Kent Agriculture Hall of Fame 2017. November 14, 2017. (Photo by Sarah Cowan Blackburn News Chatham-Kent).

Kent Agricultural Hall Of Fame Inducts Newest Members

A handful of Chatham-Kent residents with roots in the agricultural community, including two notable broadcasters, have been officially inducted into the Kent Agricultural Hall of Fame.

The induction ceremony for the 2017 Kent Agricultural Hall of Fame was held at the Country View Golf Course in Dover Centre on Tuesday.

The Kent Agricultural Hall of Fame recognizes Chatham-Kent residents, living or dead, who have demonstrated admirable achievements in the rural and agriculture community.

Kent Agriculture Hall of Fame 2017. November 14, 2017. (Photo by Sarah Cowan Blackburn News Chatham-Kent).

Kent Agriculture Hall of Fame 2017. November 14, 2017. (Photo by Sarah Cowan Blackburn News Chatham-Kent).

The list of 2017 inductees include the founder of CFCO radio Jack Beardall, former CKSY radio agricultural broadcaster John Jordan, the founders of Maizex Seeds Inc. Dave and Brenda Baute, Harry Forbes from the Forbes Drainage Scheme, and Jean Marie And Lucille Laprise in the fresh and frozen vegetable, transplant growing, and marketing business.

Michael Alexander, who is the grandson of the late Jack Beardall, says his grandfather’s induction was an unexpected and great surprise.

“He was an enthusiast. He did what he loved to do. He loved radio. He loved cars. He loved everything that was new in technology. He lived totally in the present… always living from his passions. After he sold the station, he wasn’t stuck in the golden years or anything like that. He was always a contemporary person and always moving forward,” explains Alexander.

Beardall is considered a pioneer in the broadcasting community, after founding Ontario’s first privately-owned radio station.

“When he started CFCO in 1925, Chatham was just a little city — maybe it had about 16,000 people. He was broadcasting largely throughout Southwestern Ontario to the rural community. Although I think of CFCO of being in Chatham, actually people outside of Chatham think of it as being apart of the agricultural community,” says Alexander.

Alexander says he has CFCO archives in his possession from 1919 to 1962. He says he is currently working on a history project, which will carry through all the innovations at CFCO from 1925 to 1962. He says it will feature pictures, films, and recordings from the radio station’s history.

John Jordan, who was also inducted into the hall of fame, is a retired broadcaster and has worked at several location stations, including CKSY radio, Ridgetown College with the farm market news program, and CBC in Windsor.

“It’s a humbling experience to be amongst all these great people. I was a broadcaster so I would talk to these people and be inspired by them, but I didn’t think I’d be apart of that group. Now here I am. This is just an amazing thing for me. I am just so, so pleased,” says Jordan.

Jordan says his news always had an agricultural focus because he knew that food was the number one reason people get by each and everyday.

“The topic of food is so important to the people. If I could help them understand a little bit more about food production and the issues involved in food production, whether it be the marketing boards or the pluses or minuses of the crops each year, I like to tell people about that so they could understand a little bit better,” explains Jordan.

Jordan was instrumental in developing technology to translate data within the farm market news, which is used by the Grain Farmers of Ontario in their Sell Smart app.

The Kent Agricultural Hall of Fame has inducted 182 members since it first was created in 1989.