A Harvard graduate, a Ridgetown professor and a farm couple married for 54 years were all inducted into the Kent Agricultural Hall of Fame on Nov. 13.
Since its inception in 1989, the Kent Agricultural Hall of Fame has inducted 189 members. Here are this year’s inductees:
Dr. Arthur (Art) William Schaafsma (1956-)
Dr. Art Schaafsma has overseen research, teaching, extension and business development at the Ridgetown Campus of the University of Guelph. His research program has focused on pest management strategies for crops, and he has consulted on insect and disease management strategies provincially, nationally, and globally.
A former director at the campus, he is currently a professor and researcher in field crop pest management at Ridgetown.
His research program has focused on pest management strategies for crops. He is an international leader in developing application techniques to optimize the effectiveness of fungicides for fusarium head blight control in wheat and corn, and these recommendations have been adopted across Canada, in parts of the U.S., as well as in Europe.
In 2017, Schaafsma provided a study proving that the majority of the seed treatment dust getting into the environment is coming from vacuum planter exhausts, not from the surface soil dust.
Schaafsma has been an author or co-author of more than 95 peer-reviewed scientific articles and has been chair of the Southwest Agricultural Conference, a past consultant to the United Nations on mycotoxins and co-founder of the Canadian Corn Pest Coalition.
Robert Kerr (1945-)
Robert Kerr has been an organic crop producer since 2000 and has been a pioneer in producing and marketing grass-fed beef and beef raised without hormones and antibiotics.
Kerr graduated from the University of Guelph with a BSc(Agr) in 1968, and graduated from Harvard Business School with an MBA in 1970.
Kerr owns two farms in Chatham-Kent. Kerr Farms Limited grows 724 acres of conventional crops, such as tomatoes, sugar beets, seed corn, snap beans, red kidney beans and wheat, while Wolfe Creek Organic Farms Limited grows 783 acres of organic crops, including asparagus, tomatoes, seed corn, grain corn, sweet corn, soybeans and wheat.
He has been president of the Ontario Cattlemen’s Association (now Beef Farmers of Ontario) and Kent County Cattlemen’s Association and has been a director of the Beef Information Centre, Kent Processing Vegetable Growers, the Kent Agri Food Opportunities Commission and the George Morris Centre in Guelph.
George (1920-2000) and Ruth Bieber (1924-1996)
George and Ruth Bieber — who married in 1946 — were a vital farm couple in the Palmyra area who gave generously of their time.
George was chair of the board of trustees of the Orford Central School Board, president of the Highgate District Agricultural Society, helped with the formation of the Highgate Legion Branch #335 and was a founding member of the Palmyra Community Club. He was also Orford Township Council reeve for five years and councillor for 15.
Ruth was a charter member of the Palmyra Women’s Institute, which began in 1949. She was a 4-H leader.