Top Crop Manager

Former federal ag minister inducted to Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame

Five men from across Canada, including former federal agriculture minister Gerry Ritz, have been selected to join the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame as 2018 inductees.

July 12, 2018  By Top Crop Manager

Ted Bilyea, Peter Dhillon, Wilf Keller, Larry Martin and Honourable Gerry Ritz will be officially inducted into the national Hall of Fame at a ceremony on Sunday, November 4, 2018 in Toronto, Ont. The Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame celebrates Canadians who continue to make a difference in the agriculture and food industry.

The Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame Association provided biographies of each inductee.

Gerry Ritz served as a member of parliament for Battlefords-Lloydminster in Saskatchewan and was the federal agriculture minister from 2007 to 2015. Ritz is noted as “putting Canadian agriculture on the world map.” He expanded market access for the industry, forged international trading deals, provided market freedom post-Canadian Wheat Board, pushed for innovation through Growing Forward, and limited the damage from challenges including BSE and Country of Origin Labelling. Ritz was nominated by Alberta Wheat Commission, Alberta Barley Commission and Canadian Cattlemen’s Association.


Ted Bilyea is the former president of Maple Leaf Foods and a leading consultant across the entire value chain. Bilyea has brought vision and passion to competitiveness and export growth for the Canadian agri-food industry, according to Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame Association’s (CAHFA) statement. This includes establishing Canadian pork as a preferred protein in Japan and orchestrating the first shipment of Ontario food grade soybeans to Japan. Ted Bilyea lives in East York, ON and was nominated by Kim McConnell, David Chalack and Peter Hannam.

Peter Dhillon is a farmer, philanthropist and businessman in Canada’s growing cranberry industry. He owns the largest cranberry farm in Canada with operations in BC and Quebec. He is one of the largest shareholders of the 700 grower-owned Ocean Spray cooperative and the first non-American chair of the board. From his early years in the bog beside his parents, to the boardroom of Ocean Spray, Dhillon works to advance the agricultural industry including environmental stewardship, and gender and ethnic equality. Peter Dhillon lives in Richmond, BC and was nominated by the Honourable Wally Oppal.

Wilf Keller is a plant scientist that has fundamentally changed plant breeding for canola in Canada and around the world. Throughout his 45 year career in agricultural research he’s been a compelling advocate and industry champion for the use of biotechnology to genetically modify crops. His scientific work on canola breeding helped propel the canola crop to be planted on more acres than any other field crop in Canada. His leadership and vision brought together diverse organizations to establish the Protein Industries Canada Supercluster. Keller spent 16 years with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, including chair of the plant biotechnology program, 19 years at the National Research Council’s Plant Biotechnology Institute in Saskatoon, president and CEO of Genome Prairie, and since 2012 as president and CEO of Ag-West Bio Inc. Wilf Keller lives in Saskatoon, SK and was nominated by Ag-West Bio Inc. and the Canadian Canola Growers Association.

For more than 40 years, agricultural economist Larry Martin has helped farmers and agribusiness solve problems and improve performance. He spent 18 years at the University of Guelph, including four years as chair of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Business. He was the founding executive director, and later CEO, of the George Morris Centre – Canada’s leading think tank for the farm and food sector. He was the principal architect of CTEAM – a unique and long-standing business management course for farmers. Martin chaired a national task force on competitiveness for the Canada/US trade negotiations in 1989, and his expertise in the agri-food sector has been sought by many federal agriculture ministers. Larry Martin lives in Puslinch, ON and was nominated by BDO Canada LLP.

The 2018 induction ceremony will be held in Toronto, Ontario as part of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair on Sunday, November 4, 2018.


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