. Allan died in 2001.

Nominated by: Ron McKay, Murray McGonigle, and Gary West

Director and President of Western Ontario Breeders Association
Awarded Master Breeder Shield
President of the Perth County Holstein Club
Director of Holstein Canada

Pat Lynch

Born in Peterborough, Pat completed his Masters of Science at the University of Guelph and began his career as a soil and crops adviser with the Ministry of Agriculture in Stratford in 1972. He soon became recognized for his vision, his skills in communication, and his expertise in crop and soil extension. After leaving OMAF, Pat worked as a crop consultant and took genuine pride in helping young farmers.

He was a well-known public speaker at the community, university, and government level. Pat greatly influenced crop production in Ontario for the benefit of the farmers, the environment, and the value chain. He has had speaking engagements concerning agronomic skills both nationally and internationally, including a speaking tour in South Africa to discuss soybean production. Today, he still works as a private crop consultant and with a wider scope of suppliers and farmers, as well as owning his own independent agronomist business since 2008. He has received many awards for in ingenuity, volunteerism, and foresight.

Nominated by: Thelma Smith (Perth County Soil & Crop Improvement Association) and Cain Templeton (Perth County Soil & Crop)

Senior Agronomist at Cargill Consulting Group, Inc.
Awarded the 2014 CCA Award of Excellence

Murray Selves (1934- 1985)

Murray grew up on a mixed farm in Fullarton Township and graduated from Ontario Agricultural College in 1957 in crop science. From humble beginnings, Murray jointly purchased a 100-acre home with his wife near his birthplace and soon began raising hogs in what he called a circle of life. He often mused: land grows crops, corn is fed to hogs, hogs produce manure, and the manure goes back on the land to maintain yield of corn and the product of the cycle is pork. Murray was a strong proponent of animal welfare and in the belief that it was the farmer’s responsibility to provide optimal living conditions beneficial for animal health and growth.

Murray was a visionary. In 1977, he developed insulated concrete wall barns that are still an industry standard. In 1981, he initiated a computerized feeding system and modified open-front barns designed to improve animal welfare. In 1982, he built an on-farm methane digester that produced electricity, an innovative, environmentally-conscious energy source that was well ahead of its time. Early in his career, he was a proponent of high moisture corn storage as an economical method of feed storage and preparation. Each time he developed a new idea he shared it with the industry, eager for the opportunity to play a role in the advancement of modern agriculture.

Murray died at age 51 in a sailing accident, but his ideas, creativity and inspiration essential to his role as an agriculture motivator live on, both in the community and as an integral part of his children’s identities.

Nominated by: Joanne Selves

Stewart Anderson (1930-2013)

Stewart began his farming career in the 1950s on the family farm located on the south side of Ontario St. between Burritt St. and C.H. Meier Boulevard, Stratford. Athlone Farms was moved to its present location in South Easthope Township in 1966, where it continues under the management of fifth and sixth generations of the Anderson family.

As a Perth County Dairy farmer and graduate of the Ontario Agricultural College, Stewart showed exceptional leadership as both an outstanding business manager and as an active participant in many community organizations. He was aggressive in adopting and implementing new farming technologies while promoting safe environmental practices to protect water quality.

Stewart was known for practicing “service above self”, a virtue that is clearly demonstrated in his commitment to farm and community organizations both locally and provincially.

Nominated by: The Rotary Club of Stratford and Helen Anderson and family.

President of Perth County Junior Farmers
President of Perth County Holstein Club
President of Stratford District Co-operative
Director of United Co-operatives of Ontario
President of Stratford Agricultural Society
Member of Perth County Milk Committee

Trustee on the Perth County Board of Education

Willy Keller (1925-2012)

Willy was well known throughout Perth County in both the pork industry and with the Federation of Agriculture. An immigrant from Switzerland, he worked as a cheesemaker and operated a factory in Fullarton for Stacey Brothers, producing European-style cheeses, as well as attempting to initiate the sale of yogurt, the first individual to do so in the province.

Market resistance due to Canadian unfamiliarity with these new products made the factory unviable, driving Keller instead to invest his energy instead into farming.
After abandoning mixed farming, which was most common at the time, Keller chose to specialize in raising pigs. From this moment onward, Keller maintained the belief that if a farmer focuses on an aspect of farming that they like the best, they will likely do the best. The success of his work in the promotion of cross breeding of York and Landrace Swine can be seen with its current reputation as a standard in the pork industry.
Along with his wife Clara, the Kellers were instrumental and active in the early years of the Ontario Pork Congress in Stratford. Willy passed away in 2012.

Nominated by: John Nyenhuis (Perth County Pork Producers) and Darryl Terpstra (Perth County Federation of Agriculture)

Director of Perth County Federation of Agriculture
Director of Perth County Pork Producers
Board Director for Ontario Pork
Member of Ontario Swine Research Committee
Member of Ontario Swine Herd Health Advisory Committee
Awarded 1976 Pork Producer of the Year
Awarded 1984 Bicentennial Certificate of Merit of Contribution from the Province of Ontario
Awarded 1986 Award for Service in Education & Research from the University of Guelph
Awarded 1994 Recognition for Outstanding Contribution to Agriculture from the Perth Federation of Agriculture
Awarded CKNX Food and Beverage Award

Eric McLeod (1955- 2013)

Eric graduated from the University of Guelph in 1976 with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture. He began his 35-year career with Dairy Farmers of Ontario in 1978 and initiated the idea of on-farm visits, as it was his belief that progress for the industry as a whole should rely on input from grassroots sources.

Eric’s advice was essential to many successful transitions in the industry, and in some cases worked with three generations of milk producers. As a milk quality inspector, he has a reputation for being firm but fair, and was very well-respected throughout the dairy industry, both in Perth County and provincially. Through an approach of careful and attentive listening, Eric represented both friend and a mentor to many local farmers.

Over the 35 years that he held his position, he attended 98% of the monthly Perth County Milk meetings, a further testament to his commitment to the industry. He also had strong ties in both the local minor hockey and baseball teams, which deepened his connection to the community at large.

Nominated by: Henry Wydeven (Perth County Milk Committee)

Field Service Manager for Western Ontario
Stratford Minor Baseball Association
Stratford Minor Hockey Association

Charter members

Terry B. Daynard (1943-)

Terry Daynard’s background in the corn industry is wide-ranging, as a corn producer, a corn researcher and educator at the University of Guelph, as Executive Vice-President of the Ontario Corn Producers’ Association (OCPA), as contributing editor of Ontario Corn Producer magazine and as President of the Ontario BioAuto Council. During the sixteen years he taught at the U of G, he influenced many students to make their careers in the grain industry and several of his PhD students have gone on to serve the grain and corn sector as researchers and educators.

As a researcher, he has made important contributions to the corn industry in areas of corn physiology and hybrid development, grain development and photosynthesis, drought and stress resistance and primary tillage for maize production in Ontario. He built the OCPA into one of the most dynamic farm organizations in the province, while working to establish the Grain Financial Protection Fund. Through the Ontario Corn Producer magazine, he was instrumental in informing producers about such diverse topics as research innovation, bio-products, environmental practices and grain trade issues. One of Mr. Daynard’s key skills is his ability to create coalitions and partnerships to influence policy, innovation, growth and development in Ontario agriculture. Terry served as President of the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association which led to the establishment of the fuel ethanol industry in Ontario. There are currently six ethanol plants in Ontario, producing 800 million liters of ethanol annually, using 80 million bushels of corn per year. He and others formed the first AGCare Board (Agricultural Groups concerned about Resources and the Environment) to deal with environmental issues affiliated with agriculture. One important development was the Grower Pesticide Safety Course, now mandatory for any farmer purchasing or using agricultural pesticides. Terry helped to establish and later served as Chair of Ontario Agri-Food Technologies, an association created to focus on the development of agriculture and food programs in Ontario, to ensure continuing innovation, business opportunities and new partnerships, and to develop new markets for grain beyond food and feed. He served as Chair of Ontario Agricultural Food Education which was formed to develop agricultural education resource materials so that Ontario school children have the opportunity to learn more about the province’s food chain. He was a chief author of “Our Farm Environment Agenda” which outlined the environmental principles and practices of Ontario producers and led to the development of the first Environmental Farm Plan initiative in Canada. Terry was successful in bringing the chemical, plastic, and agriculture and forest industries together to form the Ontario BioAuto Council in 2007 in order to create and commercialize biobased automobile technologies. He was also instrumental in creating the Agricultural Odyssey Group to develop strategic solutions, along with Ontario’s farm leaders, to economic and other issues confronting the agrifood sector. Those who work with Mr. Terry Daynard consistently describe him as a visionary, as extraordinarily productive, as an innovator, as a supporter of a sustainable agricultural environment and as a gifted communicator. Certainly, his numerous contributions to agriculture in Ontario and beyond have earned him a well-deserved place in the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame.

Kenneth Lanz (1921-)

Kenneth Lantz rose through the ranks from Assistant Agricultural Representative to the post of Deputy Minister of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF). He served as Director of Extension and supervised the 54 county and district offices of the Ministry. There he established the Farm Business Management Program as a vital dimension of the Agriculture Ministry’s service to commercial farmers. Ken’s dedication was acknowledged by the International Farm Business Management Association when Ontario was selected to host the 2nd World Congress with Ken as Chair of the Steering Committee. During the first six years when Crop Insurance was becoming established in Ontario, Ken Lantz served as Chair of the Commission to bring crop insurance to producers. Mr. Lantz established the Food Land Development Branch within OMAF leading to Food Land Guidelines which encouraged preservation of farmland.

Ken Lantz contributed his expertise and influence to organizing the Ontario Agricultural Services Co-ordinating Committee and the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario which assist in guiding the effective funding of research programs. Mr. Lantz guided an expanding active province wide 4-H program and served on the directorate of the Canadian Council of 4-H Clubs. As vice-chair and later chair he significantly influenced the Agricultural Rehabilitation and Development Directorate extensive farm consolidation, rural infrastructure and community based new enterprise program. Ken Lantz served on every major committee of the Canadian National Exhibition ensuring that agriculture maintained a presence at the show. He also served as it’s President. He is an Honourary Life Member of the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association and the Canadian Society of Rural Extension. He was named a “Fellow” of the Agricultural Institute of Canada, its highest award for a Professional Agriculturist. Throughout his long and distinguished career, Ken Lantz committed his outstanding administrative skills to the advancement of Ontario agriculture.

Peggy Knapp (1928-2014)

Born and raised in Perth County, Peggy Knapp has dedicated her life to increasing the awareness of women’s issues at home, across Canada and around the world. A champion of agriculture and rural affairs, she has had a profound influence on the lives of many people. Peggy has been a dedicated member of Women’s Institutes since 1950, and has served with distinction and held many offices at the branch, district and area levels. She was Provincial President of Federated Women’s Institutes of Ontario (FWIO), 1989-1991 and in 1992 was elected Canada Area President for the associated Country Women of the World (ACWW), an international organization active in 65 countries. Two ACWW projects, operating in consultation with the United Nations, are “Water for All” and “Women Feed the World”.

These projects have had a dramatic impact on women and their families in many developing countries. In 1994 Peggy represented ACWW at the closing conference for the International Year of the Family in Montreal. Active in her local community, Peggy Knapp has served her Church, as President of her Home and School Association and as a Trustee of her local school board. She has served on the Advisory Boards of Ontario Agricultural College, Ontario Veterinary College, Ontario Agricultural Museum and on the Education Advisory Board for the Grand River Conservation Authority.

Peggy is currently President of the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame and a member of the Executive and Agriculture Administration Committees of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. Her organization and communication skills have served her well as leader on tours to the United Kingdom, Europe, South Pacific, Australia and Russia. In 1997 Peggy chaired the highly successful “Convention ‘97”, celebrating the 100th anniversary of Women’s Institutes. Peggy Knapp’s influence will be felt in this country and abroad for many years to come.

Robert W. Carbert (1921-1999)

A remarkable insight into the past and present of Ontario agriculture, combined with an articulate and literate bent, marked Robert William “Bob” Carbert’s life. Born and raised on a farm in Fullarton Township, Perth County, Bob received his education at a one-room school in Hibbert Township. He and his father raised, sold and exhibited Purebred Hereford cattle and as a young man, Bob was active in sports and music.

Following service in the Canadian army during World War II, Bob began a career in agricultural journalism with radio station CKNX in Wingham. For ten years, the last three in television and radio, Bob worked as Farm Director for the station. In 1958, he joined the Canadian Federation of Agriculture in Ottawa as Director of Information and Assistant Secretary and in 1962 moved on to the Ontario Federation of Agriculture as Secretary-Manager. A prolific freelance writer and journalist, Bob joined the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in 1964 as the Host and Researcher of the program Country Calendar. During this time, Bob also helped found the Eastern Canadian Farm Writers’ Association and for three years served as the Canadian Director in the National Association of Radio and Television Farm Directors. In 1968, he joined the Ontario Department of Agriculture’s Information Branch becoming the Executive Assistant to the Hon. Wm. A. Stewart, Minister of Agriculture. In 1974 Bob was appointed as the first employee of the Ontario Agricultural Museum. For the next nine years as General Manager, Bob’s vision and leadership led to the construction and development of one of North America’s foremost agricultural history sites. In the early years of the Museum’s development, Bob Carbert conceived the idea of an Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame. Under his supervision the Hall of Fame Association was established and he served as its first Secretary-Treasurer. Following his retirement in 1984, Bob continued to pursue a freelance journalism career and take an active part in community life in Wingham. In 1984 Bob was granted an Ontario Bicentennial Certificate of Merit and in 1987 an “Honourary Life Membership” in the Ontario Institute of Agrologists.

Norman McCully (1899-1978)

Norman Garfield McCully, born near St. Mary’s, Ontario, epitomized all that is good in rural leadership. A breeder of good livestock, a pioneer in new field crops like grain corn, a teacher for rural short courses and leader for Junior Farmers and 4-H Clubs, his influence in his community was very great. He was a popular judge of both livestock and field crops.

He served as school trustee and assessor. Deeply concerned about soil conservation, he planted trees, long before this was popular to prevent erosion. A major effort was the improvement of Suffolk sheep as his flock provided foundation stock to flocks in several countries as well as Canada. He was a pioneer in the artificial insemination (AI) of dairy cattle and the first AI calf born into any commercial herd in Ontario was in his Holstein-Friesians. His herd was one of the first in Record Of Performance testing. A graduate in the Diploma Course of the Ontario Agricultural College in 1923, he believed in bringing practical education to rural young people and devoted his life to teaching, coaching and working with young farm people.

Honourable Samuel Nelson Monteith (1862-1949)

Samuel Nelson Monteith, a Perth County graduate from London’s Commercial College in 1882 and the Ontario Agricultural College, Guelph in 1890, he served as Minister of Agriculture in Sir James Whitney’s cabinet from 1905 to 1908. During this time the first county Agricultural Representatives were appointed in Ontario. Nelson was instrumental in establishing the St. Williams tree Nursery in Norfolk County and the Monteith Farm for delinquent boys at the town of Monteith, a town that was named in his honour, in the Cochrane District of Northern Ontario. Under his jurisdiction, the grant program for reforestation and roadside tree plantings flourished. This was vitally important because many areas of the province had been denuded of trees to meet the insatiable demand for lumber used in building construction.

In addition, cheese factory standards were improved, agricultural short courses were expanded, fruit farming was encouraged and the
quality of livestock in the province was upgraded. Mr. Monteith became a member of the North Perth Agricultural Society in 1878 and served for many years in various leadership roles including President. His political career spanned the years from 1891 to 1908 where he served on Downie Township Council, as Warden of Perth County Council, Perth County Commissioner and in the Ontario Legislature as the member for Perth South. The Monteith name dominated municipal, provincial and federal politics in Perth County for over 50 years. For 41 years, Mr. Monteith served as Director of British Mortgage and Trust, the last 24 as President. In 1910, he and a partner established telephone service between the city of Stratford and the town of St. Mary’s. His leadership, vision and dedication were instrumental in encouraging agricultural societies, mortgage and trust organizations and telephone companies to improve their service to rural Ontario. Nelson Monteith’s 86 years were crowned with esteem and were an inspiration to family, friends and associates. He died where he loved to be, in his orchard on his beloved Sunnyside Farm south of Stratford.

Gordon F. Bell (1920-)

Gordon Bell is unique in that he has made major contributions to two key agricultural sectors in Ontario: Holstein cattle and Standardbred horse breeding and racing. From 1956-1985, Gordon Bell worked for Holstein Canada where he provided the leadership and knowledge of pedigrees, type, and production to enhance the Holstein breeding programs in Canada and the United States. He served on the Sire Selection Committee to select the top bulls and developed, with Ross Butler, the first True Type Model Holstein cow and bull. He conducted judging schools throughout Ontario and beyond to train judges for local, provincial, national, and international shows. In 1968, he selected 400 bred Holstein heifers by eye for export to England. He promoted the international sale of Canadian Holstein bulls and semen for Semex, and he selected a show herd of Canadian Holsteins to be exhibited in France and another for Yugoslavia.

All of these activities promoted international interest in Canadian Holsteins and led the way to a flourishing trade in Canadian dairy cattle. Mr. Bell also helped to organize the 4-H calf sale and the Shore’s Classic Sale. The subsequent availability of top 4-H calves helped to strengthen the 4-H dairy program across Ontario. Gordon was the first person to allow a Red and White Holstein to show at a championship show, thus paving the way for the growth of the Red and White Show at the Royal Winter Fair, and the subsequent sale of these cattle for several other countries. All the while. Gordon Bell was successfully breeding, training, and racing Standardbred horses. In 1972, he was one of the Founding Members of the Ontario Sires Stake Committee to promote the importation of good stallions from the United States and to initiate the Sire Stakes Racing Series. This all led to the improved quality of the racing stock, more competitive racing, increased winning purses, and the exponential growth of the racing industry in Ontario. Commercial breeding farms were established; more race tracks were built; many jobs were created and breeding stock from Ontario is highly sought after in Europe, Australia, and South America. The Ontario Sire Program is recognized by owners as the best in North America. Gordon Bell has been rightly praised as a man of vision, a man of integrity, and a man who gets things done.

2020 Nomination Form

Do you know someone who has made an exceptional contribution to Perth County Agriculture who deserves recognition? Nominate them as a 2020 Inductee to the Perth County Agricultural Wall of Fame by contacting Stratford Perth Museum’s General Manager John Kastner at 519-393-5311 or by email at

The concept of the Stratford Perth Museum Agricultural Wall of Fame was put forth in order to honour those who have made significant contributions to the progress of agriculture in the County. The rural areas of Perth County have been cared for and cultivated by the hands of generations of dedicated farmers, and the time has come for these individuals to be recognized for their service to the agricultural sector.

The roles that these individuals have played both in their professional and personal lives demonstrate their strength of character, outstanding leadership, and willingness for self-sacrifice. The dedication of these individuals for their careers, their communities, and their families becomes evident when reading about the legacies that continue to reverberate today.

While it is clear that the rich Perth County soils are ideal for growing resilient tracts of crops and healthy herds of livestock, the individuals that occupy this Wall of Fame prove that Perth County has also raised an exceptional stock of farmers and agricultural workers.

This initiative has been made possible thanks to the support of these organizations
Egg Farmers of Perth County
Perth County Federation of Agriculture
Perth County Pork Producers
Perth Dairy Producers
Stratford and District Agricultural Society