A seed farmer who won 23 world seed championships was inducted into the Perth Agricultural Wall of Fame last month.
Lorne Fell was just a kid when he started competing in seed shows in the late 1940s after joining the Mitchell Boys and Girls Grain Club. Each member was given two bushels of registered seed barley to grow. Fell came second at the Mitchell seed show, followed by finishing second at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. “I thought, if my grain placed second at the Royal, it must be good seed, so I cleaned it up and sold it,” he once said.
Fell was in the club for six years and sold his seed for six years. After leaving the club, people kept asking Fell if he had any seed to sell. Fell started growing barley and selling some of it.
After taking over the family farm (that eventually became Rosebank Seed Farms) in 1960, Fell expanded his seed growing. He began processing his own seed in 1969 after buying a seed cleaner and mixer.
In 1966, he once again started competing in the seed competitions at the Toronto Royal. In 1982, he won his first world championship in the soybean category. He won 22 more world championships before the Royal stopped judging world competitions in 2001. Fell won four world championships in the same year when he won for oats, soybeans, pedigreed oats and pedigreed white beans in 1989, the only person to ever win four world championships in one year.
Fell’s wife, Helen, said Lorne wasn’t much to show off. Every world championship came with a circular silver tray about 12 inches in diameter. Those trays were stored in the closet and only taken out for special occasions.
Fell was also a former 4-H leader, an honourary president of the Canadian Seed Growers, and received the Robertson Associate Award from the Canadian Seed Growers in 1998.
Lorne died in 2018. The farm today is run by Lorne’s son Roger, who grows and processes oats, barley, wheat, soybeans, edible beans and popcorn pedigree seed.
Perth County inducted two other wall of famers: Dairy farmers Ken Scheerer and Paul Verkley. There have been 21 inductees since the wall of fame was introduced in 2014.