The Lambton Agricultural Hall of Fame has announced its inductees for 2023.
This is the second in a three-part series of profiles on the inductees.
George and Agnes Dickenson
It only seems fitting that George and Agnes Dickenson are being inducted into the Lambton Agricultural Hall of Fame as a couple. Since they were married in 1980 everything they have done on and off the farm has been a team effort, or at least with each other’s support. George and Agnes both attended Ridgetown College. George took the Production and Management program and Agnes majored in Business & Commerce. Following graduation, they were married and moved to the Dickenson Family Farm in Sarnia Township, known as Perchlane Farms.
It is truly a family farm. Together they started farming with George’s mother Carol and then welcomed their three children: Joe, Barb and Pat. All three are actively farming today in their own operations. The kids broadened George and Agnes’s horizons whether it be animals, sports, organizations and other interests.
They milked cows for 40 years. During that time they strived to breed functional Holsteins with decent production that were easy to work with. When they sold their dairy herd in 2015 they were honoured that all of the cattle besides two or three stayed in Lambton County.
Since retiring from dairy farming they have transitioned to beef farming. Still with the same breeding philosophy, they raise functional, quality animals that are easy to work with. They are a Verified Beef Production Plus certified operation. They utilize rotational grazing and cover cropping that they have integrated into their cropping methods to raise the cattle.
They have practiced no-till since 1992. Cover crops, manure and forages all work to help them with their goals of soil building. It was a great honour when they received the Outstanding Farmer of the Year award from the Lambton Soil and Crop Improvement Association in 2007.
George and Agnes both enjoy keeping busy with organizations they are members in or have benefited from over the years. Through the many organizations, boards and volunteer positions they have been involved in they have met many wonderful people and have grown and enriched themselves. 4H gave George and Agnes many new skills. They enjoyed watching the members that they lead grow into strong community leaders. It was always rewarding for them to watch the members complete their projects. This was especially true for them in their last club. The members developed and marketed the Grain Extrication Tool. This is an inexpensive cofferdam for grain safety. This project was awarded a Premier’s Innovation Award. This is now used across Canada and the United States to help rescue people who are trapped in grain storage.
Farm Safety has also been an organization George and Agnes have enjoyed being involved in; they have served on it for the past 25 years. It has given them the opportunity to meet others while working to try and make their farms and families safer. They are both very active in the planning and organization of the annual Lambton Farm Safety Day, an event that hundreds of children have participated in. They always find it rewarding when parents tell them the stories they come home and share after the event and how the children tell their parents the proper practices they should be following. Agnes provided input into the Workplace Safety and Prevention Services while serving on the provincial Agricultural Advisory Committee.
George served on the Milk Committee and Bluewater Milk Transport. This helped them with the insight into the business side of their farm. George is involved with the Lambton Federation of Agriculture and this allows him to work on behalf of all sectors of the industry. This has been enlightening and enjoyable. George also serves as an advisory councillor for OFA.
They have always tried to be involved in their community outside of agriculture as well. Whether it was sports the children were involved in, school groups, their church, or the Bluewater Growing Project of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.
Recently they have opened their home to Ukrainian refugees. This has been rewarding and fulfilling for them as they help these families that are seeking a safe place. The first couple they welcomed has now moved to Toronto and found jobs. Currently they have a family of five living with them who are working in the community and attending school here. Even though it is a tragic situation that has brought these people into George and Agnes’s lives they admire their resilience and strength.
George and Agnes have been involved in agriculture their whole lives and have enjoyed it very much. They hope to be active in the agricultural community for many more years to come.