The Stratford Perth Museum added three new names to its Agriculture Wall of Fame.
Lorne Fell, Ken Scheerer and Paul Verkley were this year’s honourees. The trio was officially inducted this past Thursday night in front of several hundred people at the Stratford Rotary Club’s Rural Urban Dinner at the Rotary Complex.
“It’s always a really good night,” museum general manager John Kastner said Saturday.
Verkley was in attendance, as well as Scheerer’s two sons and Fell’s widow.
“Some talk for a couple of minutes and some go up and say, ‘Thanks,’” Kastner said.
Due to a family illness, Fell left school early and managed his family’s Hibbert Township farm. After taking second place in seed competitions at the Mitchell Fall Fair and the Royal Agriculture Fair in Toronto, he launched Rosebank Seed Farm, according to the museum.
Along with help from wife Helen, Rosebank became a prominent name in the seed business and won the 1982 world championship for soybeans at the Royal Agriculture Winter Fair. It was the first of 23 world championships. He died in 2018.
Scheerer, raised on a family farm in North Easthope, built a successful dairy operation but still found time to volunteer with multiple organizations. He had a hand in church causes, the 4-H club, and took on roles such as school trustee and president and manager of the Stratford Agriculture Society’s board. He also focused on dairy educational programs. He died in 2004.
Verkley operated a large dairy farm along with his three brothers in the Elma Ward. He was active in agriculture organizations, both at the county and provincial levels, focusing on areas such as environmental farm planning and agriculture biotechnology, according to the museum.
He served on the board and as chair of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture environment committee, the Ontario Farm Environmental Coalition’s and the Nutrient Management Working Group.
WALL OF FAME
The initiative started five years ago. Nominations are solicited from Perth County residents and commodity groups. An independent committee reviews the applications and decides who is worthy.
“Sometimes they pick one person, sometimes they pick three people,” said Kastner, who oversees but does not weigh in on the selection process.
It’s a digital wall of fame with a kiosk at the museum and information posted on its website. Moving forward, though, all winners – including previous inductees – will have physical plaques, photos and narratives posted at the home of the Stratford and District Agricultural Society.