Influential Canadians Bertrand Boisclair, Kim McConnell and Barry Wilson have joined the ranks of Canada’s most exceptional individuals as the 2012 inductees into the prestigious Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame. The formal induction ceremony took place November 4, 2012 at the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame awards banquet in Toronto, Ontario.
“This year’s inductees have added significantly to the strength and development of Canada’s agricultural industry,” says Judy Shaw, president of the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame Association (CAHFA). “Through leadership and a lifelong commitment to a vibrant agricultural sector, Bertrand Boisclair, Kim McConnell and Barry Wilson continue their work and dedication to Canadian agriculture. CAHFA proudly recognizes their contributions with this highest honour.”
Nominated by Holstein Quebec
In 1948 at the age of 20, Bertrand joined his family’s farm in Saint-Samuel-de-Horton, Quebec. Armed with a ècole d’agriculture diploma he turned the farm into a new enterprise – breeding purebred Holsteins. The cattle developed into the famed Clairbois herd, achieving the highest levels of milk production in Canada and Quebec.
Mr. Boisclair focused on developing a taller, larger and more refined dairy cow. The result was an animal with an impeccable mammary system with longer legs, one that lived longer and produced more. This was better for both the cow and the farmer. Bertrand was a pioneer in the field of embryo transfer technology to further improve the genetics of Canada’s Holsteins. He was, and remains, a tireless promoter of the breed.
Three times Bertrand was presented with the highest award from his profession, earning the title of Master Breeder in 1974, 1994 and 1999. The Clairbois herd earned these three titles in only 25 years – an outstanding first in Canada. He has been a long-term adviser, serving as an exemplary example to a generation of breeders in Canada, as well as at the international level.
Mr. Boisclair has been an active supporter of his community and his fellow producers. He has served as Mayor of his local community, President of the Bois-Francs Holstein Club, Member of the Board of Directors of Holstein Canada and President of Holstein Quebec. As a successful breeder and farmer, Bertrand has been a mentor to many – demonstrating that primary agriculture can be an exciting and profitable profession.
Nominated by the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency
Kim McConnell is the cofounder and former Chief Executive Officer of AdFarm, one of the largest and most respected agricultural marketing firms in North America. He has been involved with the development of countless successful national and international brands.
Mr. McConnell’s devotion to the ongoing development of agriculture, and his insights into modern media, continue to be an invaluable resource to the industry. Kim was one of the first to recognize that agricultural marketing and communications is a specialized business that must evolve to meet industry and consumer challenges (and opportunities). A key passion for Kim is to be a catalyst for agriculture; to enhance the perception of agriculture with stakeholders, media and the general public, in particular, urban consumers. In this regard he has been, and still is, an industry pioneer.
Building and branding Canadian agriculture is where Kim continues to make important and long lasting contributions. For example, he launched the Growing Alberta Program and provided the initial support for the Alberta Farm Animal Care program – a model for the humane care of livestock for the entire industry.
Mr. McConnell has served as a board member and often Chair for a wide range of agriculture, rural and community organizations including: Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency, Canada 4-H Foundation, Centre for Health and Safety for Agriculture, YMCA and Crime Stoppers.
He is frequently asked to facilitate agricultural meetings and forums at both the federal and provincial levels. Some examples include the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute, public forums for the Estey Report and the Wheat Summit in Saskatoon.
Kim has been a mentor for the next generation, helping future industry leaders through programs like the Cattlemen’s Young Leaders Program and 4-H. He has mentored many young entrepreneurs launching new endeavours. His journey in agriculture continues.
Nominated by The Western Producer
Through the pages of The Western Producer, Barry Wilson has reported agricultural news for the benefit of Canadian farmers and ranchers for more than 30 years. He is now the only full-time agriculture reporter employed by any media outlet on Parliament Hill.
Mr. Wilson’s work has taken him through every Canadian province and to many different international destinations. Barry has covered national and provincial agricultural policies, farm group dynamics, international trade, and world food issues. His work has ensured that farmers and ranchers are provided with fair and honest reporting on issues and policies that will affect them, their agricultural operations, and their families.
Through the dedication to his craft, Mr. Wilson has achieved a key goal for many journalists – driving accountability for politicians and policy makers. It is not an exaggeration to state that many potential policies have been improved, or “never saw the light of day”, simply because someone asked the question, “What happens if this ends up in Barry’s column?”
For the last 11 federal elections, Mr. Wilson questioned politicians and parties on their agriculture and rural policies. He made sure that agriculture was not forgotten during campaigns. His election coverage has taken him across the country, from Prince Edward Island through to British Columbia, ensuring agriculture was covered in every region.
Barry has covered international trade negotiations from the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade to the last 10 years of discussion on the WTO’s Doha Round. He has reported on negotiations in Doha, Cancun and Hong Kong, along with numerous treks to Geneva.
Mr. Wilson is the author of four books, two directly related to agriculture. He acts as a mentor to other journalists, especially those at The Western Producer. He is an avid researcher and expert on Canadian political history. Barry is also a lay minister for the United Church in Low, Quebec, near the fifth generation farm in the Gatineau Valley where he grew up and that he still owns.