Three prominent Albertans have been honoured by the Agriculture Hall of Fame in recognition of their contributions to research, genetics and the livestock industry.
“The Hall of Fame is a tribute to the ongoing legacy of agricultural innovation in this province. This year’s inductees are pioneers in their fields who have worked hard for decades to improve agricultural practices, support growth in the industry and educate the next generation of Alberta farmers and ranchers.”
This year’s Hall of Fame inductees were honoured at a ceremony in Leduc on Oct. 7. They are:
- Dr. John Kennelly
- Robert Prestage
- Cornelius Van Raay
The Alberta Agriculture Hall of Fame was created to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to the agriculture and food industry and to the development and sustainability of rural life in Alberta.
Since 1951, almost 130 Albertans have been honoured for their leadership and accomplishments within the agriculture sector.
Dr. John Kennelly – Edmonton
Dr. John Kennelly is one of Alberta’s great industry builders as a dairy researcher, professor and dean. He was chair of the University of Alberta’s Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science and later dean of the Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences (ALES). One of the dairy industry’s most respected experts, he discovered, documented and translated into practice critical breakthroughs in nutrition and feeding systems that resulted in major productivity gains. Dr. Kennelly taught dairy science and nutrition to thousands of students at the university, built world-renowned research programs from scratch, and oversaw tremendous growth of the ALES program. Dr. Kennelly’s significant career achievements include founding the Western Canadian Dairy Seminar, doubling the size of the Dairy Research Technology Centre, and leading the establishment of the Agri-Food Discovery Place.
Robert (Bob) Prestage – Camrose
Robert (Bob) Prestage has been dedicated to beef cattle breeding and genetic programs in Alberta for more than 50 years. His commitment to the industry is evident through his sustained work in marketing and exports, and international and community programs. Early in his career, Prestage distinguished himself by developing the progeny test program for beef cattle, significantly improving the genetic pool of the Canadian cattle industry. Founding Wicklow Angus in Camrose, he raised the profile of Angus beef in Canada and internationally. Prestage selected, processed and exported thousands of cattle to more than 20 countries, including marketing the first cattle to Russia to support the Alberta cattle industry’s recovery from BSE. Prestage has supported Alberta breeders in selling cattle around the world, generously sharing his marketing expertise, hosting numerous international delegations, and judging at international cattle shows. A former reeve of Camrose County, Prestage has made many contributions to youth and community organizations and has received numerous industry and community awards including induction into the Alberta Angus Association Hall of Fame as a Breed Builder.
Cornelius (Cor) Van Raay – Iron Springs
Cornelius (Cor) Van Raay’s vision has helped mould the modern day feedlot and set the bar in the Canadian cattle feeding business. Starting with just 50 head of cattle, his business grew to be one of the largest feedlot operations in Canada. As an innovator and early adopter of technology, Van Raay implemented best practices and developed unprecedented operational efficiencies in large-scale feedlot operations, while focusing on sound environmental stewardship and improved animal-handling techniques. Van Raay’s “big picture” thinking and strong work ethic helped launch several successful agri-businesses, including Butte Grain Merchants Ltd., Western Tractor, Van Raay Land Inc., and Sungold Specialty Meats Ltd. – one of Canada’s largest producers of lamb. To ensure that agriculture continues to attract young people and new entrants, his major financial gift launched the Cor Van Raay Southern Alberta Agribusiness Program at the University of Lethbridge and Lethbridge College in 2014. Connecting agriculture and business, the program increases educational opportunities and innovation, while ensuring that agriculture remains a significant driver in Alberta’s economy.