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Lambton Ag Hall of Fame Inductees: Jim Johnson

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The Lambton Agricultural Hall of Fame has announced its inductees for 2023. This is the final profile in a three-part series on the inductees.

Read more on fellow inductees George and Agnes Dickenson and Don and Anne McGugan.

Jim Johnson

Jim Johnson has not only made his life a career in farming, but added to it a life of political advocacy, a family man and an involved community member.

In 1973 after working at INCO, Sudbury as a Process Technologist, Jim returned to Lambton to the family farm, as the fourth generation to farm the land. He purchased more land, built a feedlot and grew beans, wheat and corn. Together with his wife Ellen they reside on the home farm in Brooke Township. The farm is cash crops now and Jim is proud to have his sons working and managing the land. They work 750 acres as well as having off-farm jobs.

Jim became a director of the Lambton Federation of Agriculture in 1974. In the following years he was involved with the Lambton Wheat Producers and the Lambton County Corn Producers.

He joined the Ontario Corn Producers as a director in 1985 and worked through the ranks culminating as President from 1993–1996. Jim was an active member of the Market Development Committee and the Communication Committee. He also took a special interest in the newly formed Canadian Renewable Fuels Association.

He was a spokesperson and lobbyist locally and with the Provincial and Federal Governments to promote the development of the Fuel Ethanol Industry. Jim was the President of Canadian Renewable Fuels Association from 1990 – 1999. The promotion of ethanol throughout Ontario and Canada as well as the United States expanded with speaking engagements in London, England nd Bordeaux, France. Jim was a competent speaker with a fascinating ability to remember facts and given a few overheads would engage others using some humour and his knowledge about renewable fuels. Question and answer periods would bring out more information and engagement with the participants.

The farm organizations required a considerable time commitment with travel and countless hours spent on the phone. Jim organized and supervised a Vomitoxin study in Lambton County when he was with the Wheat Producers. The study employing a university student and some local students. Jim spent one summer mentoring three students as they attended many country fairs promoting ethanol with the help of “Corn-Cob-Bob”, the Ethanol Ambassador.

Jim was a Rotarian with the Alvinston Club. In earlier years he would take part in the fair and has been known to umpire some ball games. Jim received the Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada in recognition of significant contribution to community and to Canada. He was recognized by the Ontario Corn Producers’ and the Canadian Renewable Fuels Industry in Canada.

Jim was able to convey the farmer’s point of view to help with the business plans for alternative uses for crops to expand the industry. The early stages entertained a variety of views.

Jim would never take credit for any of the resulting actions that exist and persist today. Jim has worked tirelessly to establish the ethanol industry in Ontario and Canada. He always wants to shine the spotlight on somebody else. However, when you talk to others they clearly acknowledge the quiet resolve, persistent advocacy and deep knowledge that Jim carried into every aspect of his work. Jim kept his cards close but could unleash his dry wit, farmer based common sense and strong academic base of facts to resolve any issues with government officials, academia or commercial issues.

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