Essex County Agricultural Hall of Fame welcomes three new members

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Three new members were inducted into the Essex County Agricultural Hall of Fame Thursday night with one having ties to Amherstburg.

Barbara Dianne Ennis Colantonio, Mary Jane Laframboise and Glen Waites were welcomed as the 2016 inductees at the ceremony at the Harrow Agricultural Exhibition Hall. All three were recognized by federal, provincial and county levels of government, with Essex MPP Taras Natyshak and Warden Tom Bain being able to attend the ceremony in person.

“It’s always an honour to recognize pioneers in the agriculture and farming sectors,” said Natyshak.

Bain thanked the new members as well as past Hall of Fame inductees for their time and talents, noting he met with a delegation from Poland earlier in the day about agricultural issues.

“You are leaders throughout Essex County,” said Bain. “You are the leaders throughout all of Ontario and all of Canada.”

Laframboise was born in Essex and worked as a teacher and at Champion Spark Plug before becoming a “temporary farmer” in 1982. She ended up holding the latter position for 35 years.

Laframboise became involved with the Essex County Federation of Agriculture (ECFA) in 1984 and held many positions with ECFA through 1992 including vice president from 1988-90. She was also vice president of the Essex County Safety Association from 1989-93.

The Essex County Agricultural Hall of Fame welcomed three new members April 7. From left: Essex MPP Taras Natyshak, inductees Mary Jane Laframboise and Glen Waites, Warden Tom Bain. Inductee Dianne Colantonio could not attend due to health reasons.

The Essex County Agricultural Hall of Fame welcomed three new members April 7. From left: Essex MPP Taras Natyshak, inductees Mary Jane Laframboise and Glen Waites, Warden Tom Bain. Inductee Dianne Colantonio could not attend due to health reasons.

Laframboise also served as a provincial director, as a member of the Essex County Soil and Crop Improvement Association, the Corn Producers Association and also as a participant in the agricultural conferences at Ridgetown College.

Other community work she has been involved in include the Anderdon Women’s Institute from 1982-90, a St. Joseph Church parishioner from 1974-2015 and a member of the St. Clement’s Church Catholic Women’s League since 2014.

Described as a “mover and shaker” in lobbying for “Slow Moving Vehicle” signs, Laframboise included one of those signs as part of her induction speech.

“I think the farm safety sign is the most important sign you will see on a highway,” said Laframboise.

Joined on the stage by husband Phil, Laframboise said it is very important for other motorists to recognize and respect the “Slow Moving Vehicle” signs.

“We want everyone to stay safe and alive for as long as you can,” she said.

Laframboise added she is honored to be inducted into the Essex County Agricultural Hall of Fame and that she has learned so much over the years. She joked that preparing for her induction was “like ‘This is Your Life.’”

“I’ve gotten to know many wonderful, talented, enthusiastic and generous people,” she continued.

Laframboise’s nomination was sponsored by the Essex County Farm Safety Association.

Waites began farming in what was then known as Tilbury West Township in 1956, around the corner from where he lives. He raised pigs until 1984 and continues to grow wheat, soybeans, corn, cucumbers, and tomatoes. He expanded his operation into Leamington in 1974 where he grows potatoes and tomatoes.

Waites has served on committees in his home municipalities as well as with the Essex County Federation of Agriculture, and was the latter’s president in 1984-85. He was also a member of the Essex County Soil and Crop Improvement Association and won a 4-H Leaders Award. He has used such techniques as no-till farming, GPS precision farming and has implemented drip irrigation to preserve water usage on his property.

His resumé also includes a stint as a Sunday school teacher, a committee member to bring in new hydro lines, a board member at his church and such awards as the Soil Conservation Farm Award and the Bicentennial Certificate of Merit from the province. Other awards he has won include the Certificate of Achievement from the Grower Course for Field and Horticultural Crops and the H.J. Heinz Grower Award.

Waites thanked the Essex County Agricultural Hall of Fame for inducting him and also thanked the ECFA for nominating him.

“It’s been a pleasure to be inducted into the Essex County Agricultural Hall of Fame,” he said.

Colantonio, who goes by her middle name Dianne, was unable to attend due to health reasons but her contributions as a third generation farmer were still recognized. She is a past president of her local women’s institute and a past president of the Essex County 4H Leader’s Association. Colantonio has been a 4H leader with membership for over 30 years, according to her biography put forth by the Hall of Fame.

Colantonio was also a member of the Farm Safety Association and an integral part of the “Pizza Project” that promotes market-to-market.

Other volunteer work done by Colantonio includes the Bicentennial Museum in Lakeshore, working at various county fairs, as a poll clerk for Elections Canada and as a volunteer for Statistics Canada. She has received provincial recognition for 30 years of service for her volunteer work as well as awards from 4H Ontario.

Her induction was sponsored by the Essex County 4H Association.

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