The Norfolk County Agricultural Hall of Fame will induct the late Irene Anderson, the late Hon. John S. Martin, and Kernal Peanuts Ltd. at a ceremony on September 10.
Inductees were chosen based on demonstrated achievements, results, benefits, and innovations accrued to agriculture and rural development on a local and/or broader basis because of the nominee’s volunteer and paid activities. The selection committee also considered whether a legacy had been identified.
“Each of this year’s Norfolk County Agricultural Hall of Fame inductees have positively impacted agriculture in our community and beyond,” said Mayor Amy Martin. “The selection committee did an excellent job choosing recipients who have contributed to agriculture in Norfolk County in very unique and distinctive ways. On behalf of Council, I am proud to recognize the work these recipients have accomplished.”
Born in Toronto in 1932, Irene (nee Nemeth) Anderson became interested in art at an early age. Following the family’s purchase of a tobacco farm near Langton, Irene’s artistic skills were nurtured by a childhood connected to the rural, agricultural environment. She loved the daily routine and nearly all aspects of tobacco farming.
Both farmers and politicians took note and Irene’s cartoons first started to be published in the late 1950s leading to a four decade-long career as cartoonist with the Delhi News Record and Canadian Tobacco Grower Magazine.
John S. Martin
The Honourable John Strickler Martin, MPP was born near Cheapside, Haldimand County in 1875. From an early age, Martin was fascinated by poultry and following the family’s move to a farm in Port Dover, he tended to the flock and began raising his very own chickens. Through perseverance, his drive for knowledge, and determination, Martin’s schoolboy hobby transitioned into an international business garnering him considerable fame and fortune. At 48, he entered politics and represented Norfolk South and then Norfolk in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as a Conservative member from 1923 to 1930. His farming background earned him the important position of Minister of Agriculture in those same years.
Kernal Peanuts Ltd.
Kernal Peanuts Ltd. was established by Ernie and Nancy Racz on the family farm outside Vittoria in 1979 and incorporated in 1982. The former tobacco growers saw an opportunity to start fresh given the decline in the industry. With incredible amounts of time, innovation, capital and determination by the Racz, they transformed their farm into a successful peanut farming operation. By 1990, the farm grew between 150 to 200 acres of Valencia peanuts from their own seeds, producing many peanut products. The entire process – planted, grown, harvested, processed, packed, sold and shipped – is done by Kernal Peanuts. Today, this proudly Norfolk County farm is the largest producer of peanuts in Canada.
The induction ceremony will take place from at 2 p.m. at the Norfolk County Agricultural Hall of Fame located inside the Waterford Heritage & Agricultural Museum (159 Nichol St W). For more on the Hall of Fame, including bios on past inductees, visit waterfordmuseum.ca.