MILTON — The father of the Ontario farm movement is one of this year’s five inductees into the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame.
The five farmers will officially be inducted on June 10 at Country Heritage Park in Milton. This will bring the total number of inductees to 224. These are the newest hall of famers.
• James J. Morrison, born in Wellington County, was known as the “father of the Ontario farm movement.” In 1914, he helped create the United Farmers of Ontario (UFO), which had 50,000 members by 1919 and won the Ontario election. The party brought in legislation including a Mother’s Allowance Act, a Minimum Wage Act for Women, increased workers compensation benefits, increased rural electrification and the creation of the Province of Ontario Savings Office to lower lending rates to farmers. Morrison also helped found the United Farmers’ Co-operative Company (now the Ontario Co-operative Association), and worked with the UFO to form the Ontario Chamber of Agriculture (now the Ontario Federation of Agriculture).
• William Harvey Beaty, of Halton Region, started Cold Springs Farm Ltd. on 100 acres of land in 1949. By the time he died in 1994, the business had grown to include 60 farms and 9,000 acres raising hogs, turkeys, chickens, beef cattle and crops, along with a feed mill, grain elevators, processing plant, fertilizer plant and more.
• (William) Barry Hill, of Brant County, was instrumental in the formation of the First Nations Agri Group Co-operative, designed to provide purchasing power for crops and livestock inputs, which was seen as a model for other First Nations communities across Canada.
• Gordon Clifford Leitch, of Ridgetown, became general manager of the first elevator on the Toronto waterfront which ultimately grew into what is now known as Masterfeeds Inc., where he established the logistics network still used today by Canadian farmers to facilitate grain trade across the country and around the world.
• Durham Region’s Harvey John Graham, former president of the Ontario Cattlemen’s Association (now Beef Farmers of Ontario), helped establish the Ontario feeder cattle loan guarantee program, was instrumental in establishing the environmental stewardship award and helped to implement the national beef check-off program to fund work in support of the beef industry.