CK Agricultural Hall of Fame Induction ceremony to be held for first time since 2019

·2 min read

For the first time in three years, new members will be inducted into the Kent Agricultural Hall of Fame.

According to Kathryn Vanek, Secretary of the CK Agriculture Hall of Fame, there has been no in-person celebration, or no one has been inducted since 2019 due to COVID-19.

“There was no one inducted in 2020 or 2021,” she said. “We were asked, even though there wasn’t an induction ceremony if there were any inductions made. There was not.”

This year’s ceremony will take place at the Hidden Hills Golf and Country Club on Hwy 40. The event will begin with a “Meet and Greet” reception at 11:30 a.m.

Since its inception in 1989, the Kent Agricultural Hall of Fame has inducted 197 members and has supported another 17 Chatham-Kent agriculturalists into the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame. In 2022, four names have been approved to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

On Nov. 22, Kim Cooper of Wheatley, George Denys of the former Township of Raleigh, Dennis Jackson of the former Township of Chatham and Ridgetown’s own late Dr. Ron Pitblado will be recognized by the agricultural community with their induction into the Kent Agricultural Hall of Fame.

Pitblado researched vegetable pest management and taught thousands of students at the Ridgetown Campus. He shared his excitement for developing insect and disease strategies for horticultural crops and developed BeetCast to assist sugar beet production, TomCast for tomato production, and helped develop the Ontario Weather Network.

“Pitblado had an unstoppable passion for investigating new possibilities for Ontario’s fruit and vegetable industry,” said officials with the Hall of Fame.

Vanek said the mission of the Hall of Fame is to recognize people that have demonstrated unselfish achievement within the realm of agriculture and/or service to the rural community of Chatham-Kent and/or beyond.

“This year’s inductees reflect the diverse industry that agriculture is and the many ways that the rural community can be served,” said Vanek.

According to the Hall of Fame Board of Directors, they encourage nominations from the public of individuals, living or deceased, whom they feel have had a long-term commitment and contribution to agriculture and/or rural living in Chatham-Kent and are worthy of consideration for the Hall of Fame.

Vanek said the induction ceremony is open to anyone with agricultural or rural interests. Tickets, which cost $35 per person, can be purchased by contacting Vanek at 519-683-2929.

“It’s going to be nice to have the induction ceremony again,” said Vanek. “It will be the same ceremony we’ve done all along. The $35 ticket gets you attendance and your meal.”

Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News