A group of agricultural leaders and entrepreneurs in Chatham-Kent have been recognized by the municipality’s Chamber of Commerce for their contributions to the area’s business community.
The county’s Rural Urban Awards, bestowed Nov. 23, were received by local farmer Dennis DeBot and Ken McEwan from the University of Guelph, Ridgetown for Agricultural Innovator of the Year and Friend of Agriculture, respectively.
The award for Agriculturalist of the Year was given posthumously to agronomist Danny Ellis, with his fiancé Sue Boyle accepting. Youth Agriculturalist of the Year was awarded to siblings Morgan and Mitchell Anderson for their involvement in the agriculture industry and ongoing pursuit of careers in the sector.
“We’ve had 76 years of doing this. It long preceded the amalgamation of Chatham-Kent as a municipality,” says Gail Hundt, president and chief executive officer for the Chatham- Kent Chamber of Commerce.
“Agriculture is very important to this area, and in fairness we like to recognize our agricultural businesses for what they contribute. We want to recognize youth entrepreneurs too. We have traditionally worked with 4-H there.”
Previously held earlier in autumn, Hundt says the banquet was moved to the end of November to better accommodate the harvest season.
Additions to Kent Agriculture Hall of Fame
Four people were inducted into the Kent Agricultural Hall of Fame on Nov. 22, including agricultural advocate Kim Cooper, vegetable farmer and former reeve George Denys and soybean grower and distributor Dennis Jackson. The late Ron Pitblado, a University of Guelph pest management specialist who died in 2009, was the fourth addition.
Alice Uher, the Hall of Fame’s associate vice-president, described the group as providing a positive influence on the community of Chatham-Kent.
Cooper was inducted for his longstanding commitment to sharing information and advocating for the farming sector with the general public. Denys was praised for his work with community events as well as agricultural research initiatives, and Jackson for his efforts at developing the region’s food-grade soybean industry.
Pitblado was praised for a career spent educating agriculture students at the University’s Ridgetown campus, and for his innovations in horticultural disease and insect management.